YB Dr Kelvin Yii speaks to us about his recent victory in Bandar Kuching and what Kuchingites and Malaysians in general can expect from this new era for Malaysia.
For those in the dark, Dr Kelvin Yii of the DAP political party won the Bandar Kuching seat at the recently concluded GE14 with a majority of 35,973 votes. A medical doctor by profession, Dr Kelvin has dedicated most of his life to saving people and other charitable causes. Now with his new career, he plans to do the same, save people from bad governance and ensure the welfare of the rakyat is safeguarded.
We sat down with MP during our recent visit to Kuching to learn more about his vision for the Land of the Hornbill and of course Malaysia.
You didn’t expect to win the recent election, saying there is no such thing as a safe seat. What were the things you did in your part for the campaign to win Bandar Kuching?
A lot of people mentioned to me that Bandar Kuching was an opposition sure win so I didn’t have to put much effort to win it. However, as I said, there’s no such thing as a safe seat that we can take for granted. From the campaign get go, I was on the ground. I was speaking to the people, I was understanding their needs because I was not just campaigning to win the election but speaking to the people so that I can understand them in order to better serve them beyond the election.
The question in everyone’s mind: Why did you leave your medical profession behind to join politics?
Even when I was a medical student, friends of mine and myself, we started an NGO called the Malaysian Fellowship. With that NGO we actually go to poor areas to provide free medical treatment, medical clinics and everything. From there I saw first-hand how policies keep certain people, press keep certain people. So while charity and NGO are great in a sense that we feed the hungry, but there are policies that still keeps the oppressed oppressed. I feel a full transformation of society happens when the grass root like NGOs and CSOs help the people and also the policy makers come in between. There’s a full transformation of society, so I decided to try.
I was in Nepal during the earthquake so we provided humanitarian during earthquake, also Philippines when the Typhoon Haiyan hits. I was in Indonesia when the volcano hit, so its all-around different places, all around Asia.
What are the changes you plan to bring for the people here, especially in Bandar Kuching?
One of the things I want to do is bring life back to Bandar Kuching. As you can see and experience for yourself, Bandar Kuching has so much culture, so much history and one of the things that’s happening in Sarawak in general is that all the young people are leaving after finding jobs in KL and Singapore, and overseas. So, I want us to bring some vibrancy. To see more young people come back home.
What about Pakatan Harapan? What changes would you like to see with the new government in Malaysia?
I think the one thing I want to see is a cleaner government. Government with transparency. For Sarawak specifically, we want to see this Pakatan Harapan government recognise the right full standing of Sabah and Sarawak under the Federation of Malaysia. One of the things that I fight for and I will be fighting for in parliament would be our equal recognition as equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia based on Malaysia Agreement number 63. We will fight for our right that is rightfully ours. We’re not demanding extras, we’re not being spoiled brats, but we just want to be recognised as agreed by our forefathers and I believe through that pure national integration happens when we go back to what was agreed, and not like how things were under the previous administration.
What kind of challenges are you facing, now that you’re an MP?
Ah currently things are great. I was born in Kuching. I’m enjoying it, I’m excited, I’m learning new things every day, but I’m excited. When the parliament convenes I’ll be raising up a lot of issues regarding the interests of Bandar Kuching and Sarawak as a whole. I’ve identified few key areas especially Bandar Kuching which had been lacking. Things for example issues of flash flood, that we need to address so these are the things that we’re raising. On top of other issues like education, health care and of course, the residents in Sarawak.
Last question, moving forward, what would you like to see happening to Sarawak and Malaysia with you in the MP role?
I’d like to see all religions all ethnicity and even people from different regions be treated equally, and be treated with justice. For years, under the previous administration, Sabah and Sarawak have been suffering, even though we are rich in resources. I believe that for greater national identity-ness we must start at a proper understanding of who we are as federation and that’s one of the thing I want to see – to promote greater integration within different races. A lot of misunderstanding, a lot of gaps have happened between how we see things and everything. For example with growing interest of Sarawak rise and Sabah rise nowadays, a lot of Malaysians think we are demanding excessively, we are being spoiled brats and everything but then, on the Sarawak side a lot of growing minorities have begun to reject West Malaysia by saying “Oh, West Malaysians are bad” or “Oh ini orang Malaya”, and other things like that. Moving forward, I don’t want to see that sentiment on both sides of the divide and that is something I’m going to try really hard to change.
Keep abreast with Dr Kelvin Yii and his initiatives as the MP of Bandar Kuching via his Facebook page here.