Many politicians say the complexity of Malaysian politics is no less than any other country. Because of the many ethnics and religions, the formulation of any policy would have to avoid the many sensitive zones. It is made even more difficult by differences in urban and rural as well as regional cultures and education level.
Among all the states, Penang seems to be the most challenging. Penang is not a big state but its people are known to be politically rebellious in the past as well as the present. Everyone in the coffee-shop is an opinion leader. Penang people want the rule of law but also like to rely on sentiments. As such, some of the local regulations have to be changed abruptly even though they have been considered and planned for a long time. Because of the view of a small group of people, the government is worried about stirring up public anger.
Looking ahead, the next target of criticism for this small group of people may be the separation of rubbish to start in June 1. Even now, there are voices calling for a delay in the implementation of the scheme.
However, the formulation and promotion of the scheme and its subsequent public education have been carried out widely over the last 18 months. If the call for delay is based on the excuse that members of the public are still unaware of it, it just cannot hold water.
Chow Kon Yeow, chairman of the local government committee, has stressed that the state government would not delay the enforcement of the scheme. His firmness in enforcing such a pragmatic policy without submitting to the demand of a small group of people should be commended by the people.
In a democratic system, people use their votes to choose trusted leaders. An elected leader should not aspire to hold absolute power and ask everyone to shut up and listen to him. This will become a horrible nightmare.
However, as people, we must also do some self-examination and ask whether we have been concerned with the formulation and enforcement of a policy and try to understand whether it is beneficial to the public. We must ask whether we support our voted government on the right policy or whether we care only for our own convenience but ignore public interest.
A good government must understand its role and responsibility as well as its work. Under the principle of “don’t amend it if it’s not spoiled”, the government needs not wield its authorities in certain NGO-led activities. Don’t use government allocation as the big excuse to compete against the private bodies in getting involved with such activities.
A good government should stand firm in enforcing the right and pragmatic policy. It should not try to appease certain self-centered people. In this way, more rational people would stand behind the good government and give it a strong backing.