Hornbill Unleashed

April 24, 2011

Time of reckoning: The next general election

Sim Kwang Yang

Following the conclusion of the April 16 state election inSarawak, the country must now be gearing up for the next general election, which could be as early as June or July this year.

This national election will be the most significant electoral contest in the history of Malaysia.

My personal and fervent hope is to see the emergence of an alternative government in the country.

Without the possibility of a change in government, there can be no true democracy in any modern polity. 

The state election in Sarawak was an eye-opener for all Malaysians, producing a truly historic result. The opposition parties swept nearly all urban seats, while the PKR picked up valuable gains by winning three seats.

An analysis of the poll result has shown us that the rural voters of Sarawak are no longer to be treated with condescension as a ‘fixed deposit’ for the BN. The seeds of political awareness have now been sown throughout Sarawak.

The political tsunami of 2008 has transformed all political pre-suppositions in Malaysia. The most significant event after that election was the formation of alternative governments in the states of Selangor, Penang, Kedah and, initially at least, Perak as well.

Building on foundation already laid

The greatest achievement of Malaysians in the last general election was to lay the foundation for a two-party system at both the state and federal levels.

The country watches in fascination, as the opposition coalition consisting of PKR, DAP and PAS, begins to grasp the basics of coalition politics. For the opposition coalition to grow, they must learn the art of give and take, and stop squabbling over seats.

They must always learn to put the national interest of multiracial politics over their petty factional and partisan interests. They must stop sparring in public, and work out a sustainable mechanism for solving internal disagreements, away from the glare of public debate.

But the residual toxins of half a century of the politics of race cannot be neutralised overnight. There will be enough Malaysians who cling on to the old poison of racial politics.

Racial and religious issues will continue to haunt our nation. Our country badly needs a new national dialogue, cutting across ethnic, religious and other such sectarian boundaries, in a truly multiracial nation-building programme.

Recent political developments have proven that such a progressive national dialogue is still a distant hope. The hegemony of the BN government has not yet been crippled.

Stench of power abuse

Kuching pakatan grand finale ceramahEvery day, we read in the press of BN’s abuses of power, on a repulsive and unprecedented scale.

In past years, the incidents that come to mind are Teoh Beng Hock’s death, the Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case, Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder and the Port Klang financial scandal. The list goes on, virtually indefinitely.

Today, Malaysia ranks as one of the most corrupt countries on the Worldwide Corruption Perceptions ranking. We are an economy rich in human and natural resources, but the nation’s wealth has been siphoned away by corrupt politicians and public officials, as well as well-connected private entrepreneurs. We are wallowing in our national culture of ‘Kopi O Money’.

The corrupt regimes of repressive countries in the Middle East are now facing their moment of truth, in their regional upheavals. The Arab world simply wants to enjoy peace, clean politics and social justice, like the rest of mankind.

Ordinary people, students and housewives included, put themselves in harm’s way to participate in peaceful demonstrations in order to achieve a revolution in their own societies.

We can share their desire for real national transformation because we too, in Malaysia, hunger for clean politics as much as they do.

In need of a peaceful revolution

In the next general election, we Malaysians must complete our historic narrative, played out in our national political theatre.

Malaysian politicians and their parties must discard their old habits of waiting until the last minutes of the campaign to win the people’s support.

They must begin a new national programme of preparing the ground, behaving as if polling will be conducted tomorrow.

All lethargic habits must be discarded in favour of proactive political programmes, at all levels, across the country. All political parties must aspire to national programmes of reform: before they aspire to change society, they must change themselves first.

Malaysia needs and deserves no less than a peaceful revolution for change. Let us pray hard together for this to happen.

SIM KWANG YANG was member of parliament for Bandar Kuching, Sarawak from 1982 to 1995. He can be reached at sky8hornbill@gmail.com. All comments are welcomed.



    Comment by VINCENT AK PAUL — April 26, 2011 @ 3:25 PM | Reply

  2. One of my first tasks for Pakatan Rakyat’s ADUNs is to speak up on the plight of more than 80,000 Dayaks yet to be issued with birth certificates and Mycards. Many children were forced to give up schooling because they could not sit for UPSR examination when they could not produce their birth certificate. This is a very serious matter which NRD has been dragging its feet for years. More importantly, many adults could not find proper job and also could not exercise their constitutional right to vote.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 24, 2011 @ 5:10 PM | Reply

  3. Comment by Mr Postman — April 24, 2011 @ 4:05 PM | Reply

  4. Najib’s “meek stance” on Perkasa was unacceptable as the “1Melayu, 1Bumi” movement was clearly an affront to his 1 Malaysia policy, which calls for inclusiveness among all races. It is tantamount to an open slap in the face of the prime minister’s signature concept.

    If any Chinese daily had suggested a “1Chinese” campaign, it would have been shut down immediately and its editor slapped with a sedition charge.

    If the Cabinet is silent on Utusan Malaysia’s ‘1Melayu, 1Bumi’, it could only mean that Najib’s 1 Malaysia policy is sheer hypocrisy and chicanery costing Malaysian taxpayers RM70 million for APCO to package it as the greatest gift by Najib to Malaysians.

    Comment by Lambert — April 24, 2011 @ 12:21 PM | Reply

  5. I wont be surprise that in the next 6 months, many young, educated and qualified Malays, Ibans, Orang Ulu and Bidayuhs who value true democracy, a transparent and accountable government ,in addition to more Chinese professionals, will be joining the DAP.

    DAP should start setting up branches or service centres in Dayaks majority areas or in Malays areas with substantial non Malay voters.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 24, 2011 @ 12:01 PM | Reply

    • You are right. That’s why BN is so worried that they ahve started to attack DAP as a racist party while Perkasa is making all the true racist remarks.

      We should not believe in BN’s propaganda.
      DAP has proven to be an effective government in Penang. All Penangites can see the ‘transformation’ in the state before Najib started using the phrase.

      Comment by Gadis Bidayuh — April 24, 2011 @ 12:20 PM | Reply

    • Yes, Yes, Yes. Setting up branches, recruiting new members, continue holding ceramah (not only in major cities and towns), plan better logistical needs and campaigning machineries, and ballot boxes checking technics to counter BN dirty tricks; all are important from now on and not during the election. See part of the reasons PKR not doing well enough and some just missed by little margins, you know early planning is vitally important.

      Ceramah after ceramah, this is what BN most deadly worried and scared. Do it, no waiting please!!

      Comment by Kidurong Man — April 24, 2011 @ 4:21 PM | Reply

  6. Very astute observation. And factual too. We are now at a crossroad where we have to make the change of else, not only the current generation but future generations will have to bear the brunt of carrying a burden not of their own making because we are too complacent to do anything when we are in a position to exercise our power. The time is here now for us to take back out what is ours, not to a bunch of thieving politicians. Doing less is no longer an option.

    Comment by TuaiRumah — April 24, 2011 @ 11:50 AM | Reply

  7. To: Mr.Sim Kwang Yang
    I wish to express my total support to your statement !!
    If we can bear 48 yrs hardship under BN with their politic of ‘divided & rule,
    why cant we compromise under the name of “change” to give a chance for a new govt for just only 05yrs huh?
    Every iban leaders in BN are all softy leaders who dont use their brain to think for the iban community!!
    All of them are only thinking of themslves in order to become richer and richer leaving behind the village folks
    getting poorer and poorer.Where is the fairness? People like Jabu should re-energerise his ‘thoughts’going thru’
    life in university life first before representing the iban/dayak community !!
    otherwise please retire for good,enough is enough.Dont be greedy.Nganu allah Tala

    Comment by Swakian belelang — April 24, 2011 @ 11:46 AM | Reply

  8. 火箭掀起改變熱潮,砂州選舉一連幾夜萬人空巷,華裔選民大刮反風,民主行動黨在大多數華人選區告捷,人聯黨幾乎「去荷蘭」。

    Comment by Jimmy — April 24, 2011 @ 11:35 AM | Reply

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