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Warisan rises: Reason for hope?

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Warisan’s plan to spread its wings to the peninsula may provide an impetus to revive new politics in the nation, Jem writes.

Over the weekend, the plan to expand Warisan from a Sabah-based party to a national party drew much interest, especially for thousands of Sabahans living in the peninsula like me. 

One mainstream media commentator noted: “Politics can be strange, just don’t make a fool of the people.” This one put a bit of a damper on my ‘hope’ but I still want to hope there might be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Right now, there is not much hope going around. Life is hard for millions of people. The pandemic is still racking up infections all over the world, and sadly many are dying. 

Warisan president Shafie Apdal spoke about “change” at the party’s annual meeting in Kota Kinabalu. “We have to change.  We have to be brave enough to change,” he said, adding that unity among the leaders and for all Malaysians is critical. 

These words will not mean much for many politicians who have no desire to change the status quo. But, hopefully, there are still some who might have an iota of conscience – or, maybe, some who might think along the same lines but do not have the gumption to speak out. 

Shafie is spot on in saying that all the infighting among the opposition parties is leading to their own demise. 

Pakatan Harapan was a huge hope. The people voted the coalition into power in 2018 because it articulated their distaste and frustration at the rampant corruption under the Barisan Nasional and the unpopular goods and services tax. These, among other issues, made life so much worse for many Malaysians.   

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The PH administration got the ball rolling with corruption charges slapped on some BN leaders. It ended the GST. The Malaysian economy and its currency appeared to strengthen. The fragile coalition seemed to work well and, more importantly, the country appeared politically stable.  

But then, ambition, friction among leaders, greed and infighting took root, and that was the beginning of the end for PH. 

Will Warisan’s foray to West Malaysia bring about the ‘winds of change’ to the national political landscape?

Shafie spoke about the present disarray among opposition parties and how we must be “brave enough to make changes that the people want”. So far, efforts have failed dismally because there is no clear direction. 

Will Shafie’s call for unity amid the fractures in our political system have any effect on the political landscape in the peninsula?

It should – because he was articulating what many people see and hear daily in the media. Many are fed up with the political antics going on. Most politicians speak about uniting the people, especially when elections are looming on the horizon. 

Will Shafie be able to speak to West Malaysians in the same way he has done in Sabah? It may not be the same message he conveyed in Sabah, and it may be a hard sell here in West Malaysia. But it will have a positive effect on the almost 300,000 Sabahans already studying, working and living here. After all, he is one of us, a Sabahan! 

Perhaps some ideals of Warisan will resonate with the millennials in the peninsula who would like to see a more open, tolerant and people-oriented government. Is this too much to hope for? Perhaps not, but we have been through many disappointments countless times in Malaysian politics – especially when race, religious and cultural issues are embedded in the West Malaysian political psyche and manipulated when deemed fit.

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In Malaysian politics, scruples, principles and loyalty are scarce.  There are few altruistic politicians; almost every one of them wants something for himself or herself. We, the people, are exploited to justify their power and position.  

Adversity makes for strange bedfellows, but with Warisan on the horizon, there is hope – if not for us, then the younger generation must be given their chance to hope for something better for themselves.

Christmas is around the corner and it is a time of hope. We all could do with that feel-good feeling again. Who knows what might unfold with Warisan becoming a national party and spreading its wings here.

Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

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loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
17 Dec 2020 8.17am

Anwar’s failure to muster the numbers shows that Warisan’s absence at some Budget committee votes is inconsequential.

Jem, you may have sentimental reasons to hope Warisan’s spreading its wings to the peninsula will gain traction.
I see it otherwise- it will be same old, same old. Just another party to muddy the political field.

What is needed is a new leader to strengthen PH minus so the the swamp at Putrajaya will be drained of all its frogs and leeches after GE15.

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