Letter to Datuk Kadir Jasin: we voted for a better government, not against palace interference

In the span of 6 months, the government has already borrowed RM58.1 billion in the first six months of the year. What happened to the prudent government that Pakatan Harapan promised? Did they not say that we are already RM1 trillion ringgit in debt?

Muhammad Hairudin

Dear Datuk Kadir Jasin,

As a Malaysian and Johorean, I was proud to be a Pakatan Harapan voter. After all, I helped contribute to a historical event in Malaysian history – to topple the Barisan National government. Of course, I was extremely familiar with the sentiments expressed by the established leadership in my state of Johor. But your comments stating that the people voted against royal interference seems to ignore the real issues that we now face as a country. 

Since GE14, the Malaysia Baru that was so avidly promised by Pakatan Harapan still remains out of reach. Instead, the bread and butter issues that we faced before 9 May 2018 still remain or have gotten worse for many.

Base issues such as promoting healthy income growth seem to have stalled – the minimum wage of RM1,500 promised by the manifesto apparently is “too much of a shock” for business according to Lim Guan Eng. 

Even the removal of the GST which was said to be able to reduce prices was admitted by the Deputy Finance Minister as ineffective in easing the burden of living for Malaysians. Instead we are confronted with even more taxes such as the sugar and departure tax. 

In the span of 6 months, the government has already borrowed RM58.1 billion in the first six months of the year. What happened to the prudent government that Pakatan Harapan promised? Did they not say that we are already RM1 trillion ringgit in debt?

If the government is willing to shoulder ever increasing debt, why not channel the same resolve in fulfilling your promise of deferring payments for PTPTN loan holders instead? What about the reduction in our fuel subsidies and Bantuan Sara Hidup – some of this RM58.1 billion be channelled to build a better social safety net for all Malaysians?

Pakatan Harapan has continued to play on the narrative that the previous administration has left the country in severe financial straits and that is why their manifesto promises cannot be fulfilled. Yet given the continued presence of megaprojects, such as the ERCL and the LRT4, one can’t help but notice the severe disconnect.

When it was revealed that the vibrant community of Pasir Gudang was beset by two incidents of pollution a few months ago – the government was quick to say that the two incidents are unrelated, brushing away rumors that it was caused by incompetency on part of the contractors hired by the government to clean Sungai Kim Kim in March.

As a Johorean, I empathise with my fellow Johoreans who have grown frustrated with the lack of follow up by the authorities in preventing such incidents.

Instead, they once again are forced to rush their children to hospitals and deal with an almost weekly disruption. 

Given the rapid rate that these scandals emerge into the public sphere, it is almost as if they are used to distract from clear issues that the government should be focusing on.

But to me it is less of an issue of sinister intent on the part of a newly elected and vengeful government, but one that lacks unity, focus – and I dare, say even competency.

Let’s take a look at where Malaysia is today.

With a lacklustre economy and higher cost of living, the government should be devoting their energy to enable more Malaysians to earn a comfortable life for them and their families.

YB Syed Saddiq promised that he would bring 400,000 jobs for the Malaysians working in Singapore, and I hope that he can bring them back. Instead we hear that he is looking to legalize GoJek in Malaysia, are Malaysians only capable of low-skilled jobs in the gig economy? Our youth unemployment rate is still in the teens – we should give them a proper foundation for them to build their futures upon. 

When confronted by tragedies such as the fender bender murder, why are we to choose a side to blame instead of sending our condolences to such a tragedy? We need to know how the government will resolve the issues of race and religion in the country. Tolerance is no longer acceptable, but rather it is time for us to accept and become blind to our differences.

As a Pakatan voter, it seems that I given more reasons to regret my decision in GE14 daily. Instead of the firm answers towards our day-to-day issues, Malaysians instead are faced with even more questions over our identity. Are the concerns of my Chinese and Indian neighbours any less important than the concerns of Zakir Naik?

Now you may dismiss my concerns as ones fuelled by rumors by irresponsible parties and that Pakatan Harapan is truly working towards building a new Malaysia – but how can I trust a government that insists on breaking its promises at every turn. 

So no, Datuk Kadir Jasin, we did not vote against royal interference. We voted for a better government. It’s a shame that everyday since GE14 has been a disappointment.