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‘Umno exploiting poor Penang Malays’

 | June 6, 2012

PAS central committee member, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, says the community should not blame Pakatan Rakyat government for their plight.

GEORGE TOWN: Umno is exploiting poor Penang Malays, who make up the silent majority here, to win over their support, a PAS leader said today.

“Their votes will play a decisive role in determining who wins in the next general election,” said Mujahid Yusof Rawa, a PAS central committee member.

Penang Malays are struggling to cope with the rising living costs, particularly on the island and with an acute shortage of land, affordable homes are beyond their reach.

However, Mujahid said the community should wise up and realise that Pakatan Rakyat should not be blamed for the plight they are in now.

In Penang, there are about 55 villages earmarked for development, and when and if this happens, there will be a squatter explosion.

About 7,000 families will be homeless in five districts as a result of these development projects, turning about 35,000 people into squatters, the majority of whom are Malays.

The blame for this, said Mujahid, rests squarely on Umno. Despite having ruled Penang for over 50-years with Gerakan, BN has failed to lift the Malays out of their economic doldrums.

“And, it is unfair to blame Pakatan for their plight. Malays must not fear Pakatan and vote out Umno the next polls, otherwise they will continue to be stuck in a rut.

“Umno days are numbered because they have lost the ground among the youth and non-Malays,” said Mujahid.

He said that Umno set up many organisations, foundations and formulated policies to help Penang Malays, but none were effective, mostly because of corruption within its rank.

“Now, Umno wants to use the plight of the poor Penang Malays to whip up support from among the Malays from other states,” he said in a bemused tone.

“Malays have only themselves to blame if they continue to support Umno. The party should not be given a second chance. They were given ample opportunities, but failed to deliver.”

Mistake of the previous planners

Mujahid said, in Penang, Pakatan’s policies are clear that whoever needed help got it regardless whether they are Malays, Chinese, Indians or other minorities.

“The age of playing the race or religious cards, should no longer be part and parcel of the Malaysian political landscape,” said Mujahid.

He said Penang Malay’s socio-economic plight is not a new one as it has been around for years. The community is struggling to cope with rising costs of living and the social changes taking place.

Previous planners, from BN, ignored the need for balanced development when they plunged the island’s resources into high-end ventures such as manufacturing services and tourism.

They failed to appreciate the need to preserve the environment and the eco system, or the growing imbalances in the socio-economic structure among the various races here.

Now, the problem has reached a climax with many projects poised to take off, especially luxurious housing projects, Mujahid said.

The poor and middle-income groups are priced out of such development and unless the Pakatan government can find a way to arrest it, there’ll be unhappiness among the folk here.

“It also widens the gap between the rich and the poor. We need a respite and redo the economic planning of Penang, so everyone can feel at ease,” said Mujahid.

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