Monday, March 10, 2008

Malaysia has voted ...

What do you live for?

What do you die for?

What do you fight for?

What do you stand for?

These were difficult questions asked in the movie, Lions for Lambs. These were the same difficult questions Malaysians asked themselves at the dawn of Malaysia's 12th General Elections.

To quote a statement from the same movie:
If you don't stand for something, you might fall for anything!

Truer words have never been spoken.

And on 8th of March 2008,
Malaysia voted for

Malaysia voted

I never thought I would live to see this day! And I have never been prouder nor happier to be a Malaysian.

Was it only days before that I sat with a group of friends at a mamak stall; lamenting at the state of affairs in the country. We argued and debated over the importance to exercise our right to vote. Many felt the futility in doing so. After all, what can stop BN from achieving two thirds majority? And even if it was only a message the rakyat wish to send by denying BN two thirds majority, what would really change? What could the opposition really do?

Many believe things would remain the same or even take a turn for the worse after the elections. After all, did the rakyat not give BN over 90% majority vote just 4 years ago and pin our hopes on a new leadership to initiate change? But where did that get us? More obvious corruption, higher crime rate, rising prices, and the overuse of the racial card to make the errant rakyat tow the line. So much for "a government of the people, by the people, for the people, ..." And through it all, the rakyat felt frustrated, impotent and angry.

Despite the negative sentiments among the rakyat, despite the overwhelming need to send a strong message of our dissatisfaction with the government through the election, not many believe that BN could be denied the two thirds majority. After all, when it comes to the crunch, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't."

But on that fateful 8th March night, the results trickled in. One by one, the parliamentary and state seats started falling to the opposition.

It was unbelievable!
It was unprecedented!
It was bloody scary!
Yet it was exhilarating!

Here we were watching and living through the moments that will go down the annals of Malaysian politics. And it was because of the RAKYAT ~ the RAKYAT that had voted with ONE voice; irrespective of race, colour and creed.

In the final analysis, it was not so much of the rakyat voting for the Opposition. Rather it was the rakyat voting against the ruling party.

Whilst BN scrambles to understand what went wrong, they need not look far for the answers (if indeed they really want to know at all instead of living in a state of denial). All they need do is check out views and sentiments from bloggers and/or armchair political analysts. A few of the interesting analysis/write-ups can be found at the following links:
* Making sense of the political tsunami
* MCA drowns in ocean of disgust
* Election 2008 - the morning after (2)
* The Rakyat has spoken


I have only one thing more to add to these. TRUST! It was all a matter of trust.

Contradictory statements were made to different language newspapers to address different ethnic groups. But the ruling party forgot that we are a multiracial society who speaks, understands and reads multi languages.

Say one thing but do another. "Cakap tak serupa bikin."

Threats on one day. Promises on another.

Read this: Vote for a voice in the Government, says Abdullah

"Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reminded the Chinese community that if they gave the DAP their votes, they will end up not having any representation in the Government."

"He said if the Chinese did not have representation in the Cabinet, their requests would not be heard."

And read this: Malaysia PM: Lessons to be learned

"And despite having fewer ethnic Indian and Chinese representatives in government, Abdullah reiterated his 2004 election promise to be the 'PM for all Malaysians'."

Yeah. Singing the same old song from 2004. A PM for all Malaysians but yet could threaten one ethnic group that their requests would not be heard if there is no representation of that ethnic group in the Cabinet.

Can the rakyat be blamed then for our lack of trust? Like in any marriage, once trust is broken, it takes ages and a lot of effort to mend. That is a huge and daunting task that the ruling party need to undertake. Regain the rakyat's trust.

For the Opposition: A matter of delivering on their promises

The dust are beginning to settle and reality is sinking in. For the Opposition who has been voted into office, beyond the euphoria, the work has only just begun.

It is time to make good on their promises. It is a delicate balance to manage between the voices of three parties and the needs of the various ethnic groups. The learning curve will be high and fast.

I don't envy their position.

The ruling party will be watching. And they will be brutal. Probably as brutal as the Opposition were about them.

The rakyat is watching. And we will be critical because with the Opposition lies the hope of a nation looking for change. With the Oppostion lies the hope of a nation looking for a stronger alternative party/ voice to provide checks and balances.

And with this election lies my fervent hope that the rakyat will stay strong and will not be drawn into racial debates. It is my hope that the rakyat will continue to act as one voice.

Power to the People.

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

Good morning Malaysia! You fill me with hope.

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