It’s been two weeks now, and it’s really real – Malaysians voted on 9th May to bring in a new government after 61 years of the same ruling coalition, and after increasingly serious abuses of power by the previous government and Prime Minister in the last ten years or so.
Despite all sorts of issues with the Electoral Commission over the fairness of the elections (gerrymandering, postal votes not being issued in enough time to be returned, ballot boxes going missing, etc etc.), the election, with an 82% voter turnout, delivered a win to Pakatan Harapan (Coalition of Hope). We now have a former Prime Minister back in place, but under a very different banner.
For me, what’s fantastic is that for the very first time, Malaysia’s coalition government is not formed around racial/ethnic groups as before (literally ‘the Malay party’, ‘the Chinese party’, ‘the Indian party’ and others), but parties founded on justice, civil rights, and the good of the nation, across all ethnicities and backgrounds. Individuals who formerly clashed came together for a greater purpose. So we now have our very first female Deputy Prime Minister, as well as the oldest Prime Minister in the world at 92, and the youngest MP in Malaysia at 22.
So along with everyone else, I’m delighted for my homeland; delighted to see change. Now it’s about cleaning up the messes of the recent past (already so much wrongdoing is being properly investigated and literally suitcases of cash being seized), and all about actual stewardship and development of the country. The voices I’m hearing from this new government, made up of old faces and new, are refreshing and inspiring. This isn’t the end but the beginning of the journey. Well done, Malaysia!