COMMENT | The ill-effects of the failed policies of the past are getting more acute. If Pakatan Harapan does not tackle these issues firmly, future generations will suffer worse consequences.
These consequences stem from various failures: failure of the education system; failure to help the poor; failure to deal with incompetent civil servants; failure to teach people their basic rights; failure of civil servants to help people with disabilities; failure of the NEP; failure to listen to the rakyat… and more.
Last week, a Langkawi resident told me about the circumstances of two people whose applications for welfare aid had been rejected.
Sharifah is a 22-year-old who has a learning disability and a mental age of a nine or 10-year-old child. She can neither read nor write and has attention deficit disorder (ADD). Her official carer is her 64-year-old mother, “Ibu”, who is also unable to read or write.
The family's sole breadwinner, Ibu's husband, was an odd-jobber. He was diabetic and after he was discharged from the hospital, he fell into a coma and died three weeks later. The family have no other source of income.
Sharifah could receive occupational therapy at the Langkawi Hospital but would first have to be registered. Ibu is reluctant to register her child, because of the social stigma.
Sharifah will have to be registered by a psychiatrist and Ibu, like the rest of the kampung folk, does not think that slow learners have psychiatric problems.
As far as the family is concerned, Sharifah has adequate living and social skills because she can talk, bathe, dress and eat, although she is unable to move around on her own.
Sharifah's brother also has learning difficulties, but he does odd jobs like jaga kereta and grass-cutting. His income is irregular. Sharifah's sister is married to a security guard and they live in the same village.
Sharifah, her mother and brother live in a small, brick kampung house which is devoid of furniture. The neat and clean compound is surrounded by flower bushes and the usual assortment of fruit trees and herbs that one finds in a typical kampung garden...