N33 – AIR ITAM
Working Hard for All
There are a lot of things that BN loves labeling DAP. Chinese Chauvinist, communist, anti- Islam, anti-Malay. But these baseless accusations are merely ways to discredit the DAP as a party for all. But one thing that one cannot deny is the leadership platform that is laid out by DAP.
Wong Hon Wai joined DAP in 1997 after graduating from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia with a degree in Computer Science. As someone who believes in improving himself, he went further and obtained a degree in Jurispudence and became a qualified lawyer.
“Before that, I had assisted YB Chong Eng and observed how the State Assembly works,” Wong explains. His stint as a political assistant made it obvious that Wong was ready for a life in politics. After meeting Lim Kit Siang at parliament when he was 24 years old, he was one of the DAP’s recruits when the party was on a campaign to recruit 800 graduates.
Wong became the election agent for Chow Kon Yeow, in an experience that would expose him to the world of campaigning. In 2008, Wong himself was selected as a candidate. But he did not expect to win.
“I wanted to give it my all….My election agent and I stayed in my office during the entire duration of the campaign because if we had to spend travelling time… wait for each other, we would be losing precious time,” he says.
His dedication paid off. Wong won the Air Itam state seat and was appointed State Exco in charge of Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts.
Being appointed a State Executive Councillor was a big change for Wong, it was now time for him to build his own personal profile. Profiling is an important aspect of politics as an individual will be known for his style and professionalism. Public perception is built during this period.
“When it comes to Air Itam, I serve with a multi-racial approach and do not favor any single race. Everyone has the right to better living,” Wong stresses. He believes that as elected representatives, all people regardless of race need to be taken care of. There mustn’t be any leanings to a particular race.
One of his greatest triumphs was SRJK Rajaji in Air Itam which was renovated thanks to a combination of state and federal funds. The school was in a deplorable state for the past 50 years. Wong highlighted the issue in the Penang State Assembly and got the attention of both the federal and state governments. The students were relocated to Rifle Range temporarily while renovation was taking place.
“Every child deserves the right to education. The BN government should get down to the ground to see to it,” Wong firmly states.
As the Exco in charge of housing, Wong admits that housing prices are still a problem in the state. He is looking to resolve the issue by further exploring affordable housing options and opening up new areas in the state for housing development. As the population of the state increases, there will be a need for proper affordable housing for the growing number of Penangites.
Wong is also the Exco in charge of the arts, a portfolio that is often forgotten in a state administration. But Wong seeks to promote Penang as an arts and culture hub for Malaysia.
The arts have always been the pride of Penang as historically, Penang has been a melting pot of many different cultures. A unique amalgamation of cultures emerged from this and continues to evolve until today. To keep this symbol of pride hidden would be a complete waste and Wong has been working hard to promote the arts.
He also makes time to share artistic pursuits with his family, when his schedule permits it. “That is priceless,” he says.