I voted for a change in 2008. Hold on. Let me rephrase that, I voted for better tomorrow in 2008.
Born to a low income Chinese family, everything about me in adulthood is average at best. Contrary to popular belief that Chinese in Malaysia earns more than the other races, to be honest I don’t earn a 5-figure salary after 20 years of working, neither do I have a penchant for business. Like most average Chinese who works for big corporations, living in KL can be quite difficult.
Raising two preschool children with wife who is not working, I live on paycheque-to-paycheque basis. My aging father and mother-in-law are staying with us, shortly after the twins were born. Our rented terrace house in Puchong is vulnerable to all sort of problems, from roof leaks to wall cracks to termite attack. While Puchong may not be the best place to live, but do I have a choice? At least it is better than Cheras!. Often we have to cramp for space but we make do. Since I don’t intend to make this the letter a venue for my sob story, generally I’m not complaining, but what I do know that things can be better.
Lost within the foray of election campaign in 2008, I thought it was impossible for the incumbent government to top the offer and promises made by Pakatan Rakyat in so far as Selangor is concerned. Consistently feeling jilted, denounced and sidelined by UMNO-controlled Barisan, I didn’t think twice before voting for Pakatan.
But post 2008 general election, politics (or in this case politicians) and the act of fulfilling promises for Selangor became strangers. I waited in vain for the direct financial help to ease the burden of my family’s expenses as a middle income earner, it didn’t happen. Allow me to be specific.
Pakatan Rakyat promised in 2008 to give free education to all preschool children in Selangor between the ages of 5 to 6-years old. In 2011, the twins turned 5 years old, but I still have to pay RM150 a month for each child in kindergarten’s fee. Perhaps they needed time to make the plan for the free preschool education to materialize, but as they now seek for fresh mandate to govern Selangor again in GE13, I am still paying for preschool education fees for the twins until they start Primary 1 next year. Did my life or family life changed after voting Pakatan?
So, calculatedly speaking, if I am paying RM150 a month per child for preschool education, I have to fork out RM3,600 a year in education fees alone. Fine, let’s move on to another matter
One of the most attractive pledges made by Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 which attracted me to vote was the special allowance between RM150 to RM 250 per month to all fulltime housewives in Selangor. The prospect of getting that extra, however little that is to you, will make a difference to my big family. It could easily help with the grocery or utility bill. Of course that, too, didn’t happen. If it happens (which is not the case) my wife and I will have an extra of RM3,000 a year. Fine, let’s move on again.
My wife and I have always been hoping to own a place as soon as we can afford it. The renting has been going on since our dating days and frankly I am quite sick of it. Owning a property will make a smart investment if things get bad in the future. So I fell for Pakatan’s promise to ‘aid’ every Selangor citizen to own a home. Clearly, the aid never came. We are still renting the house we live in now.
And if the reports by the newspaper and internet bear any truth at all, I know Pakatan has a lot more to answer for undelivered promises in Selangor. Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t see them actively establishing religious institutions other than Islam as promised. And I wonder, is our religion inferior to the great Islam professed by the majority of this country?
What about the promise to give free medical services to all Selangor citizens above the age of 65? Despite me constantly bashing and criticizing Federal Government, my father and mother-in-law still frequent the free 1Malaysia clinic. Both suffering from diabetes and hypertension, they are still waiting for the free medical services promised by Pakatan Rakyat. I asked myself, why did I refuse to acknowledge Pakatans’s failure in delivering its promises? My pride stopped me from answering.
I don’t know much about property, as you know, I haven’t even bought one myself. But I remember Pakatan’s promise to lower residential taxes by 20% and 10% on commercial premises in Selangor. I haven’t seen that happening anywhere. Since this is not directly related to me, I let go of this promise too.
But the biggest joke of them all is when Pakatan scoffed at RM900 minimum wage introduced last year. To me, it’s better the RM900 than the lies to defend poor people like farmers and fishermen by implementing a minimum wage of RM1,200! Did Pakatan Selangor make that happen? No.
Regardless what Pakatan has in store with regards to their political manifesto to gain more voters via PKR Buku Jingga or Belanjawan Pakatan Rakyat 2013, it is very clear to me what has been promised to the people versus what is being implemented in reality is two different thing.
For a Selangor born Chinese, my vote for Pakatan has now directly costs me RM6,600 a year on the kindergarten’s fee and housewife’s allowance.
Remember, just like everyone else, I voted for a change in 2008. However, with all the undelivered promises and series of excuses, clearly I am not going to make the same mistake again.