Not quite Malaysia Baru, but never again Malaysia Lama

By Julia Yeow | TMI

WITH the exception of several die-hard Pakatan Harapan loyalists, the general euphoria of the May 9 general election appears to have finally died down.

In the place of adulation for the men and women who successfully convinced the majority of Malaysians that they would make better, wiser and more responsible leaders comes the disappointment of broken promises.

The new PH government has asked for patience to put in place the reforms and improvements it had championed and promised, and in view of the fact that our nation has never had a change in government, much less from one that was practically at the peak of unbridled corruption, I think it’s indeed a fair request.

But broken promises, and a rather lacklustre performance by almost all of the new cabinet members, cannot be excused by inexperience forever.

Our new government leaders must now work harder to convince an understandably impatient electorate that the future promises they make will be better thought through.

On a recent trip to Singapore, I had a chance to speak to some political analysts and Malaysians residing there, to get their take on our monumental change in government.

There was the expected dressing-down for the dramatic finger-pointing, which pretty much defined PH’s first 100 days, and for the seeming complacency with which some ministers viewed their pledges to reform.

“Nothing, really, has changed,” said a Malaysian who had gone through great lengths to return to vote on the midweek polling day on May 9.

“We’ve just swapped one corrupt, arrogant government for one that is not yet corrupt and arrogant.”

It’s easy to understand the sinking feeling hitting many Malaysians, even if it might be more emotional than factual.

But as disappointed as we may be at some of the blunders and politicking exhibited by some within the ruling coalition, proclaiming that nothing has changed after May 9 is a grave injustice to the efforts of every Malaysian who voted Barisan Nasional out of power.

The 14th general election was Malaysia’s reset button, even if the changes and improvements will likely always remain a muted version of our dreams and ideals.

But more than political change, May 9 is the embodiment of the spirit, resilience and unity of every right-thinking Malaysian desperate to set our nation back on the path to greatness.

The elections empowered Malaysians to a degree never before experienced, and the realisation that we truly have the power and that our vote counts is the true miracle of GE14.

May 9 goes far beyond a government change, and to reduce it simply to that makes a mockery of the sacrifices of Malaysians and the lengths we went to, to have our voices heard.

We may not look much like the “new Malaysia” we envisioned, or were promised before May 9. And we may never be.

But the biggest change that took place on May 9 is that wherever Malaysia heads to from this point on, we – the once powerless electorate – have the power to decide.

So, by all means, we must keep exerting pressure on our leaders. We must not allow them to rule with the impunity that fallen BN leaders had enjoyed for too long.

We must continue to flex the muscles we had only discovered in GE14, and remind PH that the victory was not theirs – it was ours.

Because while we are not quite Malaysia Baru, we now have the power to say, with certainty, we will never go back to being Malaysia Lama. – October 2, 2018.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 2 October 2018 - 7:58 pm

    Malaysia Lama? When will people understand, the alternative to PH IS NOT UMNO/BN, its PAS-led opposition. There is NO Malaysia Lama, there is an even worst version than Malaysia lama – a kleptocratic theocracy

  2. #2 by winstony on Tuesday, 2 October 2018 - 10:18 pm

    Excerpt from the article:
    But the biggest change that took place on May 9 is that wherever Malaysia heads to from this point on, we – the once powerless electorate – have the power to decide.
    End of quote

    Seems that we only have the power to change the government, but other than that?
    We are like outsiders looking in!!

  3. #3 by good coolie on Wednesday, 3 October 2018 - 2:05 pm

    “Hello,” gomen, you have a few years, and you know that! The most important thing is that you taught that the no-good corrupt party (UMNO Lama, Baru and Terbaru) that cash is not king and that any Malaysian gomen can be toppled without fear of the army and police dipping their fingers into the icing. Congratulations again to all Malaysians, especially our disciplined armed forces (not like Pakistan’s or Myamar’s, e.g.)!

    Strengthen the institutions of government, and we will be eternally grateful to you. Politicians, do please come to politics poor, and die poor, if need be. Don’t be like politicians of a certain ugly political party who only come to politics to become rich.

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