2018 showed all of us that change is possible. Indeed, on 9 May 2018, when we voted in a new government for the first time at the federal level, we paved the way for a Malaysia Baru.
Seven months on, we have seen that change, even with a new government at the helm, is not simple and invariably will take time.
There are many challenges facing us including the legacy of a corrupt, kleptocratic government that for years had robbed the country of its wealth; the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots; a society fractured along an artificial Muslim and non-Muslim divide, fuelled by years of ongoing politicisation of ethnicity and religion; and the existing economic and financial system, within which the country operates, that more often than not places profits before people.
These are major challenges requiring the new Pakatan Harapan government to work as a united coalition – even as it tries to work out how to function as one; even as it sorts out problematic individual party issues; even as it tries to adhere to principles of good governance.
It is a big task.
And so, after 9 May, civil society did not take a back seat but, together with other concerned groups and individuals, continued to play the crucial role of guiding the new government and holding it accountable to the promises made for a Malaysia Baru.
There have been moments of support and encouragement, and there have been moments of criticism and rebuke. And it is clear that this must continue.
As we begin 2019, we must remember that making any change an effective and meaningful one requires all of us to work towards that change.
So let us enter 2019 with the long-term goal of a Malaysia Baru in mind –
a Malaysia which embraces all of us, irrespective of our multiple identities.
a Malaysia which places people before profits.
a Malaysia which leaves no one behind.
Aliran wishes all our readers a Happy New Year!
Aliran executive committee
31 December 2018