A new dawn in Malaysian politics

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Aliran salutes the brave and caring Malaysians who courageously
voted for change. This victory by the Opposition is all the more
remarkable when compared with the shameless way the Barisan Nasional
fought this election. The entire weight of the so-called BN caretaker government was
deployed against the Opposition, denying them space and opportunity
in all the government-controlled media: radio, television and
newspapers. The one-sided onslaught on the Opposition was the worst
we have seen thus far.

Aliran salutes the brave and caring Malaysians who courageously
voted for change. This victory by the Opposition is all the more
remarkable when compared with the shameless way the Barisan Nasional
fought this election.The entire weight of the so-called BN caretaker government was
deployed against the Opposition, denying them space and opportunity
in all the government-controlled media: radio, television and
newspapers. The one-sided onslaught on the Opposition was the worst
we have seen thus far.

In spite of money, media and machinery brought to bear on the
Opposition, ordinary Malaysians have delivered a verdict that
condemns the BN for all the abuses and arrogance of the past; for all
the corruption and misuse of government funds; for all the wastage
without being accountable; for the rights and freedoms that have been
denied to the common people; for every thing that was deemed to be
unfair and unjust.

The thinking voters debunked the theory that “there was no other
viable coalition in the country”. They rejected the notion that
there was only one choice i.e. the BN. They realised that there was
another choice i.e. the Opposition. They could not be fooled by all
the political theories and media hype to project the BN as their only
saviour.

The BN’s defeat was inevitable. The BN’s arrogance failed to
acknowledge the genuine grievances or address the needs of the many
marginalised communities. Even middle class Malaysians turned their
backs on the BN for practising double standards and discriminatory
policies that only benefited their cronies and party functionaries.

Fifty years of patience – waiting for reforms and just policies –
had finally worn thin. At long last, the voters decided that benefits
would not come their way under the BN. So they collectively decided
to vote for change.

As a result, from Kedah to all the way to Selangor, their
indignation and frustration was felt. They delivered these states
into the hands of the Opposition.

It is Aliran’s hope that the Opposition will not squander away
this opportunity to bring about the promised change that will make a
tangible difference to all those who gave this massive support to the
Opposition.

We hope that there will not be any struggle for position and
power. We hope that they will behave as servants of the people –
not their masters – always placing the citizens’ interest above
everything else.

Aliran would like to propose that within a month of taking office,
these Opposition-controlled states would come out with a report that
will in a very transparent manner reveal the financial position of
these states. The people would like to know whether these states are
financially insolvent or bankrupted by the previous BN governments.
We would like to know how much of the state funds have been parked in
Off Budget Agencies. We want to know whether there are enough funds
for the newly elected governments to implement policies beneficial to
the people.

We urge these governments to appoint independent and competent
auditors to go through the account books thoroughly with a fine
tooth-comb and release a report to the public that will give a clear
financial picture of these states. Besides, this helps to make good
the promise made by the Opposition to be transparent and accountable
to the rakyat.

In conclusion, Aliran would like to congratulate the Opposition on
a well-deserved victory that promises the birth of a new dawn in
Malaysian politics.

P Ramakrishnan

President

9 March 2008

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P Ramakrishan, the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on our executive committee, has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.
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