AS it was a scorching hot day, finding a parking spot in George Town is always close to impossible. So, taking a Grab Car was probably the best choice I made recently to go for an assignment.
My Grab driver found it unusual that I requested a trip to the Penang High Court and unable to withhold his curiosity, he asked if I worked at the court.
I explained to him the nature of my job and he was somewhat taken aback. He asked if I had the inside scoop to things. Soon, the conversation turned to the impending general election and Penang.
He said while he thought the DAP would easily be able to retain Penang, their past glory had somewhat tarnished with time.
“I still remember how they approached me ten years ago and asked if I was a registered voter at one of the supermarkets near where I was living.
“They then came to my place and visited me as I had just lost my job back then so of course I thought Penang could use a change of government and that was how I started voting,” recounted Mr Tan the Grab driver.
Admittedly, he said, the DAP is very persistent and worked on what was lacking from the previous administration.
“But after two terms, I think some people’s true colours are starting to show.
“We only voted for them for two terms and already no Penang lang can afford a house in their own home state.
“Thankfully I had already bought my PDC flat in the mid 90s which was then below RM40,000.
“Now with RM40,000 maybe you can just get a parking space!” he quipped.
He related how it was nearly impossible for him to get a job in Penang despite the qualifications he has. Hence the decision to become a Grab driver.
“They promised us things will change for us in Penang but actually they have only changed for certain people and they are not even Penang lang.
“Penang lang cannot sustain in Penang already but tourists like it here lah as everything appears nice on the outside.
“One problem I see is the traffic problem in Penang, it’s getting from bad to worse especially during the school holidays but that’s how people like us can ‘cari makan’ lo,” said Mr Tan as the car came to a halt at a traffic light as the court complex loomed closer.
Before alighting, I asked him if he was going to vote in the coming election.
His reply was somewhat full of conviction and he let fly without even thinking.
“Aiyoooo tired liao lah.. every time say Ubah, Ubah but where is the Ubah?”
Whether or not DAP will be able to regain its past glory when it captured Penang from Gerakan in 2008 and then subsequently retained it in 2013 is yet to be seen but if every Penang lang especially the Chinese which make up the majority here all think like him, then DAP will not see the same victory it did in this coming election.
Taking into consideration the many new political parties that have cropped up in Penang with a few formed by disgruntled former members from both DAP and Gerakan, the wind of change is blowing strongly in Penang and if DAP is not careful, it will definitely get blown away.
Just awhile ago, a newly formed Penang based political party, comprising former DAP and Gerakan members, announced its intention of contesting in 18 state seats held by DAP.
Will DAP be able to capture and retain its 19 seats just like in the last two general elections? Well, May 9 holds the answer to that.