— Alexandra Wong
The Malaysian Insider
May 06, 2013
MAY 6 — The day after GE13 I woke up to see all-black Facebook profile pictures.
I see something wrong with the picture here. I cast my vote based on the belief that a better Malaysia meant a more effective system of check and balance.
Post-election, I feel we’re still missing the point: we’re not focusing on the real stumbling blocks, the game-changers so to speak.
1) A disconnect with the rural voters, who either don’t care or don’t know about a better Malaysia. As far as they’re concerned, it’s more important to feed their families. If the urban supporters don’t acknowledge and address that, the opposition will always remain opposition. How many urban voters understand that a big part of the real Malaysia lies in the rural areas? How many have even been to a rural village? I have. And it smote me that they were so poor. I visited a Sarawak longhouse once and when I gave a grandma RM100 as a thank-you token, the look of shock and gratitude in her eyes haunted me for a long time afterwards. I found out later that’s how much they earn in one month — to feed one whole family.
2) Our real bogeyman was gerrymandering. As a friend put it, one vote in a Sarawak urban constituency equals six rural votes. Why was it not addressed before the election? That was the deal-breaker. Why were so much resources dedicated to the urban constituencies which were foregone conclusions? At this point, there is no conclusive evidence voting was rigged in some constituencies though I am sceptical of the manner in which some were won but “magic” alone couldn’t have orchestrated so many wins. While all eyes were on the cities with 100k voters, the sub-10k constituencies were quietly narrowing the gap.
The kampung folk were the real king makers.
Then why did Pakatan Rakyat give out an early victory cry? I believe it’s a war strategy. A general has to create the illusion of victory, even when you know it’s beyond reach, to keep your solders’ spirits high. Sometimes it makes the difference between losing and winning. Sometimes it doesn’t.
I believe the primary goal was so that the urban voters would not lose heart and come out in big numbers. And it worked. Because they (the city people) did and they sent out a powerful message to the ruling party. And that is why, in my heart, I believe it was a victory, not a loss.
Folks. With key losses by high-profile candidates, Malaysians sent out a clear message that racially-incited politics was NOT cool.
Even fence-sitters are awakening politically. On the eve of Polling Day, I attended a ceramah, and I had never seen so many people on the streets of Ipoh in my life, united for a common cause.
If that’s not change, I don’t know what is.
It’s not all bleak.
It’s not the time to mourn.
It’s time to carry on. Re-energise and get cracking.
Because we have a lot of work to do before GE14. And by “we”, I mean ALL of us Malaysians: BN has to work triply hard to restore our faith if the rulers-to-be mean what they say about a more moderate brand of politics, and Pakatan has to plug the cracks in its armour and fortify itself to make even more headway in the next election.
Before you know it, it’d be another five years.
Five years — it’s not that long.