Letter to editor
IT is time for the Federal and state governments as well for MPs and state assemblymen to host Chinese New Year celebrations in the New Villages which usually have more than 80% Chinese population.
The state level Open House as well as festive celebrations by the people’s representatives in their constituencies should be rotationally held at New Villages.
This will enliven the festive atmosphere with Malaysians from all walks of life and ethnic groups gathering to celebrate the festival.
It will also expose Malaysians to the history of these villages while bringing about greater understanding on one aspect of our nation’s history that has been accorded a reduced significance due to ignorance.
Many New Villages have been transformed from their previous agricultural mainstay to becoming industrial and commercial zones for SMEs (small medium enterprises) that attract many local and foreign workers.
As contributions of these SMEs to the New Villages are immense in terms of the national economy, the government needs to assist in infrastructural development and other aspects to make the New Villages just as vibrant and better organised as existing housing estates.
By hosting Chinese New Year celebration there, the needs of the New Villages can be better assessed with funding and allocations for various improvements and transformation to be undertaken.
Fond memories of yesyteryears
Such move will have large multiplier effect which results in greater economic growth that ultimately finds its way to fill the state and federal coffers.
For a long while, New Villages have not been accorded the due significance as a multiplier of economic growth with most of their general improvements and activities left to piecemeal effort by private enterprises.
New Villages need better roads and drainage, sports and senior citizens’ facilities, tidier public spaces, parks, more commercial outlets and food courts, larger multi-purpose halls as well as cleaner wet markets to attract more non-Chinese there.
This will lead to a greater multi-racial mix which meets the government’s racial integration objective. As it is, quite a substantial number of the village folks – especially the younger generation – have moved out of the New Villages in search of higher education and income.
Despite this, land value and rental in New Villages have skyrocketed as they host some of the country’s largest SME centres. Foreign and local workers have more than made up for the loss of the older Chinese residents who have passed on while the younger ones having moved away to urban areas.
Recently, there were reports of making New Villages in Selangor a UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their historical, cultural and contemporary significance.
New Villages need better municipal administration and all-round physical improvement by the local authorities to make them attractive for living and visiting.
Photographic exhibitions on the early days of the New Villagers or how the village folks went through the Emergency and other historical episodes such as Merdeka and general elections or even those portraying the life of village folks of the yesteryears and how they transform over the decades need to be held during the Chinese New Year season for visitors and tourists alike.
In essence, New Villages have to be brought into the mainstream of national reckoning as opposed to isolating them as in the recent past and present till they become relatively unknown to the younger generation. – Feb 7, 2024
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: Astro Awani