What an election it was. A majority of Malaysians clearly wanted change. We must not just look at the formal outcome of the election but view it as a continuing process of democratisation, says Johan Saravanamuttu in our cover story.
Certainly, the Malaysian people are already the winners – even if electoral victory for their preferred political party is usurped through a flawed electoral system, says M M Pereira. In fact, the rakyat can take comfort that the process of change is now firmly in place, asserts Henry Loh. There was no betrayal by Chinese Malaysians either as no one promised the BN their votes ahead of the polls, says P Ramakrishnan.
The electoral results show that a bold trend among young Malay voters – there is a break from the neo-feudal mindset of ‘hutang budi’ that once gripped the Malay community, says Azmil Tayeb. Jeyakumar Devaraj adds that if we want to bring about change, we also have to be sensitive to the anxieties of the Malay community regarding what ‘change’ would entail.
In another article, Jeyakumar lists his observations of the election campaign in Sungai Siput while Prema Devaraj explains some of the checks and forms used to reduce electoral fraud on polling day.
Putting the spotlight on Sibu, Ngu Ik Tien finds that the politics of patronage and campaign propaganda have lost their hold on many urban voters.
The big question now is can the BN evolve to retain 47 per cent of the popular vote in the next round. But if it fails to come up with a clear and clean aspiration, then the BN could be on its last legs, says Haridas.