Time to reflect on what is important

Nurul Izzah Anwar

Modified 3 Mar 2020, 1:31 am

MP SPEAKS | Much political turmoil shook us all this past week. It is now quickly descending into an unscrupulous blame game. This has to stop. Granted, the shock and outrage have not fully subsided. But it is exactly in this hour of need that we must reflect on what’s most important.

I was fortunate enough to have received the mandate from the people of Permatang Pauh as a legislator, on that fateful day on May 9, 2018.

Clearly, the people’s mandate must always reign supreme.

And ultimately, this should be our guiding principle regardless of whether we are in government or opposition.

Late December 2018, I made the decision to exit the mainstream political scene and focus on my reform-based initiatives on the ground in Permatang Pauh.

We were making headway with our methadone in mosques - psycho-socio-spiritual Jakim-approved programmes for heroin addicts. We were about to embark on our multidimensional poverty index ground survey with Malaysia’s foremost poverty expert and economist Professor Fatimah Kari.

We are continuing our collaboration with the Prison Department’s reform agenda - targeting 75 percent of eligible, non-violent criminals to be absorbed in corrective community programmes - ensuring rehab efforts bear fruit. We fervently wanted to introduce pesticide-free precision farming - an endeavour that requires huge financial investment in existing greenhouses with a ready target in international markets - to safeguard Malaysian food security and protect our farmers.

We also, of course, want to see an eventual end to cervical cancer, especially amongst women in the lower-income household, by collaborating with Rose Foundation of University Malaya.

My fear is that in the ongoing political turmoil, these on the ground, these socially impactful projects, might be derailed.

These are evidence-based initiatives and must be fully politics-proof.

Regardless of who is in office, we as collective Malaysian stakeholders must join in a call to action that ensures governments, including the likes of powerful secretaries-general that wield much authority across ministries, maintain the policies and programmes which have the most benefit and impact for communities on the ground.

Of the many interactions I have had, the ones that have made the most lasting impact are those involving the best of Malaysian minds, coupled with their fortitude to realise workable and concrete solutions to assist the most vulnerable in our communities. Protection of those without access to basic public services, infrastructure, and opportunities is paramount.

Addicts require treatment. The Cure and Care Clinics throughout Malaysia must continue their operations. Those who are deprived must receive targeted assistance through better measurement of poverty, eventually engaged and empowered. Prison reforms must also continue to be supported.

If there is a key lesson to be learned in all of this, it is not to forget those who are so easily forgotten.

Please join me in remembering and helping those that need it most. To push for policies that are evidence-based and politics-proof to help those unable to help themselves achieve mobility while simultaneously empowering talents everywhere.

All Malaysians need better access to quality healthcare, education, economic empowerment that enable them to improve their own lives and those of their families and communities.

Don’t sow hatred and enmity, let us instead expand and grow our tolerance of one another especially in times of division. If the government of the day is reflective of its people, then let us ensure that it is our values they truly reflect.

I shall continue supporting my PKR leadership and colleagues, specifically to do our best in preserving our ideals and credibility by purging treacherous elements from our midst. Now more than ever must we rebuild the party from within, to uphold the principles we claim to embody.

PKR is the vehicle that allowed us to realise our reform ideals based on the principles of fairness, justice and equal opportunity which form the basis of my work in the constituencies I have had the honour to represent.

We must continue to preserve our credibility through our work, our programmes, initiatives and policies.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is MP for Permatang Pauh.

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