LETTER | It is time that federal and state governments as well as MPs and state assemblypersons, host Chinese New Year celebrations in the new villages, which roughly have more than 80 percent of the Chinese population.
State-level open houses as well as festive celebrations by the people's representatives in their constituencies should also be rotationally held in the new villages.
This will help enliven the festive atmosphere among all Malaysians gathering to celebrate the festival. It will expose the people to the history of these villages and bring about a greater understanding of one aspect of our nation's history that has been accorded a reduced significance due to ignorance.
Many new villages have been transformed from their previous agricultural mainstay to become a conducive environment for SMEs, as well as industrial and commercial zones, attracting a large number of local and foreign workers.
The contributions of SMEs in the new villages are significant to the national economy and the government needs to assist in infrastructural development and other aspects that make the areas just as vibrant and better organised as other housing estates.
It is a well-known fact that SMEs make up more than 80 percent of industrial establishments in the country, and these new villages are home to more than 50 percent of SME businesses. Hence, new villages play a major role in the economy of the country.
By hosting a Chinese New Year celebration, the needs of the new villages can be better assessed so that funds and allocations for various improvements and transformations can be undertaken.
The investments and allocation will have a large multiplier effect and result in greater economic growth that ultimately finds its way to fill the state and federal coffers.
Populating the new villages
For a long time, new villages have not been given due significance as a multiplier of economic growth. As such, most of the general improvements and activities have been left to piecemeal private enterprise.
New villages need better roads and drainage, sports and senior citizens' facilities, tidier public spaces, parks, more commercial outlets and food courts, larger multi-purpose halls, local authority offices, and cleaner wet markets to attract more non-Chinese population, especially to the newly built apartments and condominiums.
This will lead to a greater multi-racial mix of the populous and it is also one of the government’s objectives.
Quite a substantial number of the Chinese population have ended up moving away from new villages to other better residential areas due to higher education and incomes.
Recently, there were reports of making new villages in Selangor Unesco World Heritage Sites due to their historical, cultural and contemporary significance.
New villages need better municipal administration and all-around physical improvement by local authorities to make them attractive for living and visiting.
In the early days, the new villagers went through numerous changes over the decades. This is why photographic exhibitions would be perfect to be held during the Chinese New Year season to further wow the visitors, tourists and others as well.
The new villages have to be brought into the mainstream of the national reckoning, and not isolated as in the recent past and present, leaving out an important and meaningful part of our history which is relatively unknown to the younger generation.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.