Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Struggle For The People Touches Voters' Soul

Rathu, 42, (not her real name) does not mind living in a small, dimly-lit room; without windows nor fan.

The room was actually one of several four-wall plywood artitions, erected on the upper floor of a shoplot block, where Rathu has to share the common bathroom with mostly foreign workers.

Life is hard for Rathu as she has to look after two of her school-going children, currently staying with their aunt in Klang, because her husband is jobless due to his drinking habit.

But Rathu, who hails from Tanjung Karang, Selangor, has hopes that her children will have a better future.

So, as the sole bread winner, she has to work part-time as a security personnel in Kajang and during her off-day, she will do jollymaid home cleaning around the area, giving her a total of just over RM1,000 a month.

Two months ago, two female social activists, a lawyer and a graphic designer, visited her and gave her two packets of rice, milk, canned food and instant noodles.

"Only a woman will understand another woman," she told one of them.

On April 20, Rathu was pleasantly surprise to learn that the lawyer, Adzhaliza Mohd Nor, 46, had been named as one of the candidates vying for the Parliamentary seat of Hulu Langat for the coming 13th General Election on May 5.

Adzhaliza, or Liza, is among the new faces fielded by Barisan National (BN), and she will face incumbent Che Rosli Che Mat, who won the seat with a majority of 1,745 votes in 2008.

The Kajang-born Adzhaliza has always been active in social work in Kajang since she graduated with the law degree from the International Islamic University.

"I hope the voters will have confidence in me as I'm a part of Prime Minister Najib's (Tun Razak) Transformation Team to help propel the agenda of building a high-income society by year 2020," said the mother of one after she wrapped up a night ceramah in the constituency.

The routine is from as early as 7am to 2am the following morning. During the day, Adzhaliza will go for a walkabout meeting the people together with Lee Ban Seng, a BN candidate for the state Kajang seat.

So hectic is the election that just three days away before polling, Adzhaliza declared that she has lost 3 kg.

But her party chief, Najib, was even busier, touring the nation daily before coming back to his own constituency in Pekan, Pahang every other day, as his party trying to regain the confidence of the rakyat after failing to secure a two-third majority in the Parliament in 2008.

The BN is working very hard to wrest several states controlled by the opposition alliance parties, namely Selangor, Penang and Kedah. Even the mood in Kelantan is favouring BN in its quest to regain Kelantan from Pas's 23-year-rule.

Four years after taking helm of the country, Najib had ntroduced many intiatives under the 1Malaysia concept with the "People First" tagline and the most popular was the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia or BR1M, which has already created a major impact on the people.

Though some critics argued that the government was bribing the people with the handout, but those who had benefitted disagree.

"BR1M is good because it was for all reagrdless of race, religion or political beliefs. As long as you qualified, you'll get it. It (the money) really helps. I'am happy to hear that the Prime Minister will continue giving out the BR1M handout," said Rathu, who has received it twice.

Najib explained that BR1M reached the target group more than the bulk subsidy which he added also benefitted the rich, foreign workers and law breakers such as smugglers.

"This can indirectly uplift the local economy such as the farmers' markets, retail shops and so on," Najib said.

Najib's administration introduced in 2012 the BR1M annual payment of RM500 for every household with a total monthly income of up to RM3,000.

This year, it also paid RM250 to single unmarried individuals with a monthly income of up to RM2,000. Najib had pledged that the BR1M payment will be continued.

"This PM (Prime Minister) gives us a lot of hope. I want to see my children will have a brighter future," added Rathu.

According to Rathu, BR1M is like the bonuses paid to civil servants or private employees.

"Initiatives such as BR1M, KR1M, Klinik 1Malaysia and Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia are examples of the inclusiveness of Najib's administration," explained Adzhaliza.

According to her, never before such an inclusive programme had been undertaken for Malaysians.

As it gets closer to polling, Pakatan, expecially Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is resorting to undermine BN's candidates and Election Commission rather than focussing on their fight such as free education, car price and petrol reduction, abolish toll and many others.

Such slander and allegation approaches have made the voters grow fatigued.

Due to that Najib aired his confidence BN will return to power with a two-thirds majority in the election "with a little bit of hard work".

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