Cherry picking on issues on a narrow basis for political leverage will not resolve the real issues that are facing the country, says Ronald Benjamin.
In the political, economic and social world there are always chains of events that would create situations that we find ourselves in. There are various chains of events leading to an outcome such as war, terrorism and urban poverty.
There were two issues which are parallel but differ in content that caught my attention, which is the vaping issue among the young and the photograph of Nurul Izzah Anwar with the daughter of the Sulu ‘sultan’, both of which made headlines.
The questions that certain politicians and the mainstream media fail to ask is why has the vaping issue gone out of control and why a mere photograph of the Sulu sultanate has become problematic for the country.
If questions of this sort had been articulated and probed deeper, we would learn the great lessons that come with honest analysis. This would pave the way for innovative solutions even though they might not turn out to be perfect. We could either be mitigating these issues or rooting these issues out of our social landscape.
Smoking has become a trend among the young due to the easy availability of cigarettes in coffee shops and restaurants. I have personally witnessed students from a school in Ipoh buying cigarettes freely from a restaurant where I was having tea. I confronted the shopkeeper and reported the matter to the parent teacher association of the school.
The question is why are the authorities not taking action against shop owners who provide cigarettes freely to students? Why are such shops and restaurants still in operations?
The vaping issue is basically an evolution from cigarettes sold freely. We do not need to be rocket scientists to comprehend the chain of events that affect our young.
The photo of opposition politician Nurul Izzah with the daughter of the so-called Sulu ‘sultan’ does not reveal the entire picture. One cannot be called a traitor without addressing the free movement of Sulus in an out of Sabah.
Today, there is an exponential population growth in Sabah’s population beyond the KadazanDusun community due to the free movement of people from Mindanao to Sabah in the 1980s during the period of war between secessionists and the Philippine Army.
They were trying to escape the brutality of the war and then chief minister Mustapha Harun allegedly used that opportunity to increase the Muslim population in Sabah so that he could neutralise the power base of his non-Muslim opponents. The lack of migration control and alleged distribution of MyKads contributed to the existence of Sulu sympathisers among the population of Sabah.
The royal commission of inquiry that was set up in 2014 to investigate illegal migrants in Sabah came up with its so-called recommendations, but nothing concrete has been done till today. No top level culprits have been brought to justice for changing the demographics of Sabah. Those who contributed to such schemes are the real traitors to the nation. A photograph alone doesn’t make one a traitor.
These two issues reveal there are chains of events that leads to a particular outcome. Cherry picking on issues on a narrow basis for political leverage will not resolve the real issues that are facing the country.
The common good of the nation requires an understanding of the chain of events that lead to the root. This requires politicians of intellectual capability and integrity. It is difficult to find one, especially among those from the Barisan Nasional.