Keep calm, vote for change
It is less than 48 hours before Malaysians cast their vote in the most crucial election in history. So far, the sentiments on the ground clearly favour Pakatan Rakyat, especially in the urban and semi-rural areas. If there is any sense of fear, it can only be felt by Barisan Nasional leaders, most of whom are nowhere to be seen. Unlike their rivals, they have held few public rallies, and their ceramah sessions usually could not have taken place without free food and goodies.
In southern Johor, Pakatan’s rallies have drawn tens of thousands, breaking the records set by Penang. Also amazing have been the amounts of money collected. Even at a small neighbourhood ceramah at Damansara Perdana in Klang Valley, Pakatan managed to raise RM25,000.
In Bentong, Pahang, the night before, it was close to RM10,000. The biggest donations came from Penang and Johor, where the amounts are anywhere between RM200,000 and RM300,000!
This is truly a phenomenon that I have never seen before. How much I wish my late parents – who had voted PAS all their lives – could live long enough to witness also the sweeping winds of change.
I am pretty certain many Malaysians who have received 1Malaysia allowances are now contributing the money to the opposition pact, but it also reflects a real and deep yearning for change that can no longer be suppressed by BN.
As the amounts grow, Mahathir Mohamad’s days are numbered and we may soon see him in the dock over corruption and abuse of power. We are one step closer to the Mubarak moment and Mahathir’s family had better be prepared for the worst. It would be among the best moments for Malaysians, though.
Yes, this strong fear of losing is engulfing the entire BN. Rosmah Mansor, the self-styled ‘First Lady’, is keeping a low profile knowing that her appearance would do more harm than good. Or perhaps she now spends more time packing her shoes, handbags and, of course, great variety of cincin.
Even Mahathir’s campaigns on behalf of his chosen candidates are lacklustre at best. In a meeting with Umno faithfuls in Putrajaya, he only managed to pull in 1,000, as opposed to the 10,000 who had thronged the administrative centre’s major mosque to greet Nik Aziz Nik Mat, PAS’s spiritual leader, two days before.
Yes, I maintain my prediction earlier that, save for some last-minute blunder, Pakatan will win this election. What is most critical now is for each and every Malaysian voter who desires change to come out and vote so that the eventual numbers are big enough to offset the size of the phantoms that BN has and continues to plant.
New breed of politicians
This election not only represents a golden opportunity for Malaysians to bury the politics of fear and racism, but also to welcome a new breed of politicians who are far more intelligent and capable than those presented by BN: Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Fuziah Salleh, Sivarasa Rasiah, Liew Chin Tong, Rafizi Ramli, N Surendran, Wong Chen, Elizabeth Wong, Yeo Bee Yin, Tony Puah, Salahuddin Ayub, Dzulkefly Ahamd, Husam Musa, Khalid Samad, Wong Tack, and many more.
Malaysians must make sure these talented politicians are elected, for they are in a strong position to change our political culture forever.
But Mahathir, Najib Abdul Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin will do their utmost to prevent this from happening. Mahathir, epecially, has again exposed his intellectual bankruptcy by harping on sex, sex and sex. He has been doing this for nearly 15 years now, corrupting the minds of the Malays. It shows only how fearful and desperate he has become over Umno’s ultimate downfall.
Marina Mahathir has most probably sensed that too, as she tweeted a reminder a few days ago that democracy needed “not too strong a government and not too week an opposition”.
Is she also getting vibes that BN’s defeat would be massive? Anyway, I don’t recall if she did say something to that effect while her father ruled and terrorised the country for 22 years with an iron fist.
It is vitally important to end through this election Mahathir’s more than six decades of political career, most of which has been catastrophic for Malaysia’s ethnic relations. But Pakatan’s win would also open up chances for those who have suffered much for Malaysia’s democratic future to be rewarded.
One of them is Lim Kit Siang (left in photo), who has been fighting fearlessly for a Malaysia that is more just and equitable, only to be put in detention under the notorious Internal Security Act.
What is more, Lim has been made to endure for more than four decades a racist smear campaign by Umno, while being denied an opportunity to speak for himself either on TV or in the BN-controlled press.
The wolf-pack attack by Utusan Malaysia, RTM and TV3 is so successful that Lim is facing a tough time talking to the relatively more conservative Malays in Johor. I don’t blame them, for they are simply the victims of Umno’s racist propaganda.
However, should Umno fall, Malaysians must make sure the new government set the media free so that everyone would be given a chance to reach out to the masses through the public media regardless of his or her political affiliation. Maybe then more Malays in Johor would get to hear Lim out for the first time.
Fair opportunity to debate
Not only for Lim, but also for Anwar Ibrahim who has been stigmatised and even ostracised for so long, as well as PAS leaders. When all parties are given a fair opportunity to debate with each other and to engage the public, all the issues that are now widely perceived as divisive and harmful can be handled in a mature and responsible manner.
It would eventually debunk the long-popularised myth that Malaysians are not capable of tackling political, religious or ideological differences.
Hence, I don’t see any drawback in Pakatan’s victory in terms of opening up the public space, but it would be nightmarish for BN parties because they are simply too mediocre and even stupid to do just that.
Still, more moronic would be Malaysians who return them to power.
Hence, ignore all the threats and enjoy the festive sentiments of this election. On 5 May, we shall all keep calm and vote for change.
Only then will we be able to tell the world loud and clear: Malaysia memang boleh!
JOSH HONG studied politics at London Metropolitan University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. A keen watcher of domestic and international politics, he longs for a day when Malaysians will learn and master the art of self-mockery, and enjoy life to the full in spite of politicians.
Short URL: http://www.freemalaysiakini.com/?p=79194