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No break from politics, even during Aidilfitri

Inevitably, conversation turns towards the topic, some families say.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli & Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Relatives visit from house to house on the third day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, April 24.
Relatives visit from house to house on the third day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, April 24.

Tengku Adnan arrived at his home town on the night of April 21, ready to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri with his family members and relatives in Muar, Johor. 

But as he put on his new clothes and greeted his family on the morning of Eid itself, his mind lingered back at home over the possibility of developments even during the Raya break. 

And as food was served and family and friends began filling their plates, the conversation inevitably turned to politics. 

For Adnan, a civil servant and diplomatic administrative officer, this was nothing out of the ordinary. 

"They think I know everything," he said. 

"As soon as politics is mentioned, everyone is eager to get their two cents in. Most of what they say is wrong or way off the mark, but they don't care. 

"As long as they can let off some political steam." 

This time, he said, conversation was mostly focused on what they perceived as the government's inability to handle the economic situation. 

"Those who are getting along in years and approaching retirement age are worried about the cost of living, what more those who have just begun working," he said. 

"They say the government now has no 'wow factor', and is just following an outdated formula that no longer works." 

Political talk is the trend at every festive season, he added.

"The young ones talk about the cost of living and the old ones talk about the politicians that they support. 

"Both follow the same theme. It's all politics." 

Over in Terengganu, a former journalist who called himself Ashraf said that conversation was more focused on a handful of Perikatan Nasional leaders whom his family considered as high-calibre.

"They also say that the government is nothing to shout about," he added. 

"The economy is weighing heavy on their minds this year. Everything is becoming so expensive. 

"But they don't want a change of government because they say it's still too early to judge Anwar Ibrahim and his administration." 

In Perak, meanwhile, Syakirin, a public relations officer in the private sector, said his family preferred to leave politics alone during the Hari Raya celebration. 

He said he and his siblings wanted a meaningful time with their family and would rather catch up and talk about what was going on in their lives.

"We don't stop anyone from talking about politics," he said. 

"They're all free to talk about it outside among themselves. But when we're together as a family, we should just appreciate the time that we have with one another.

"We don't often gather together like this to celebrate and be happy." 

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