By Mahathir Mohd Rais
Malaysia, a beautiful country filled with prosperity, blessed with peace and natural resources, it is our country and our nation. The year 2022 arrived in a blink of an eye and a lot has happened to the people of our country from the past few years.
We have lost lives and some of us have suffered greatly during those unpredicted times. The current pandemic, COVID-19 and also the recent floods have affected everyone in one way or another but especially for those who are in poverty.
Issues after issues were discussed upon and some reforms were made but some stayed the same. I believe that since 2022 just arrived, it is not too late for us to hear what the people on the ground truly look forward to from the government this year.
To begin with, the government has to find a way to end poverty as soon as possible. Poverty has affected around 639.8 thousand households in 2020 and the number keeps on increasing as the year passes by. Poverty causes a lot of pain to people. Their basic needs such as food, clean water, personal hygienic items, shelter, health and security are at risks when they are in poverty.
The government must improve in terms of providing equal education and job opportunities to everyone. These two factors are important in ensuring the end of poverty. Additionally, extra financial assistance must be given to stabilise the current economic growth of the country. If the people are suffering, our economy will also be dropping. It is a chain reaction.
On the other hand, the authorities must listen to demands of the public. Issues that involve the law, such as, Capital Punishment and the law on suicide must be reconsidered so that our country keeps improving itself in terms of morality and human rights.
These two issues have been brought up by the public numerous of times because it causes so much pain to families that are affected by these laws. Upon the reconsideration of these issues, there will be a significant change on how the people of our country will view the government and also the view of the people from countries abroad. It is extremely detrimental that we focus on ensuring that Malaysia is a country of peace from the eye of outsiders as well as our own people. This will only benefit us in many ways such as, economic investments, tourisms and even military stability in the future years to come.
Furthermore, the government has to increase the awareness of mental health issues to the public. Most Malaysians are still unaware about the dangers of mental health issues. Some has called it the silent killer because it is happening inside the head of an individual. This has evidently affected people from all ages, young and old. Due to the severity of their mental state, some turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with their problems.
Instead of having a war on drugs or alcohol, which has been proven many times to be unsuccessful, the government must tackle the primary problem first and foremost. Addiction is a sign of sickness, not crime. If the authorities don’t try to educate the people regarding this, the numbers of addicts will only increase as years passes by.
On top of that, suicide cases have been increasing over the years and it is all due to the ‘taboo’ that surrounds any mental health issues. The government must do something to highlight this problem to save the people of our country, especially the youths and teenagers that are caught up in this mess.
It starts at school and TV advertisements and then we can progress to ensuring that this topic will wildly spread to every corner of our country.
The demands of the people are the responsibility of the government. The authorities must prove their competencies and their abilities to their nation. When the people can depend on the government, only then can they unite as Malaysians.
As said by our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, “We are all Malaysians”.
This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation.”
Let’s keep the unity going, no matter the year, and it all starts with the government.
About the author: Mahathir Mohd Rais is the Bersatu Segambut Division Chief of Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.
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