Reflections on GE13 — SV Song

12 May

MAY 12 — I’m not angry because you retained a simple majority to form the government. Given that you’ve been in power for the past 56 years, I didn’t expect your opponents to easily overcome all the advantages you’ve built into the system like the gerrymandering, an election commission which answers to the PM’s office, and your control of mainstream media. I’m not even all that angry that you managed to form the government while losing the popular vote. This situation is not unique to our country, and no election process is foolproof.

I’m angry at how far you went in your bid to ‘win at all costs’. Unidentified voters arriving by the busloads, ballot boxes falling out of helicopters, chartered flights ferrying phantoms to different parts of the country, mysterious blackouts and disrupted telephone lines, ballot boxes appearing at opportune moments, cash handouts near voting centres – all at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers.

I’m angry that civilians had to resort to forming human barricades to counteract your dirty tactics, risking their own safety in the process – while the police either stood by and did nothing, or worse, aided you in your schemes. You, who claim to put the people first, instead, risked the lives of ordinary Malaysians just so you could continue to stay in power.

I’m angry at the way your practices breed fear and discrimination on so many levels. Human nature has its dark side – this is true. But there is also choice, and circumstance. You could have built bridges to help heal long-standing rifts. You could have created circumstances which allowed grievances to be aired and intellectual debate to thrive. Instead, you chose censorship and divisiveness. Your rule is characterised by escalating resentment and spreading distrust. Your rule propagates circumstances which bring out the ugly side of human nature.

Time and again, Malaysians have proven themselves to be a caring and compassionate lot. Whether it be a fellow citizen or an international community, the Malaysian people have always risen to the occasion, giving generously to those in need irrespective of colour or creed. But the last few weeks have seen an alarming rise of incidences involving ‘the ugly Malaysian’ with unprecedented anger, violence and racist slurs against foreigners in this country. The backlash against Bangladeshis in particular is the direct result of your ‘IC Project’ where your henchmen literally gave these foreign nationals Malaysian identity cards in exchange for their votes.

You may blame the foreigners for their lack of ethics, but in no way does that absolve you of any responsibility. More often than not, these immigrants face harsh working and living conditions on a daily basis. They have the excuse of being victims of poverty or ignorance. You do not. Like the drug trafficker who exploits the addict’s weakness, you exploit the circumstances of these immigrants for your own benefit. And like the drug trafficker also, you should bear the heavier punishment for your crime.

I’m angry at how you can blame one ethnic group for your losses and then talk about ‘national reconciliation’ in the same breath. As long as you continue to play the race card, I have no reason to believe any promises you make, and every reason to believe that your regime will continue to be self-serving.

Yet, I have reason to rejoice.

I rejoice because I believe this is only the beginning of the end. I’m not angry that you consider yourselves the winner of this election. Humility has never been one of your strong points after all. You may have won the battle, but you have already lost part of the war. Over half of the Malaysian people have rejected your rule of corruption, oppression and fear-mongering. In most of the states where you won, you only managed a simple majority. In contrast, your opponents received a comfortable two-thirds majority in all of their 3 states.

I rejoice that your opponents gained some inroads into your strongholds. You must be worried that even your ‘fixed deposit’ states are starting to show signs of dissatisfaction at your rule. I’m amused that you hold on to 3 states with only a two to three-seat majority. Don’t be surprised if your opponents beat you at your own party-hopping game. After what happened post-GE12, they have had 4 years to learn from the best.

If there is one message that I have learned from this election, it is about the power of hope and collective action.

The people of Malaysia have reason to rejoice.

We have reason to rejoice because GE13 recorded the highest voter turnout in our country’s history. Prior to GE12, general elections were mostly met with apathy. Those who supported the government of the day were secure in the knowledge that the ruling coalition would never fall; thus one less vote for them would not matter. Those who were unhappy with the ruling coalition were cynical about the possibility of change; thus one less vote for the opposition would not be a great loss. Where GE12 sparked the rise of a viable alternative and planted the seed of hope, GE13 brought a wave of active participation towards translating this hope into a reality.

We have reason to rejoice because we live in a country which is not ravaged by disease, poverty or natural disasters. That we are not ravaged by civil wars is a credit to all Malaysians who value peace over retribution. Our country is bountiful, and our people are full of potential. We deserve far better than what a corrupt, self-serving regime can give us.

We have reason to rejoice because a world of knowledge lies within our reach. We have access to alternative sources of information. We can use this knowledge to stand apart from each other, or we can use it to bring us closer together. We can choose to incite hate and fear, or choose to spread messages of love, hope and peace.

The choice is yours. The choice is ours.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: