Friday 21 September 2012

Now's the historical moment for change

  • Ibrahim Menudin
  • 4:20PM Sep 20, 2012
COMMENT The eve of Malaysia Day marked a major turning point in my life. After a career spent largely out of the political limelight, I decided to enter mainstream politics and join Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

For some time now, I have felt a deep and growing sense of dissatisfaction with the way our country is run.

We have achieved so much with what we have been given, and yet, 49 years after Malaysia was formed, and with eight years left until Wawasan 2020, many of us are still struggling with the basic necessities of life.

Eighty percent of our households still live on less than RM3,000 per month, and 40 percent of our households live on RM1,500 per month. As the cost of living continues to increase, most of us will still struggle to make ends meet.

I joined PKR because I believe it is time for change. It is time that we take back the future, the future that is continually being promised to all of us, but is only being realised by so few.

In the shorter term, we have to tackle the economic mismanagement that is currently plaguing our country. The current administration's "solution" to spend our way out of our problems is not a solution; it is part of the problem.

Our national debt stands at 53 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP), more than Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and at least one-third of our federal budget is funded by Petronas.

Re-think the way GLCs operate

We need to restructure the way our budget is funded and the way our budget is spent, and we need to re-think the way our government-linked companies (GLCs) operate.

In the longer term, we also need to address our national standard of education.

Our students are becoming less competitive because we have come to depend on a system of rote memorisation and indoctrination, rather than on a system of building intellect and promoting lateral thinking. Thirty of our students do not even complete SPM.

Many private schools have been founded to address some concerns that our children are not getting the level of education they need.

Our priority should be to raise the quality of education of all our national schools, so that if we want to send our children to private schools, it is because we want to, not because we feel we have to.

Our overarching philosophy should be not just to educate our students, but to liberalise the minds of all Malaysians, young and old.

I am also entering PKR to help the people of Labuan. As a native of Labuan, I long to see a great and prosperous future for my homeland. I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed immense opportunity.

My goal now is to make these opportunities, and so many more, available to everyone by allowing Labuan to realise its true potential.

Lower the skyrocketing living costs
We need to lower the skyrocketing living costs that are burdening the average Labuanite, and properly position and promote Labuan as an international hub for oil and gas, education and financial services.

Of course, there are many other reasons why I decided to take up this political challenge, but today, I have highlighted these three because I believe that on some level, these reasons resonate with everyone.

My hope is that Malaysians will realise that while we as a country are fortunate to have what we have, we can be so much more. We have for too long allowed ourselves to be dragged down by pessimism and frustration.

With the people's support, PKR and Pakatan Rakyat will lead the wave of change and offer hope and excitement.

The tables are now turning, and we as Malaysians are more aware than ever of the reforms that need to be made. Give us the chance to achieve more, not just more of the same.

Our time in history has never been more important. Let's do something great, and let's do it together.

IBRAHIM MENUDIN is the former Sabah Umno treasurer who joined PKR on Sept 15

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