GE13 outcome: All is not lost; we soldier on

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The choices you make today will determine a future. The future might not be tomorrow, or the next ten years. But don’t give up on Malaysia, says Shazwan Mustafa Kamal.

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Hey peeps, tonight wasn’t all bad. Although the results weren’t what many people expected, a lot of other things took place.

Yes, BN won but by a simple, majority. Yes, PR lost Kedah but that should serve as a reminder to certain PR parties not to be complacent. PR increased its presence in many other state seats. BN virtually has no two-thirds majority in any state seat in the Peninsular. That IS something.

Let’s not forget the waves and droves of people who came out to exercise their right to vote. GE come and gone, the awareness is there. Long gone are the days where people just talked about politics with apathy (although now suddenly everyone is a pseudo-expert on national politics).

Change, demands for better governance. Its never an easy road. It’s an on-going process. We lick our battle scars, wounds. Soldier on.

This GE has taught BOTH BN and PR that they can never take our votes for granted. Three ministers have been axed from Parliament. The PM’s face said it all during the victory speech. There was no chest-thumping, rather a meek-looking, more cautious PM. He’s also got some soul-searching to do, as he looks around and notices his army of generals growing smaller and smaller.

But having said that, I would like people to ponder on a few things:

1. I am happy that people were vigilant and acted against any signs of dubious voting. But it is also disheartening seeing the treatment of some foreigners and even Malaysians just because they fit the profile of “people to look out for”. One of Malaysia’s main concerns has been racism and how its affected ethnic relations for decades. So let’s not repeat this vicious cycle. We learn from our mistakes.

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2. While I am saddened that truly deserving Umno progressives like Saifuddin Abdullah and Dzulkefly Ahmad did not win this time around, I am EXTREMELY happy that the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin, Puad Zarkashi and Ali Rustam will not sit in the august house of the Dewan Rakyat. The last thing we need are those who promote hate, vitriol, oppression and misunderstanding towards religious, ethnic and sexual minorities.

3. We can be happy that there is some light at the end of the never-ending tunnel – we now have people like Rafizi Ramli, Tony Pua, Ong Kian Ming, Nurul Izzah Anwar and to an extent Khairy Jamaluddin in Parliament. Young leaders who understand the needs and demands of a growing generation and can offer viable alternative discourses to some prehistoric politicians who unfortunately have been re-elected.

4. This election has brought out a host of questions regarding the current Election Commission’s ability to ensure a clean and fair electoral process. I think the upper echelons of the EC need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves whether they did conduct themselves as professionally as they claim to have done. And above all, ANSWER and ADDRESS all the allegations of voter fraud and irregularities with PROOF, not just DENIALS.

5. Both coalitions need to be cognisant of the make-up of the current Parliament: Umno virtually dominates BN while its component parties have all but been eviscerated. The DAP has delivered in almost all its seats contested. While PKR has done okay Pas has suffered a bit.

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Looking at the new line-up, will we see a Parliament which will strive to debate on policies and issues, or will both coalitions be divided along ethnic lines? Umno-BN will most certainly once again claim the moral high ground for the Malay community. How will they strike a balance? That’s for the PM to figure out.

6. Vote swings. While the non-Malay-Muslim votes went to PR, Malay votes were not so easy to ascertain. Have they gone to Umno? If so, why? These are questions which will dominate politics in Malaysia for the next few weeks, if not months.

7. I have friends who say that they have given up on Malaysia. And that the results of this election is the reason why they want to migrate to another country. And I have also some friends (though very few) who chose not to vote this time around. To them I say this, with love: Despite all the complaints about voter irregularities, despite the hurdles and uselessness you think this GE was: IT WASN’T. EVERY VOTE counted. YOUR VOTE could have counted.

If everyone decided to stay at home and not vote, what would have happened to those seats with very low winning margins? Democracy is not a perfect system of governance, especially Malaysia’s understanding of it. But it still can work in favour of Malaysians. People have died for the right to vote; so why should you throw yours away? Malaysia needs you, all of us, now more than ever.

UBAH isn’t just about fulfilling the dreams of a group of politicians. In a participatory democracy, we need to be ACTIVE, not PASSIVE players. Our aim should be towards a deliberative democracy, where every social actor has a RIGHT to take part in the national discourse, and not just allow the government of the day to set its terms and conditions for us.

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Remember today. For hope that all is not lost. That the choices you make today will determine a future. The future might not be tomorrow, or the next ten years. But don’t give up on Malaysia, because dammit she needs us now, more than ever. Okay, I am done with membebel. Good night people. Apologies for the extremely long post. I’m usually quick and to-the-point.

Shazwan Mustafa Kamal is doing his masters in political science, cultural studies and the media. He previously worked as an online journalist.

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cookie666
19 May 2013 2.52am

Oh, also, when PAS won Kedah in 2008, the BN govt cut off federal aid to the second-poorest state in Malaysia. So not only did we have nothing to live on, the PAS rulers also had to pay off massive debts incurred by BN previously, while having nothing to live on. Despite that, they made good progress that is visible to even the man on the street. PAS did a good job, but they lost because they were HONEST. Too honest to amass more wealth than … and his sons.

cookie666
19 May 2013 2.41am

Oh please. PR didn’t lose Kedah because they were complacent. They lost because they could not match BN. Najib (allegedly) gave all the Thais in Kedah bumiputra status (gratitude expected) and BN had (allegedly) been giving bribes since the second half of last year. There were convoys of red and white Putri Umno’s Skuad Sayang vans continuously going into rural areas to do god knows what. PR complacent? What do you expect them to do against (the) billions? Start drilling for oil? RM2,000 in hand to a peasant (Gunung Keriang) is worth more than 20 cents’ reduction in petrol prices. And Khairi? Good lord!! You better do a bit more studying before even attempting a Masters.

Petrina Tan
Petrina Tan
7 May 2013 7.51pm

Iam very sad at what has happened but happy that there are good balanced thinking Malaysians like you. You have expressed your views very aptly. Syabas !
However I strongly feel that you and the likes of you and Rafizi should go down to the rural areas to explain to the people about what is happening.

I thank God and pray that He will protect you and sustain you in your endevour to speak up for all Malaysians who believe in justice and fairness.
Thank you, Shazwan

Sad malaysian
Sad malaysian
6 May 2013 9.50pm

What I am sad about is the fact that now bn will continue to have a free hand to dip into the nation’s purse to take whatever amount they want, to take the nation’s land for their own selfish use, and then tax we poor rakyat till we bleed to death financially. And this will be for another 5 years! Meanwhile, while we assume perkasa will disappear for now, umno will outsource racial rhetoric to another so called ngo.
With all these, tell me, shouldn’t I be in mourning?

Robert
Robert
6 May 2013 9.18pm

There is no denying that PR had won. PR won more seats in the states and in Parliament and most of all they won the popular votes.

It is high time for Najib to compromise with the opposition for he has no moral authority to govern over the 50+ % of voters that voted for PR. If Najib is serious about national reconciliation then he can start by cleaning up the EC. Get true professionals to run the EC not some clown that are bend on taking sides in the election. Start implementing true reforms and transparency in government. Najib must know by now that all his talks on transformation meant nothing to the rakyat and he can see that from this election result.

YAK JIU
6 May 2013 7.35pm

MAY 5TH 2013………MALAYSIANS HAVE VOTED A NEW (LEADER)……JIB JIB THE BANGLA CHIEF !

John
John
6 May 2013 6.41pm

You know sometimes it is good to have hope but I’m not sure how many multiples of 5 years the common folks might have to be able to see the structural changes they yearn for given the duplicity in this and future elections … anyway, good luck for trying to keep it up!

Alan
Alan
6 May 2013 3.09pm

Hello Shazwan,

Timely article indeed. As the old adage goes, what doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger.

Perhaps you should put in a mention as well of how Pakatan Rakyat actually won the popular vote, and by quite a distance! Of course it is not something the EC will make any mention of. I have a tally on a spreadsheet which I will be happy to share.

Aliran
Aliran
6 May 2013 6.36pm
Reply to  Alan

Please do send your tally to Aliran at aliran.malaysia at yahoo.com

rama
rama
6 May 2013 1.05pm

Good article! This election was good in the sense it clearly shows the trend that we are moving towards a a true two-party system. What’s important is that there is check and balance. Once the old political dinosaurs die/retire in the next 10-20 years, then Malaysia can truly move beyond politics based on racial and religious polemics. The new generation of voters to come will be more mature and cosmopolitan in its political outlook. Forward Malaysia!

David tan
David tan
6 May 2013 12.34pm

Well written. Thank you Shazwan Mustafa for a balanced view. I shall move forward with a sense of hope that Malaysia’s best years are still to come.

Linda
Linda
6 May 2013 12.00pm

It’s a national day of mourning. Mourn we do but yes, we soldier on.

Grandma
Grandma
6 May 2013 11.11am

Well said. I too share your disappointment and if I’ve my way would have traded Liow and Chua for Saifuddin Abdullah and Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Allen Lopez
6 May 2013 9.19am

Very well put. Hope lives on for a better Malaysia.

bonfree
bonfree
6 May 2013 8.39am

Yes let’s look at the bright side, we did batter than the previous election.The battle is lost but the war against corruption and injustices continue