The rakyat can take comfort that the process of change is now firmly in place and politics in Malaysia will never be the same again, says Henry Loh.
After an agonising wait while the GE results trickled in, it was only after 3.00 am that the official final tally was known. Of the total of 222 Parliamentary seats, Barisan Nasional won 133 seats and Pakatan Rakyat 89 seats.
Whilst the much sought after change of government failed to materialise to the disappointment of many – there are positives that we can draw from GE 13. A record voter turnout of 80 per cent is a major indication that democracy is thriving in our country. No other GE has generated so much interest and concerned and the young Facebook generation of voters filled cyberspace with their thoughts and feelings of the country’s political future, and this is a most encouraging sign.
Voters also clearly rejected extremist politicans such as Perkasa’s, Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Nordin by not voting them in. The policies of Perkasa promotes religious extremism and racial polarisation and the rakyat have clearly rejected them.
In Selangor and Penang the electorate displayed their political maturity and mettle by not being enticed and blinded by the “goodies” such as free dinners and cash thrown to them. They returned the Pakatan government to power with an even larger number of seats.
The final election results may well have been very different if there had not been any irregularities. We the rakyat can however take comfort that the process of change is now firmly in placed and politics in Malaysia will never be the same again. Civil society movements like Bersih have played a key role in awakening the political consciousness of all Malaysians.
The struggle for free and fair elections continues to gain momentum and support amongst the rakyat, and any political party, whether ruling or in the opposition, that fails to recognise this – does so at its own peril.