Several months back, I was browsing my Twitter feed late one night when I happened across this.
— Jaja Binks (@__jajajelah) October 17, 2012
I did not know Fariza or Adly personally, nor did I have any prior connection to them. The only bridge linking me to them was this tweet. Yet here I was, retweeting a birthday wish and possibly giving them something unusual to bring up in conversation with their friends and family. Without this tool, the message may never have reached me so readily.
And it does not stop with simple greetings. With the various social media tools at hand, I was able to accomplish many things, from collecting feedback about next year’s budget for Malaysia to keeping Malaysians updated on the latest Government policies. I can even post updates on the go. Social media has become a convenience I can no longer do without.
As powerful a tool as it is though, there is still merit to meeting with the Rakyat in person. I suppose you could call me a traditionalist, but I believe that certain things are best done face-to-face. Online communication cannot substitute for the strengthening of interpersonal relations through a firm handshake. Reports cannot substitute seeing first-hand the daily lives and living conditions of the Rakyat. I listen to tradesmen and housewives tell me of their plights over coffee, from healthcare concerns to cost of living. These are all passed on to the relevant departments to make the changes and provide the initiatives necessary to change their livelihoods for the better.
It is translating the effort of listening to producing solutions that matters most. In response to the mak cik’s concerns about rising cost of living, we have brought to you the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia. In response to those who requires regular treatments for their condition, we have brought to you Klinik 1Malaysia. And we continue monitoring your thoughts and views online for feedback. The Budget 2013 exercise included many valid points raised by the Rakyat. You can view the engagements here and here.
Technology has brought us far from where we once began as a country and will continue to bring us to greater heights. But the tools at our disposal require commitment and dedication from its user to produce the desired results. The Barisan National Government has succeeded thus far through putting our words to action for the good of Malaysia and we will continue with our track record in providing tangible results for the people.