Supreme Council Meeting Mahathir Mohamad Muhyiddin Yassin The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) flag PIX: FAREEZ FADZIL / MalaysiaGazette / 26 JANUARY 2020
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) flag PIX: FAREEZ FADZIL / MalaysiaGazette / 26 JANUARY 2020

The following article is submitted to the Editorial of Malaysia Gazette by reader, Zulhilmi Zailani.

As political upheaval leaves many scratching, it seems we will get some clarity on the state level–specifically in Johor. The exit of Bersatu from Pakatan Harapan, leaves us with a hung state assembly in Johor. There is even talk that the current government will be replaced by a BN-led one.

I hope that whatever government prevails, it will leave Bersatu out.

Bersatu have little sympathy among the average Johorean–Tanjung Piai’s knockout blow was clear evidence of this. Worse still many still feel the scars dealt by especially by their mishandling of Pasir Gudang in the past year by then Menteri Besar (MB) of Johor, Osman Sapian.

The former MB’s notable achievements include him lying regarding his academic credentials (which seems to be common among Bersatu leaders), compromising the country’s position during the Malaysia-Singapore water dispute by visiting an anchored Malaysian Marine Department vessel.

However, his most egregious mistake was putting his self-interest first instead of the people when he visited Batam Island, Riau for a golfing trip during the height of the toxic pollution crisis of Kim Kim River, Pasir Gudang, Johor. Where toxic waste was illegally dumped in a local river, causing 4,000 people to fall ill and more than 100 schools to close in March.

When it was revealed that the vibrant community of Pasir Gudang was once again beset by tragedy where 104 school children fell ill to air pollution – Johoreans once again were faced with disappointment.

The government was quick to say that the two incidents are unrelated, brushing away rumors that it was caused by incompetency on part of the contractors hired by the government to clean Sungai Kim Kim in March.

For the people living in Pasir Gudang, having to experience this twice in three months is one too many. According to media reports, many parents were justifiably frustrated with the lack of followup by the authorities in preventing such incidents.

Instead, they once again are forced to rush their children to hospitals and deal with this disruption–where over 400 schools in Johor were closed.

The reality is that it is less of an issue of sinister intent on part of a newly elected and vengeful government, but one that lacks unity, focus–and I dare say even competency.

Too many times we have seen that the state apparatus of these political parties becomes liabilities to the project that should be to preserve the welfare of Johoreans.

His replacement as party chair in Mazlan Bujang did not inspire any confidence either. He spent most of his time as an ADUN on politicking, attempting to manouvuer his faction and allies as MB.

People-centric governance is foreign to Mazlan who is the same man who was embroiled in scandal when leaked audio clip revealed that he pressured local official to open sealed off chemical factories in Pasir Gudang.

Bersatu has proven itself as liability not only on a federal level but also for Johoreans everywhere. Their brand of incompetence and self-interest is an unnecessary source of worry for those who are just looking to make a living in these troubling times.

We need a government that can help address the day-to-day problems that all Johoreans face, the same old issues of broken public amenities and rough roads, of business licenses and public welfare.

It’s time that we get a government that puts our interests first–otherwise, we will knock you out just as we did in Tanjung Piai.

-Zulhilmi Zailani-

Editorial note: The views expressed are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysia Gazette.

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