Malaysiakini Letter

From plastic bags to carrots, is #UndiRosak still the immature one?

Hafidz Baharom  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | In the last two weeks, there has been a campaign in the run-up to the 14th general election. It was initially to label those of us using the #UndiRosak hashtag as “immature, brain damaged, treasonous” and even going so far as to suggest “committing suicide”.

Since then, we have learned that our largest apolitical critic being the chief of the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) is allegedly joining politics under the PKR banner and is rumoured to have been offered a “safe seat”.

Thus, the clean is now clearly about to get muddy.

Then there is the debate of plastic bags versus reusable bags – in which you had one side promising free plastic bags again, while another believes this will damage the environment more, with prominent backing from non-government organisations.

That is, until EcoKnights’ Yasmin Rasyid came in and asked the most logical question of all – why not just ban plastic bags altogether and get it over and done with.

And then, we were tantalised with food – from the Prime Minister admitting to eating quinoa, to DAP's Lim Kit Siang denying even knowing what quinoa is, to Mahathir Mohamed saying he only eats rice.

Subsequently, this led to the revelation that quinoa was cheaper than the nonagenarian’s entire budget of feeding his horses, to which the retort was that carrots were cheap.

Then walked in the Sugar King, with that “Man from Manchester” alleging that Robert Kuok was funding DAP, which has since been denied, with the threat of a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz has decided the existence of “balls” should be added into the mix of the general election campaign, casting doubt of its existence with Kuok.

And thus, issues of more importance get buried in the ridiculousness of this entire “immature” and “brain damaged” arguments on both sides of the political divide.

What about the people's plight?

Unicef released a report about how children in PPR projects are malnourished, and just last year, we saw a similar news piece on how children in Putrajaya are facing the same issue.

In Titiwangsa, RM85 to feed a family of four was considered “cheap” during a BN-sponsored “Jualan Sentuhan Rakyat” – does this even happen every week to allow Malaysians to cope with the cost of living? And isn’t that what we need in this country?

In Kelantan, each household has a member addicted to methamphetamines, called ‘pil kuda’ in slang terms.

Mental health issues are expected to be the second biggest health problem behind heart disease in Malaysia by 2020.

At the same time, we are expected to have more than double the number of senior Malaysians aged 60 by 2020, meaning that the EPF might go dry with all the withdrawals expected to cater to 3.3 million people.

This senior citizen boom also put a burden on our healthcare and welfare plans, needing people to cater to the emergencies that will be faced by senior citizens who live independently. And that means we will – like it or not – have to either increase government revenue by raising taxes or maintaining economic growth and productivity to do the same.

Meanwhile, real wages of the youth have not gone up at the same rate as inflation, making them unable to buy a house until they’ve reached the ages of 30 and above, at which time servicing the mortgage takes up most of their disposable income.

There has been no more talk of a Rent-To-Buy scheme, and even the so-called government’s definition of “affordable” housing is not in tally to the Malaysians they are supposed to cater to.

Youth issues are not addressed, from jobs, to public spaces, to even suggesting a concept of universal basic income for single income households because housework is work.

No side is offering new policies to cater to their wants and needs, and nobody is offering hope for a better future – instead, offering escapism through broadcasting the Premier League on RTM.

Heck, no side even wants to push a women’s issue to stop GST from applying to tampons and feminine hygiene products, for that matter.

So, I raise the question yet again – who exactly are the immature and brain damaged ones here?

I contend it is the sides in politics that say the country is in crisis, but still find time to argue over quinoa and rice, plastic bags over reusable bags, even throw out allegations of political funding which could have been substantiated if both sides agreed on having to declare political funding without hypocrisy and with full transparency.

No side is discussing what truly matters in this country, which are solutions to the issues of everyday Malaysians – instead, they insist on taking potshots like kids in kindergarten arguing over a swing set.

And this is why I will continue to encourage Malaysians to spoil their votes in the upcoming elections – it is sending a message to political Malaysia that we are done with their stupid antics, and it is time for them to grow up.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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