Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Five thoughts about Malaysia's GE14

TITLE: FIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT MALAYSIA's GE14
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: May 15th, 2018

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  (1 Tim 2:1-4)
On May 9th, 2018, history was made in Malaysia. If you have been following the news, like me, you would have known by now, as far as the nation of 31 million people are concerned, the new has come and the old has passed away. A new government will lead the country into the new era. It was an exciting moment for me and my family to see history been created. Malaysia indeed has been reborn. Here are five thoughts I have.

First, Malaysians from all races have clearly rejected racial politics. For the past two elections, non-Malays had been fleeing their component parties; the Chinese from the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Indians from Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). They saw the bigger need for unity and renewal. The leaders from the ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional (BN) thought status quo was the better option. They were wrong. Dead wrong. They failed to read the signs and sentiments of a new Malaysian generation: For a free and fair Malaysia. For various reasons, many Malays took a little longer to do the same to UMNO, a party that was supposed to champion their racial standing. They had conflicted emotions within them, largely due to the way their leaders had said and done to them. At GE13, MCA and MIC were decimated, leaving only UMNO to hold BN together, barely. At GE14, the Malay exodus from the Malay-dominated party helped to tilt the balance of power, in a show of unity with the rest of Malaysia. This is most significant. For this, all of Malaysia would say: THANK YOU! For standing up for what is right. For standing up for our future generation. For standing up against greed and corruption of the ruling coalition. For standing up for the ordinary man in the street regardless of ethnicity.

Second, corruption is colour-blind and party-blind. Nobody is immune from the evil temptations of money and power. The more money there is to grab, the bigger the temptation of greed. The more power and fame there are to have, the bigger the temptation of pride. It is not simply a problem with the previous coalition. It is a problem faced by all political environments, some more, some less. So beware Pakatan-Harapan (Alliance of Hope). The Rakyat will hold you accountable, just as they had done to the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government. The Rakyat has the power to vote you in. The Rakyat also has the power to vote you out.

I like what Nurul Izah Anwar, daughter of Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview question regarding nepotism. She affirmed the principles of Reformasi and said that it doesn’t matter who is in office. She is first accountable to the Malaysian people, to make sure that the ones in power would “toe the line” of the Reformation principles. Such a leader is worth supporting. All of Malaysia must play their part to watch over the new powers. One important avenue is a strong, free, and responsible media. The press need to be independent to report on any abuses of power. At the same time, they need to exercise responsibility to weed out fake news. We must all help one another to “toe the line” of Reformasi, including ourselves. With regard to family members in politics, it is good to remember the English idiom, “Blood is thicker than water.” No matter how principled we are, when it comes to decisions between family and nation, emotions would complicate things. If possible, I would prefer to see family members not serve together in the same administration.  So that they would be spared the painful choices when family relationships conflict with national agendas.

Third, the Malaysian cause cuts across age divide. With the appointment of Tun Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, we now have the oldest Prime Minister in the world! Not only did older citizens voted for him, a lot of young people too. It's heartwarming to see former political foes putting aside their differences in order to serve a common cause for the common good for the sake fo the common people. Many young people are delighted with the chance for change. At the same time, they need a trusted guiding hand to help navigate the complex world of politics, a changing economic environment, and an uncertain social climate. I see parents and children coming together to vote for the same party. I see the young supporting the old and the old encouraging the young. That is great news. 

Fourth, we need a new identity. As long as we keep associating ourselves according to our ethnic group, we will remain focused only on the needs of our own groups. There are many young people whose only country they ever knew is Malaysia. They may be of Chinese origin, but they will never be fully accepted as Chinese in China. In the same way, citizens may have Indian roots, but they would never be fully accepted by India. Even today, some influential members of the political party (UMNO) are thinking of changing the "Malay" in their name to "Malaysian." That would be a move in the right direction, because the Chinese and Indians have largely abandoned the MCA and MIC, parties which historically stood for their races respectively. A new identity is needed urgently to forge ahead a new country. We need this new identity because the world we live in is changing rapidly. A greater identity will open up greater opportunities for the next generation.

(Photo Credit: FreeMalaysiaToday)
Fifth, we are all Malaysians. Imagine the pride when foreigners envy the New Malaysia, that it has new hope and new freedom. The power of the Rakyat (people) shown on May 9th, 2018 is something that resonates far and wide beyond the shores of Malaysia. For all the worries or accusations about foreign interference in local politics and so on, if something is good and reflective of the fundamental desires of the human spirit for goodness and peace, why divide it between local and foreign? We are all humans. We are all desiring a better future. We are all concerned for the new generation. We are all hoping that our children, and our children’s children will live a better life, and they would create a better children for their respective generations and beyond. Perhaps, the Malaysian spirit would become synonymous with what is fair and free; what is passionate and compassionate; what is good for all. I want to remind all that those in the previous coalition, the Barisan Nasional (National Front) are also Malaysians. They are also passionate and patriotic about the country. We need them too in order to build a new Malaysia. We need them to keep watch and act as a check against any excesses of the new government. I urge all to reset, to restart, and to renew our hopes about the ordinary Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh!

Malaysia is bigger than any one race, party, or coalition. The good news is this. I look forward to a Malaysia where it will become the place where people of all races would be proud to live in, to work in, to study in, and to be proud in.  Hopefully, not only will this stem the brain drain of talent from the country, it would inspire and encourage more overseas Malaysians to return home to build the country. A truly united Malaysia will not let anything or anyone divide them, including distance. A progressive Malaysia would welcome back overseas Malaysians with open arms.

I close with the thoughts of something often quoted by football team managers in the English Premier League. “No player is bigger than the club.” In the same light, I would say: “No single race or party or human differentiator is bigger than Malaysia.” May we all remember that.



Pray for our nation according to 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Progress for the sake of all our children. Persevere for the good of the next generation, and the generations to come. All for Malaysia and Malaysia for all. 

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