March 9, 2008
I haven’t been able to blog at ALL over the past couple of weeks, which is quite a waste given the marvellously interesting campaigning period and results today!!!
There is a new beginning for Malaysia. Tomorrow morning we shall arise and face a different Malaysia. For too many months have people hit their heads against brick walls.
Quick results are that the Opposition has gained governance of FIVE STATES, FORMING STATE GOVERNMENTS in Kelantan (PAS), Penang (DAP-PKR-PAS), Kedah (PAS), Perak (DAP-PKR) and Selangor (DAP-PKR). Next, Opposition has successfully denied the Barisan National coalition two thirds majority at Parliament level! We shall no longer be calling them “opposition” but “governments”, because simply, that’s who they shall be, come tomorrow morning.
Here are some of my comments that I’ve been giving to journalists over the last couple of hours on the recent victory.
What led to this “political tsunami” as Kit Siang has put it? The tsunami has hit mainly amongst the urban mixed seats, and it has been due to a number of reasons. First, the growing disquiet over recent years over the inability of the Pak Lah administration to address corruption, the very promise for which he was sworn into power four years ago. Second, the disillusionment with ethnic-based affirmative action amongst these seats, the solution for which lay within factor number three i.e. the Anwar factor, attempting to cater to members of all ethnic groups through one of the more comprehensive economic policy proposals since the inception of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
Where traditionally, rapid urbanisation led to the enmasse of Malays into urban centres, thereby creating more mixed seats acting in favour of the Barisan Nasional, this has changed today. Some of the urban Malays were willing to do one of the following: choose PKR, choose DAP (due to the alliance between DAP and PKR), or choose not to attend/spoil their votes, in order to punish the incumbent BN. This marks a shift in urban Malays’ sentiments towards the BN, and augurs well for the country since these have voted according to principle and not necessarily ethnicity alone. A possibility is even the Malays’ disillusionment with regards to the NEP, and if trends read correctly, this may indicate the gradual removal of NEP-ridden policies as frequently discussed.
What are some immediate implications? MIC having contested 9 Parliamentary seats and won only three, is considered literally shattered to bits – he being the one sole representative of MIC. Gerakan is in an equal position, having lost all of its contested State and Parliamentary seats in Penang, conceding defeat to DAP. The remaining leg on the increasingly shaky stool of BN is MCA, also weakened significantly. The raison d’etre – or reason for existence – of the BN coalition, which is power sharing amongst all ethnic groups, has also been made a mockery of. The BN will see UMNO as the sole “big brother” within the coalition, where component parties need to renegotiate their roles and responsibilities sufficient for an effective Government. Peoples’ representation of Chinese and Indians will predominantly lie within its Opposition leaders.
The people are fed up with the Government, an understatement – they have established a protest vote in the Elections, punishing Government for their lacklustre performance in managing the nation’s wealth, integrity and interests of the people. For opposition to maintain its power over next years, it has to live up to its electoral promises, making good its commitment to implementing particular concrete measures such as putting local council elections into place.
I have lots more thoughts, but basically to say – I have NOT slept a wink the whole night, as we monitored the results slowly and numbers started to trickle in. Each update was a slam surprise, and many are still reeling from the shock. State government in Selangor??? That requires an entire paradigm shift!!!
Tomorrow morning, we awaken to a brand new day. The people have voted. The people have chosen. Makkal Sakti!
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