INITIALLY, when the people got to know that every minister would be given a Velfire for their “work ride”, people were so irate as they deadly believed that the country was severely facing a “financial inadequacy” that would cost the government many slimmed-down spendings.
Luckily, the harboured plan of purchasing a fleet of Velfire for those who claimed themselves as a “people’s servant” was unveiled, and with the netizens’ brutal protest of forcing the purchasing withdrawal on the social media, the fancy plan of ministers “riding with Velfire” is now a no go.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) ministers have now to reflect on themselves.
I highly believe that they actually realise that the deficit of people’s trust towards the ruling government isn’t fictional but a reality they can’t run away from.
After the series of failures in fulfilling their electoral manifesto, the administration of the five-party government seems to be administratively worse than the previous Najib Razak-led BN.
When they were in the opposition bloc, they kept criticising the “overly-paid” ministers with certain “irrelevant allowances” that were made an everyday reason behind the rise of the people’s cost of living.
Now, what they used to go against becomes a thing they can’t avoid doing.
If they were very serious about limiting the government’s spendings and elevating the people’s welfare, the idea of purchasing the Velfire won’t even brought to the table of the cabinet meeting or at least, it was concluded as a “won’t be done” plan.
As someone who concerns about human transportation, I would like to urge the government to compulsorily hold a “public transport week” for the cabinet ministers, which in every month, there will be a ‘special week’ where each of the cabinet ministers, including the prime minister and his deputy, will ride public transports to their offices and even public functions they are scheduled to officiate.
By doing so, the PH government could prove to the people and the noisy opposition that the ministers and their deputies have no reluctance in commuting via public transports, be they bus, train or even the upcoming Dego Ride, especially during peak hours even though they feel forced.
The ministers’ public transport week should be made a ‘monthly ritual’ with the ministers have to ride any public transport, excluding e-hailing cars, at least a 7-day week a month.
Transport Minister, Anthony Loke together with his deputy, Kamarudin Jaffar have to be the initiator of this initiative before the rest of their cabinet colleagues join them.
If they can be consistent in the deed, they will surely be framed as the best role models for those urban car drivers who have never been a public transport user.
If normal Malaysians, whose earnings are classified as “urban poor” can be punctual at work by taking a bus or train every single morning, why can’t ministers, who we expect to be the best humans living on this earth, be doing the same?
The people want the ministers to feel how we actually feel as the surviving humans who don’t get marvellous perks like the ministers do.
We need no entourages or police escorts, but still, with a sardined train, we can make it to our destinations.
We need no “John-Bread car” to go to work, but still, we can feed our families with moderate salaries we earn by coming to work despite the rainy days and hell-congested roads.
Therefore, will the Dr M-led government be willing to take this idea up and make it happen?
Michael Jackson has once said in his song titled “Man In The Mirror” - “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the change.”
So, to the ministers, be the man in the mirror.
If a better world is what you really wish to inspire, you should be the first to make a change— ride the public transports before expecting the rest to do it.
* Amerul Azry Abdul Aziz is an independent writer who now views politics as something that can be researched.
**The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.