Penang Malay Congress wants politicians to focus on people, DAP to field Malay candidates, and the state to construct affordable houses.
BUTTERWORTH: Penang Malay Congress president Rahmad Isahak has three wishes for this year’s Hari Raya Adilfitri – first, he wants politicians to focus more on people-centric issues than on themselves.
Fed up with the current political tone in the country, especially with signs of a looming general election, he said the issues raised should be about the people and not just “politics”.
“Politicians have ceaselessly continued debating about themselves. They have forgotten about the people here despite genuine cases of them suffering from health, mental, or monetary breakdowns.”
The costs of living are shooting up… while the stress levels are also rising due to the severe road congestion gripping Penang, he said.
For one, Rahmad said PAS and DAP should not be bickering about the adoption of hudud (Islamic criminal code enactment).
He claimed that many Muslims have concluded that hudud can only be implemented in Malaysia if PAS rules the country single-handedly.
Now, the Islamist party relies on the secular DAP and PKR to help administer four states and to be an effective opposition in Parliament.
So, why must Pakatan Rakyat be embroiled in constant debate about hudud and why must it give mileage to Barisan Nasional (BN), which is using the issue to split up the alliance? he asked.
Muslims, by faith and understanding, must embrace hudud, but nonetheless, Malaysia remains a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, where its implementation may be deemed sensitive, he said.
Dominant political force
At this juncture, hudud should not be raised unless PAS goes alone politically and wins the election single-handedly, Rahmad said.
Then, the concept may be a reality, he added.
He blamed both Umno and PAS for using the issue to better themselves politically, but at the expense of confusing the Muslims even more, about whether the Islamic law can be adopted on realistic terms.
Rahmad’s second wish is, he wants DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also Penang Chief Minister, to declare once and for all whether the party would be fielding Malay candidates in the next general election.
He claimed that DAP has become a dominant political force while PKR and PAS have failed the Malays miserably in Penang.
“The Malays have no stable channel to express their grievances about socio-economic issues in Penang, particularly about affordable housing and relocation of squatters.”
Therefore, it would be a win-win status if DAP absorbs the proposal to field Malay candidates in four seats in Penang.
The congress, although claiming to be apolitical, is seeking DAP’s approval to allow its Malay leaders to contest one parliamentary and three state seats here to reflect the party’s multi-ethnic stand amid accusations from BN that it is only concerned about the Chinese.
According to Rahmad, DAP should not be afraid of PKR or PAS in Penang and should instead, based its calculations on its “winning factor”.
In Penang, the winning factor is the DAP ticket and the party should seek more seats to contest here, while allocating some to the Malays so that the community can have a stronger presence in the state government and local authorities, he said.
This would put to rest the challenge from Umno, which remains DAP’s top rival in Penang.
His third wish is for a comprehensive plan to construct affordable housing here and the desired locations must be given proper planning.
Both Pakatan and BN are arguing about whether affordable housing must be placed in the heart of George Town, he said.
This is crazy as the area is already congested with commercial, heritage and tourism activities, Rahmad said.
He added that this would only increase traffic congestion, and made worst during the festive period when the roads here are clogged with vehicles from other states or countries.
He contended that all housing projects should be located on the outskirts instead of in the town centre.
“Where are our town and urban planners? Why are we going against the norms of planning? We are approving housing projects in town areas. Does it not cause more congestion?” Rahmad asked.
In the “Adilfitri” spirit of forgiveness and togetherness, Rahmad wants politicians from both sides of the divide to focus on what is more important – nation-building, so that one day Malaysia can rank as high as the other developed nations in the world.