Selangor Journal
Kota Damansara assemblyman Izuan Kasim makes a point during Selangor Journal’s Lunch on Us! programme, broadcast on its Facebook on May 23, 2024. — Picture by AMAR SHAH MOHSEN/SELANGOR JOURNAL

Politicians must not fear being ‘cancelled’ for unpopular policies, says assemblyman

By Danial Dzulkifly

SHAH ALAM, May 23 — Politicians and government officials should not fear being “cancelled” for implementing initiatives or policies aimed at the greater good of the public and future generations, said Kota Damansara assemblyman Izuan Kasim.

Acknowledging the significance of cancel culture and boycotts among Malaysians, which are often initiated by young people online to penalise reprehensible acts or behaviours of public figures or bussinesses, Izuan said that the movement is essential to holding people accountable.

“Cancel culture is a part of our culture. It needs to be retained because I do believe politicians need to be responsible.

“Our responsibility as politicians is not merely to gain popular support but to bring about effective change, and we should be able to face cancellation for the sake of the nation’s or state’s future.

“For example, targeted subsidies or rationalisation of subsidies is not popular, and we might be cancelled for them, but is it good for the state? Is it good for the country? It is good, but we need to be ready to be cancelled,” he said during the Selangor Journal’s Lunch on Us! programme broadcast live on Facebook today.

Izuan, who is also the Selangor Keadilan Youth chief, again stressed the importance of being responsible to both the current and future generations, as policies enacted today will have long-term impacts.

“We are responsible for not only this generation but also the coming generations because whatever policy we implement now will impact the future,” he said.

However, Izuan said that while cancel culture serves an important role in maintaining accountability, he urged politicians not to worry excessively about it, as the true value of beneficial policies will be recognised over time.

“Cancel culture needs to be retained. It needs to be part of our culture, but as a politician, I say we do not need to worry too much about it because if the policies you bring today are for the greater good, people will appreciate them in the future,” he said.

The talk show today centred around the topic of boycotts and blockouts and how the online movements have spurred a generation of youth to call out influencers, artists, and companies to speak out against the ongoing genocide in Gaza perpetrated by Israel.

The movement has hit Malaysian shores, with many social media users calling out local artists and influencers for their alleged silence on the ongoing issue.

Some had even shared a list of local artists who should be blocked from all of their social media accounts, denying them engagement and monetisation online.

However, Izuan cautioned that any boycott movements needed to be accompanied by proper context and knowledge to prevent innocent people from being penalised.

He also acknowledged that some might have taken action to penalise these artists simply out of “FOMO” — the fear of missing out — from joining a trend or a wave of public opinion.

“Every boycott must come with knowledge; that is the most important part. You cannot simply follow the wave of the boycott because of FOMO.

“Some people participate in the boycott and blockout because a list of names of artists has been circulated online, but they may not realise that some of these names should not be on the list.

“So how do we draw the line? First, we need to understand that even artists need to make a living. Secondly, some of them may have signed a contract, and if they breach the contract, who would want to pay for this?

“But again, that doesn’t mean that they cannot say something about what is happening, for example, ‘All eyes on Rafah’,’’ he said, referring to the online campaign alerting to the ongoing bombardment in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

“I believe their contract may not specifically say they cannot support Palestine or any movement in Gaza, but it might state that whatever they do must not affect the brand. That’s normal.

“But these artists, especially Muslim artists, should at least show their solidarity,” he added.

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Editor Selangor Journal