Hoping for winds of change

Aneesa Alphonsus | April 14, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysians want to see the country taking a turn for the better after the 13th general election, although some feel it will be the same old story.


If you’re going to ask any Malaysian this question, “What are your hopes for the government post- general election”, you’d better get ready for an onslaught of opinions, emotions and cynicism – not necessarily in that order.

In the case of Manaf Abdul Samad, it was just cynicism when he opined, “It doesn’t matter who wins, because all of them are the same. You ask me what my hopes are? I can’t even bring myself to say it because right now, it would sound funny because it’s all wishful thinking. Yes sure I’ll vote, but to be honest, I don’t think I’ll get to see what I hope for in my lifetime.”

Coaxed out of his reluctance with the promise of another hot Nescafe into sharing his thoughts, the 62-year-old Manaf gives in.

“The biggest mistake Barisan National made is to have underestimated Malaysians, using all kinds of scare tactics to make us feel that there will be chaos should a new government come into power. We are not stupid. Many of my peers agree that we allowed the government to do what it has because we trusted them and we gave them due respect.

“Many people are terkejut [shocked] when they hear that we are speaking up. My friends abroad are surprised and say that they never thought we had it in us. My reply to this is always the same – we have always had it in us, but we have been patient for too long. The fight was always there and the government shouldn’t have thought lowly of its people. So if you ask me what are my hopes for the new government, I would say that it should recognise that we are smart and that we should be treated fairly and not be taken for fools who will not fight back,” he said.

There are, however, Malaysians like Hameed Hamzah, a 50-something business owner, who feels that one party will do better than the other. He speaks passionately about a Pakatan Rakyat government which will bring a new dawn in Putrajaya, convinced that there will be an abundance of honesty, transparency and accountability – the holy trinity of what good governance should be all about.

Hameed is asked if he is being overly positive. He is also made aware that when a government is overthrown in what is considered a democracy, it becomes quite difficult to ensure the utopic government he has in mind. Hameed rubbishes the notion and is steadfast in his belief that a holistic change is possible.

“My hope for the government after the 13th general election is that we would once and for all be rid of corruption in all its forms. It has become an institution of sorts just like nepotism has. Yes, I am aware that the party I support has had its fair share of money politics and shady deals. But things are changing, you know There is more integrity now. I am not asking for a miracle from the elected government, but only that they take the time to really listen to what we want and carry it out,” he said.

Peaceful government

Lina Teng, a 39-year-old medical practitioner, says it’s hard for her to have any thoughts about what she hopes for, post-general election, because her mind keeps panning to possible riots – of the racial kind.
Having grown up listening to her parents speak about the racial riots of May 13th 1969, Lina is already planning for what she feels is the inevitable.

“If you asked me what my hopes are, I would tell you that I want a peaceful government, one that prides itself on keeping its people safe. There are times when I have felt like the government, or the prime minister to be specific, is holding all of us at ransom. I say this because I feel like they want to win at all and any cost,” she said.

Concerns over a racial riot seem to be the most worrying thought prevalent in the minds of a number of people interviewed. Lina says even with a well-paying job, a home of her own and a pantry filled to the brim with groceries – “just in case something happens” – she still feels unsettled that the past will repeat itself when this thought comes to mind.

“There was an incident when a ‘leader’ of a certain political party raised the keris and screamed for blood all in the name of protecting a particular political party that championed a particular race. If this wasn’t bad enough, along came another individual who was so brazen in proclaiming that a bloodbath would happen to keep BN in power… So I’m sure you can appreciate why I have little hope, or even dare think about what I can hope for,” she stated.

Add to this numerous other incidents that will make for a hotbed of scandal, shock and secrecy. There were episodes worthy of horror stories – dismembered cow’s heads, blood-spilling gore and pig’s ears, saucy sex tapes, religious conversion claims and, let us not forget, the mysterious deaths of those in police custody or under interrogation.

Home-grown talent

Yandaro Al Amien (picture above, right), 33, an entrepreneur said the biggest travesty of justice is the government denying basic electoral reform rights to the same people who elected them into power.

“My hopes and what I want from the government after the general election is a long list. I am so sick and tired of seeing both parties play the blame game – it’s enough and the time has come to focus on direction rather than who has the bigger ego,” he said.

“Our education system is also in shambles – it’s another hot mess and we are lagging far behind in terms of quality and result. Have you seen the kind of fresh graduates we get? It’s frightening because they can’t even string a proper sentence in English and common sense is non-existent.

“I want a government that will cut out all this crap about Ketuanan Melayu [Malay supremacy]… it’s this kind of talk that makes the Malays fall back behind in the first place. I want a government that gives more access to press freedom and also one that is transparent. On a personal level, I would really like to see history lessons at schools taught based on facts and truth, not on government agenda,” he said, adding, “So be it if Hang Tuah was a Chinese. What’s the big deal?”

Earnest Bat, 33, (picture left), head of communication of a private company, has a tongue-in-cheek wish for what he hopes to see in a new government and states it simply enough: “I hope for a government that is run by smarter and more savvy people who do not take offence to tights and tutus, using these innocent garments as cause for political debate. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?”

But perhaps the most poignant of all hopes expressed comes from a fellow writer who said that her hope, post-13th general election, is for Malaysia to be given a real opportunity to explore its potential and reach it – that Malaysians abroad will return home because the country is finally a nurturing ground for home-grown talent.

The winds of change might just bring this about and who knows, Manaf might see it happening in his lifetime after all.

  1. #1 by Winston on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 12:34 pm

    With UMNO/BN as the government after GE13, it will be worse than the same old, same old!
    Because as it is now, they rule Malaysia as though they own the country.
    Malaysians are their serfs.
    The wealth of the country is a largesse from their grandfather.
    The laws are only for the commoner, not them!
    The remarks of a former PM bore that out.
    1. If you don’t like me why vote for me?
    2. Malaysians have a short memory.
    As it is the UMNO/BN top hierarchy has already assumed that they have full right to do as they please.
    Now, if they are given a fresh mandate, that means that Malaysians confirm that what they have been doing was right and perhaps are ready to accept worse than the same old, same old.
    See the logic behind that?
    So, it’s downright dangerous to give them your mandate!!!

  2. #2 by k1980 on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 12:48 pm

  3. #3 by monsterball on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 12:59 pm

    Mahathir’s “Transparency Honesty and Accountability” slogan started it all.
    For 22 years…he did just the opposite and encouraged corruptions…showing others he can seal billions..as commissions legally…so much so…he was known as the 10% commission man…and projects must all exceed RMI billion.
    As we can see…the biggest crook…biggest liar is still so important to UMNO b.
    What does that tells you?
    It tells UMNO b ministers are mostly goons..for show..good for nothing…and the days to keep fooling Malaysians are over.

  4. #4 by sotong on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 1:01 pm

    The real change will come when there is a big crisis or the country goes bankrupt.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 1:05 pm

    Hmm. I actually don’t like this idea of ‘winds of change’ – it sounds too dependent, to wishing well and dreaming. My personal believe is that Malaysian ideal dream should that be liberatarian – that no one owes them anything, but rather that the ideal dream should be one that his rights are protected and he gets what he can earns and keep what he makes.

    In other words, I don’t believe in any ‘winds of change’ but rather than I be free to make what change I can and no one says I can’t do it if it hurts no one..

  6. #6 by tak tahan on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 1:25 pm

    After all these wasted years by the incompetent,racist and corrupt government of the day,what else left to hope for besides a change for better government.I,for sure,would like to bid farewel to Umno/BN come GE13.We want a fair and clean government.That’s all to it.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 5:54 pm

    Walou, Y toyol so lucky 1, not even 10 years!?
    COWwitch n family members, can get 50 yrs aaah?
    What abt MMK n whole bunch of UmnoB/BN crooks – can get 27 or > yrs aaah?

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 6:20 pm

    2 ppl like Lina Teng, Y so panik n takut 1? Still believe d lies of MMK
    Go ahead, KICK UmnoB/BN out, VOTE 4 PR, no trouble 1 – WHAT trouble r U imagining?

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 8:59 pm

    Haiyoh Pakatan…really sia pai la..what happened?Some more making Ambiga angry already.Next time be more vigilant and tough when deal with thugs from Umno/BN.Haiiiz.


  10. #10 by drngsc on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 9:28 pm

    Friends, it is good to hope. We all must have hope.
    It is more important to make it happen.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya. ( Sorry Jib Gor, nothing personal ). GE 13 is coming. Let us all work very very hard to make the change happen.

    Change we must. Change we can, and change we will.

  11. #11 by yhsiew on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 7:29 am

    My post general election hope is to see the emergence of a stronger, if not full-fledged, two-party system in which the parties scrutinize each other for any abuses, wastage (of resource) and corruption.

  12. #12 by Winston on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 9:14 am

    #11 yhsiew, you can bet that when UMNO/BN is kicked out after GE13, it will not be content with matters of good governance.
    They will create problems where problems don’t exist!
    They will create mountains out of molehills and cause all sorts of trouble.
    We have seen enough of such things happening in the states won by PR, only this time it’ll be far worse!!!
    They are doing all these as they try to claw back these states but very stupidly, they will make Malaysians angrier and happier to keep them out of the government!!!
    They are not interested in good governance but they want back their gravy train!!!!
    The want the free grub!!!!
    Malaysians must be equally adamant in ensuring the traumatic experience they have gone through these past fifty-five years will not be repeated, ever!!!!

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