To Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Caretaker Prime Minister of Malaysia and Parliamentary Opposition Leader Candidate for the coming 13th Malaysian General Election.
In these last few days before the start of the new Malaysian Spring, you come to our island once again, bearing gifts and good tidings. It seems that you will be elevating one of our premier Chinese colleges to a higher level and conferring, or should I say, returning our island’s free port status. If this is true, then I truly believe that you have totally lost touch with the needs and sentiments of the people, not only of Penangites, but Malaysians as a whole.
Surely you must have been oblivious to the various demonstrations and protests held all over the country in these past five years, expounding the ideals of freedom, justice, fairness, equality, safety, good governance and clean environment. Most of us, sir, have put our own selfish needs behind, and gone on to seek higher causes, forging ahead together to achieve the common goal of shared well being and prosperity for the nation regardless of race, religion or social status.
Elevating a college to university level might seem like a lofty idea, but if the general education system in the country is still in its current state of decline and lacking qualified and proficient educators, then it will only benefit a certain section of society. What the future generation needs is a revamp of the whole education system and upgrading of syllabus to meet international standards and local needs.
At least two generations of Malaysians have been subjected to substandard education due to previous misguided racial policies. These education policies have suppressed the truly meritorious from expanding their horizon on one hand, and producing mediocre and uncompetitive work force on the other hand – thus making us all losers on both sides of the divide.
What we really need is not another upgrade of education centres, but a total change in our education policies that promotes excellence based on meritocracy. All Malaysians are born equal and should be given equal opportunities to further their studies based on their capabilities.
The easiest way to initiate this paradigm shift is to have a paradigm shift at the level of the government itself. Old habits die hard, and we believe that after 55 years, it is almost impossible to get rid of any ingrained mentality. To see change, we have no choice than to change the government.
And now we come to your second gift for the people of Penang – the Free Port Status.
I am not an expert in economics, but I fail to see any benefit of a free port status in this day and age, when the whole region is working towards free trade. Do you expect us to become another haven for brandied chocolates, cheap alcohol and outdated Corningware products, just like our little neighbouring Langkawi in the north?
If the federal government is as Competent, Accountable and Transparent as the Penang state government, then I am sure the whole country will prosper together, with or without free port status.
For the past few weeks, your party has organized a lot of street parties that attracted a lot of people in Penang. And to add to the festivities, you have lined our roads, and covered our monuments and art works with dark blue flags and banners. Some of us might enjoy the free food and entertainment, but I am sure many of us are disgusted over the vulgarity of it all.
The people are very angry because these flags and banners are defacing public property and creating traffic hazards all over the place. If you think that spending money on all these promotional tactics will gain you our votes, then you are in for a surprise this coming Sunday.
Flags and banners. Free food and entertainment. Gifts and good tidings.
Sir. Do you seriously think that we Penangites still believe in fairy tales?
Betel Nut Chronicles