Monday, February 19, 2018

Reimagining Malaysia Part 1: Introduction

I entered into politics 6 years ago with a deep belief that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is good man do nothing.”

I was elected in the 13th General Election as the State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama on 5 May 2013.

Photo credit: Brandon

Our country has gone through a lot of challenges since then.

We are facing the biggest corruption scandal in Malaysia’s history –1MDB, which has grabbed not only local but also international headlines. It is being investigated in many parts of the world but not in Malaysia.

After implementation of GST, the cost of living increased tremendously while salaries do not see the same increase, putting a lot of pressure to many ordinary Malaysian families.

The public education system is deteriorating. More and more parents need to choke up extra monies to send their children for tuition classes and for those who can afford, to private and international schools.

Many young people are jobless with youth unemployment rate 3 times higher than the national average; and for those who have jobs, most of their starting salaries are almost the same as the fresh graduates of their respective fields 10 years ago.

And many more.

However, against this backdrop are not discussions on how to mend the broken institutions and improve the systems and economy, but noises of disunity and intolerance among the different communities in Malaysia.

Politicians use identity politics of race, religion and region irresponsibly for political convenience and gain.

To add salt into wound, the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat, which represented hope for change in the GE13, broke apart, with PAS first severed tie with DAP then PKR.

Frankly, as a young person who entered into politics wanting to see change in the country, I struggled for a period of time with disillusionment seeing the challenges we face as a nation - socially, economically and politically.

Then I realised that we cannot give up on our country because of the many challenges we face today. We need re-imagination for this nation to fight against the disillusionment stemming from the current state of affairs.

We need re-imagination to rebuild this country.

Six years ago, random episodes of life accidentally brought me into politics, an arena that people commonly associate with greed, money and power. After six years of seeing and experiencing real politics, I want to tell the Malaysian public, especially the young, that such a presumption about politics is untrue. 

Politics is about pursuing dreams, ideals and the belief that our country can and will be better in the future.

That’s what motivated me to write my first book – Reimagining Malaysia.

I want to share the nation-building issues that are close to my heart – institutions, education, youths, women, sustainable development and the weak members of society, in terms of where we are now and what I dream for them in the future.

Reimagining Malaysia is written based on the assumption that if we put our will and efforts into making things happen, anything is possible for our country. I’ve also shared some personal stories in the book.

Since most parts of the book are about policy ideas and they can be quite boring to read sometimes, I’ve decided to make a series of videos to share the policy ideas written in the book. In addition, I'll in this blog, share a series of articles extracted from the book. I hope that through the videos and articles shared online, many more Malaysians will understand the systemic issues of our country, gain some insights and most importantly, dream again for Malaysia

Nonetheless, I must make a disclaimer here – I do not know it all and hence everything that I have written in the book and shared in the videos is open for debate, discussion and correction. I do not intend to persuade you into believing all that I believe but hope to share through the book what is in my mind and heart about this nation I love.

With that emphasis made, let us embark on the journey of Reimagining Malaysia through the series of articles I extracted out from my book.