TWO recent tragedies that struck Peninsular Malaysia recently have caused a lot of concerns among the citizens of our country.
I am sending my deepest condolences to all the lives that were lost. Additionally, applause must be given to the Government and the rescue teams for both the Batang Kali landslide and the flood that severely affected Terengganu and Kelantan recently.
The quick distribution of help and assistance to the families and victims are admirable. The root cause of issues like these go back to what I have been writing on these past few months – that about the severity of climate change and how it is affecting our country.
I believe that the Government – after doing such a good job at handling the short-term issues of the tragedies – must now think ahead and tackle the big guns. Despite the risks of such dangerous events recurring again, more construction sites are being developed on dangerous grounds such as the one in Batang Kali.
The long-term ideation must be quickly utilised. The lives of the people must not be jeopardised for economic growth because without the people, there is no economy to care for.
Tackling issues such as climate change will have to start with the government double checking on all new buildings that will be developed. Deforestation must be lessened to mitigate natural disasters.
Humans call it natural disaster without realising that they – specifically the governmental agencies that approve such massive deforestation projects – are usually the cause of such disasters in the first place.
The recent Parliament assembly managed to pinpoint some important issues, especially those that come from the Opposition side. I believe that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin is trying to defend the good name of our country in terms of how we are being viewed internationally.
His address towards our Prime Minister (PM) was respectful. As he has stated, he is merely asking for the countries abroad to respect our country’s traditions and beliefs.
Such gracious thoughts about protecting the name of the country should be admired by many. The truth is, we as Malaysians, must seek advancement in ideologies and technologies, but never our beliefs.
Like climate change, ideologies that affect the masses must be tackled. However, the acceptance of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer individuals) community must be pushed far away from the narrative that our country has yet to bring to the international level.
So far, despite the differences in terms of political beliefs, I do see that Malaysia is thriving in the spirit of patriotism.
While the Government is good at giving short-term, temporary solutions, the team must also start developing long-term solutions in many aspects, especially that pertaining to climate change and the education sector.
The Opposition is doing a good job at bringing out the issues that are most crucial for the betterment of the country. At the end of the day, it is not about which political party that is in power; it is about the state of the country and its people.
Mahathir Mohd Rais is information chief of Federal Territories’ Perikatan Nasional.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.