Once in a while in our lifetimes we get a chance to make history. The coming general elections (GE14) is one such opportunity.
If we vote decisively, we will be able to break Umno’s stranglehold of the government of this country. Make no mistake, I’m not anti-Umno. I’m just against anything or anyone who is so powerful that we have to resort to extreme actions to dislodge them. No one or thing should be so powerful that they can get away with whatever they do without facing the consequences. That is tyranny. Any right-thinking person will oppose it.
In government, tyranny of any kind must be opposed. It is we, the people, who must oppose it and bend the will of insolent might and hold it accountable to the people through the vote. We must demand and ensure that institutions that offer checks and balances to leaders and government are independent and uncompromised and that leaders abide by their decisions. We must do it by the vote. And, GE14 gives us that chance to change the destiny of this nation so that we don’t repeat the excesses of the past and can establish a fair, just and corruption-free government.
Leading the charge to change has been the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) when it was formed under Anwar Ibrahim’s “Reformasi” banner after the schism with the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar was deputy prime minister then. He was subsequently sacked from office and expelled from Umno.
The Malay vote has been split since then with the urban Malays solidly behind PKR, which went on to form the opposition Pakatan Rakyat with the DAP and PAS. There was a fallout between the latter two and PAS left the coalition. A splinter group made up mostly of the progressive members of PAS left the party and formed Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) which joined the opposition under the new name of Pakatan Harapan.
PKR under Anwar was the rebel Malay representation against Dr M, who at that time was held responsible for splitting Malay unity. Dr M, however, left Umno over current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s performance and dealings over 1MDB, to form Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) which then joined the opposition PH.
With the inroads Pribumi apparently has made into the rural Malay heartland — the base of the incumbent ruling Malay party Umno — PH is now represented by three Malay-based parties, PKR, Pribumi and Amanah representing urban, rural and progressive Islamic Malays. Together, under the chairmanship of Dr M who is now PH chairman, under the leadership of the very man accused of dividing the Malays, the Malays have reunited.
The differences between the Malays were viciously expressed but it is to their credit that it never sank into a civil war but that they chose to fight it out at the ballot box. Now, in PH, they are a united force and ready for majority rule. Malay support has shifted from Umno to PH.
Until the votes come in, we will not be certain if PH has the support of the majority Malays. The trends seem to indicate so and there’s a huge slim chance that PH will win.
What we are seeing today is history in the making. A golden opportunity has presented itself to us Malaysians to choose a different future from the past. Not that the past was bad. Certainly not. We developed. But we want a future that can be built on the past not be bound by it.
The Chinese and Indians have seen the writings on the wall. In previous elections, they voted for PH parties. They are expected to vote similarly.
The big question mark is the East Malaysian vote. East Malaysian parties are adequately represented in the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN). East Malaysians need to decide if they will seize the opportunity before them to vote for the side with which they will have more leverage than they ever had.
That leverage, however, will only come if they are willing to place their stake in a new government with which they can negotiate for a better future. Their support would mean a comfortable win for PH. That will be the strongest leverage they will ever have for a fairly long time.
Right now, it isn’t clear which way East Malaysians will vote. Their parties in the BN have been silent and those in the opposition don’t seem able to work together.
If the parties can’t make up their mind, the people should do it for them! That would be history-making!