GE15: Malaysians just hope to survive

Rakyat have a chance to choose again, and this time Malaysians want to see real changes for the sake of the future generation


ON NOV 19, 2022, the country will hold its 15th General Election (GE15) after a tumultuous political saga sparked by the so-called “Sheraton Move”, which saw the resignation of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition’s administration in March 2020.

After making a courageous choice in GE14 by ending Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 60-year reign, Malaysians went back to square one when the coalition regained control in August 2021 as Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Tun Mahathir’s successor, lost his majority in Parliament.

In less than a fortnight, Malaysians have a chance to choose again, and this time Malaysians want their votes to really count and they want to see real changes for the sake of the future generation.

For clerk Rahimah Abd Mazzar, food prices in Malaysia have skyrocketed and must be relooked at by the winners of the election.

“The price increase has forced many families to rely on food banks and seek extra aid just to survive, but the demand is so high that the food banks need help themselves,” The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) was told.

She said every day, more families get their groceries from charities that help feed the needy in the Klang Valley. For many, supermarkets are no longer an option.

“Normal citizens can all feel the pinch every day as everything is getting more expensive.

“My son has a learning disability and requires special help, which makes things harder but I am thankful that I still can get by, but what about others?” said Rahimah, who also donates food to charities.

Rahimah is employed but said her wages are not enough for her family to enjoy extra luxuries.

“I can feed my family but when it comes to certain occasions like my son’s birthday, I cannot spend too much to make him happy,” she said.

Meanwhile, business owner Ahmad Naquiddin Mohd Faizil said whoever runs for a parliamentary seat must prioritise climate change in their policy-making content.

“As the climate crisis becomes more serious and obvious, Malaysians remain resistant to decisive and comprehensive actions on climate change. As we all can see, there is a frightening picture of the coming environmental apocalypse,” he told TMR.

He noted that whole parts of the globe, and Malaysia is no exception, will become too hot for human habitation and those left behind will perish from the heat.

“Diseases will increase and mutate, and food shortages will become chronic as we fail to move agriculture from one climate to another and not to forget, shortages of fresh water will affect humans and agriculture,” he added.

Ahmad Naquiddin said most politicians will bring populist issues but have yet to fully acknowledge climate change that is happening around the world.

“Yet, in spite of the evidence at hand, climate change remains the toughest, most intractable political issue we, as a society, have ever faced,” he said, adding that this is not to say that there has not been any progress.

“I saw that climate change has been mentioned in one of the manifestos but there must be a great willingness to bring it into action,” he said.

SuaraKami Nasional secretary general Rhea Kaur said, every year, the same story repeats itself.

“People marching and organising protests against climate change in hopes of our leaders noticing and taking charge, yet are simply met with silence each year,” she said to TMR.

She stressed that Malaysians are the ones facing the brunt of climate change, not the politicians in their air-conditioned mansions, fancy cars and private jets.

“We need leaders who are willing to make a change, real change, not just simply charging 20 sen for a plastic bag or promoting paper straws.

“We need politicians and leaders that are willing to tackle climate change head-on by implementing standardised rubbish disposal strategies, landfill cleansing and effective anti-logging acts, and that is not even half of it,” she added.

She hoped that post-GE15, leaders — new or old — need to bear the responsibility of maintaining and rehabilitating the status quo of the nation’s environment, to achieve a better Malaysia for many generations to come.

Her colleague, Muhil Logandran believed that it is urgent for the future government to consider reducing the carbon footprint in day-to-day activities.

“The government should

consider these few methods to reduce carbon footprints,” he said. He has also demanded digitised government services. At present, he said, any services that citizens need to get done require to travel up to an hour, depending on traffic.

“If this is done correctly, it may be a precedent for all private services to do the same as we advance towards IR4.0 together,” he said.

Muhil noted that reducing the amount of paper used for billing, notes and statements provided by government services is also necessary.

“Currently, the snail mail is still a big part of government services’ delivery but imagine the sheer amount of paper needed just for a simple notice and not mentioning the carbon emissions produced by the transportation alone,” he said.

He was also deeply concerned for the future of Malaysians, who are inheriting drastic weather conditions.

“I know this is not an easy change but it will make a difference in the long run, so to say, every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” he added.

A recruitment consultant, Ruben Raj, wished to see a combination of old and new leaders to guide Malaysia through the global challengers ahead.

“I believe we should have leaders who can guide policymaking to fix, recalibrate and empower a battered Malaysia in our post-normal times,” he said.

He also said that this new era is unprecedented and is characterised by a world which is not only more globalised and interconnected, but also more conflicted.

“We need someone who has modern approaches in navigating the treacherous sea of uncertainty and not conventional ones as they no longer work. That is my hope for the upcoming GE,” he concluded.

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition