How did a convicted felon become a sensation during the Malacca state election campaign?
How did a political coalition weighed down by humongous corruption allegations and court proceedings involving certain leaders, win the hearts of voters?
It took the country six decades to get the Barisan Nasional coalition to pay for its sins of omission, commission and corruption: it was finally booted out of government in 2018.
But then the people’s mandate for a Pakatan Harapan coalition to govern the nation was cruelly sabotaged. PH was driven out into the cold.
Many voters’ excruciating anger over the ouster did not register in the Malacca election outcome. Is something wrong with the Malaysian mindset?
Various people have come up with different explanations. But it is still difficult to understand why so many are unable to muster enough resistance to the plundering of the nation’s wealth. They ought to be resolutely demanding that the government of the day work for all the people and the long-term good of the nation.
Some think we need fresh blood. Others think none of the parties is better than the rest.
Whatever, we seem to be inert in reforming a nation that appears to be plunging – economically, socially and even environmentally – while politics bulldozes ahead at full throttle.
Look at developments around the world and within Asean. We cannot deny that people elsewhere are taking the bull by the horns to ensure good governance and accountability. That is what is needed for nation-building and the sharing of wealth.
The rewards for those nations that are committed to serious reforms are obvious. Even within our region, nations that were lagging so far behind us three decades ago are now racing far ahead of Malaysia, economically – and their people are also succeeding, socially.
Soon, the general election will be here. Will this seal the fate of this plundered nation? Or will we continue to yoyo?
In this IT era, when access to social media is in the palms of almost everyone, even in most remote villages, it is ridiculous to think that people are not aware of what is going wrong in the country.
The Malacca election campaign choked social media with a litany of political sins – from handouts to heavenly promises. True or fake, they made little dent, seeing how BN cruised to victory.
Perhaps we can only arrive at one conclusion: politically, we are the most backward nation in the region.
Even the people of Myanmar, entangled in a stand-off following a military coup, have shown the will to struggle for justice.
Other nations in the region are holding their crooks to account and moving ahead with positive reforms.
Even the people of Thailand are questioning and raising once taboo subjects and asking for the wealth of the nation to be shared more equitably.
Something is not working in Malaysia. What is it? Why are Malaysians seemingly so divided in the war against corruption? Why are we so split in deciding how and who should lead the nation for the benefit of the people and the nation?
Who does not know that BN – Umno, in particular – is not rich with six decades of the spoils of office.
Who does not know of the mega-scale of hands in the cookie jar, as seen in the 1MDB scandal.
Who does not know about the brutal murder of the Mongolian woman Altantuya.
Who does not know that just six months into the Covid pandemic, the government had to confess that it did not have the money to bring substantive relief to the people. This left some households with little choice but to hoist white flags for relief supplies from NGOs.
Who does not know that many had to withdraw money from their retirement savings to survive during the lockdowns.
Despite all this and the many more bitter stories and life experiences, we do not seem to have the resolve to reset this nation. Why?