A changed Malaysia come May 6

By Jahabar Sadiq
The Malaysian Insider
May 04, 2013

COMMENT, May 4 — No matter which coalition makes the government in the early morning of May 6, one thing is certain — Malaysia has changed and it is business unusual for the new administration.

With the respected Merdeka Center for Opinion Research’s latest survey showing a dead heat between both Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the winner’s first job is to respond to a populace that questions and demands more from its government.

Forget the docile and subservient citizenry that thought government always knew best. That worked for some 55 years but this is a new Malaysia where the people are more advanced and ambitious in thought than their politicians.

A population where pensioners and the bloated civil service are no longer a sure vote bank, where racial barriers have collapsed and people are one as Bangsa Malaysia — concerned more about the economy than the personal lives of politicians.

This single-mindedness and unity comes despite the overt racist tones in the campaign since Nomination Day on April 20 or the fear-mongering being played out by certain political parties.

The results of the latest Merdeka Center poll — 42 per cent of the voters agreeing that PR could govern the country against 41 per cent who felt only BN should rule Malaysia — reflect how far the country has come from elections where politicians just pleaded to be a strong opposition.

“Change happens all the time and in the same way that none of us can ever imagine Malaysia regressing to an age where women are not allowed access to education, we cannot ever imagine going back to a politics that is simplistic, patronising, top-down and unchallenged.

“Even the former opposition parties have learned, over the past five years, what it is really like to be in power and having to be accountable to NGOs and public opinion. It’s been a learning experience for all of us, and I believe we have grown a little wiser too,” well-known academic Dr Farish A. Noor wrote in an essay today.

That wisdom has meant that no government can now simply implement a top-down decision without being questioned by the people or told in no uncertain terms how unpopular some ideas are.

Ideas are being shared and shaped through the Internet, people, young and old, are coming together and ahead of politicians whose mindsets belong to the trunks of their forefathers who travelled in the previous century.

The old must make way for the new, just like party-owned newspapers that will be held accountable for their reportage. The days of being the only source of credible news is over for the likes of the New Straits Times, The Star, Berita Harian or Utusan Malaysia.

There is now a proliferation of news portals and growing rise of video clips that tell a story better and faster than any propagandist can. The new media has become the standard way of creating and consuming news and information, leaving in its wake shrinking audiences for newspapers and state broadcasters that refuse to step into the 21st century.

Why? Because there are more young people now than ever before. More of who want a say in their country Malaysia. More who will come to vote tomorrow as eagerly as those Malaysians abroad last Sunday.

We have changed as Malaysians. We are no longer bystanders and an audience of a national narrative written by politicians. We are the active participants shaping Malaysia’s direction and discourse, looking askance at politicians who think nothing of shifting thousands of voters across the country before the polls.

This is the new Malaysia that will vote tomorrow for a better Malaysia for all who proudly call themselves Malaysians. The Malaysia that keeps its government on its toes for fear of losing its job.

This May 6 the new government will be one that learns more from the people than it can teach the people unlike the past 55 years.

* Jahabar Sadiq runs The Malaysian Insider.

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 8:35 am

    ///…looking askance at politicians who think nothing of shifting thousands of voters across the country before the polls…///.

    Our politicians need changing cos they lost the plot. The first principle of elections is to govern with consent of majority of the people governed measured via majority votes. This is the factor that gives moral legitimacy to government. When a bunch of politicians want o win elections for winning sake and at all cost and by the principle of ends – their personal ends- justify the means, and are prepared to manipulate with alacrity the very system (which they and their ilk have tweaked and refined to almost perfection) to give an appearance of having that majority consent when in fact they don’t, it means they do not care a hoot about the first principle of moral legitimacy and are driven principally by concerns of self interest and greed for power and wealth for themselves and families.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 8:37 am

    Tun Abdullah Badawi missed the opportunity to do what is right and this cost him greatly in the eyes of many Malaysians. The same is likely to happen to Najib. Leaders who refuse to change and modernize with time will be replaced.

  3. #3 by Winston on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 8:56 am

    There is however some obstacles that come between ideal and reality.
    The first is the integrity of the votes being cast on Sunday.
    The second is the security of the votes being kept before being counted.
    As far as security is concerned, are the ballot boxes being sealed, numbered and signed by all the candidates after sealing so that they are tamper proof and accounted for prior to vote counting?

  4. #4 by Winston on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 9:02 am

    The ruling party has no plot whatsoever.
    Their only plot, if one can call it that, for the past five over decades, is to plunder the wealth of this country!
    And in the process makes the citizens of this country their slaves!
    That and the opportunity of thwarting their comeuppance for all their crimes for the past few decades!!

  5. #5 by john on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 9:25 am

    Bumno-C4,MaMak,PakMo,Mooo all these NEVER, NEVER will change/listen. So, AT THIS 11th hour do not get distracted. MUST ensure PAKATAN RAKYAT win by major majority. NOT be HOODWINK, lest want to wait next GE ? NEVER comtemplate such event, NIGHTMARE !!!
    NOW ! UBAH ! and ” A B U ” Stay FOCUS, STEADFAST !

  6. #6 by john on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 9:46 am

    A battle call for JUSTICE to All Rakyat’s servants
    (be it Election officers, Police, etc, ) to ask them to perform their role responsibly, with full DINITY and not to be FOOL by MaMak,C4,PekMo,Mooo !

  7. #7 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 9:48 am

    May 6, 2013

    Mark this date down people.

    History will be made.


  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 9:56 am

    I am told by Deep Throats, as of this morning, the forecast is as follows:

    Federal: Pakatan 125, BN 97, Independents 0.

    States: Pakatan 7 + FTKL + Putrajaya

    BN 5 (Perlis, Pahang, Malacca, Sabah, Johore, Sarawak, Labuan FT)

    But don’t let this deceive you. It will be very close fight all the way for many seats. Very close.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 10:20 am

    Malaysian definitely has already a taste of what it means to hold their govt accountable. Whoever comes into power must have a plan for change – BUT there is no one within BN that even have the skills and knowledge must less a real plan.. Najib IS the best they can offer and he STILL have no clue really the necessary structural change..

    Yes things have changed but NOT a BN govt will not even come close to being enough. They will not do the full necessary, doing only what they can get away which means still more friction and more vote buying and more sophisticated cronyism but cronyism still.

    These things are never done other than catharsis, if it does not happen, all it will be is MORE WASTED YEARS until UMNO/BN new cover of their problems again fails to be hidden and anger the rakyat again…

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Saturday, 4 May 2013 - 10:45 am

    YES, YES, YES – dis is MENTAL REVOLUTION n birth of rakyat n voters’ belief dat “WE R d BOSSES, we CHOOSE our politicians as OUR SERVANTS, NOT as our political MASTERS

    所有选民都有自由投票的权利, 敢敢投票投票给 DAP/PAS/PKR!

    Show UmnoB/BN dat they r RUBBISH n they hv ruined dis nation by incessantly harping on racial divide, racial violence, religious violence during every GE to frighten voter in order 2 hang on 2 power 2 ENRICH themselves through corrupt practices

    ENUF! Ini kali lah, HABU UBAH! ABCD!

    UmnoB/BN hv no idea – n in d last 5 years, they hv been pushed by PR 2 do things dat they normally would not do, APING what PR initiated

    Dumbo AhCheatKor wasted so much of our $$$$ on foreigners 2 come out with what he thought was a winnable slogan: “1 Malaysia“, always pointing his corrupt n bloood-tainted finger 2 d sky (n all UmnoB/BN idiots also ape him)

    Really, if he truly believes in “1 Malaysia“, he should just dissolve UmnoB/BN n join DAP which has since day 1 declared n practised “MALAYSIAN Malaysia” which is 1 Malaysia

    AhCheatKor shameless n idiot – no wonder dis nation is in a mess
    TIME 2 CHANGE – 505, TOMORROW, c’mon rakyat n voters, let’s us DECIDE OUR DESTINY
    505, VOTE 2 CHANGE; 506, NEW PR GOMEN

    Not easily done, cos UmnoB/BN r certain 2 CHEAT big 2molo with d help of EC
    We NEED a HUGE huge MARGIN of victory 4 PR candidates 2 NEGATE all d dirty tricks used by UmnoB/BN, EC
    So, get every1 U know 2 JUST VOTE 4 PR, JUST DO IT!
    Every vote COUNTS

    Dis will do UmnoB/BN a lot of good – 4 their members 2 reflect n 2 realise dat they r misled by racist, corrupt, self-enriching “leaders” n 2 kick out them out
    As a group of scholars said: “给国阵一个在野机会”

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