NOVEMBER 28 — So it’s over.
The euphoria, the traffic jams, the wrongly entered polling centres (I bet loads of people mistook “SM” for “SMK” and vice-versa), the millions of ink-dipped fingers, the 24 hours spent on WhatsApp afterwards, the speculations and the conspiracy theories.
Nevertheless, five days after the votes were counted, we have a unity government and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is Malaysia’s tenth prime minister.
Yes, Anwar is finally PM after waiting nearly 30 years. Whatever you think about his political or organisational skills, there is no doubt that he’s sacrificed a lot for the country, having been a prisoner for a total of eight years.
Talk about a reversal of fortunes and a new hope.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Harapan leaders pose for a picture during a press conference at Grand Dorsett Subang November 19, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
However, as far as many liberals are concerned, the ascendancy of PAS is a matter of concern. Winning 49 seats is quite a feat. Was this simply a blip resulting from PN’s seat allocations? Or does this portend a resurgence of fundamental Islamist doctrines and policies over the coming years?
Either way, it does appear to herald wider divisions in the country.
Then there is the rakyat’s clear rejection of Barisan Nasional (BN). For decades, BN reigned almost supreme. While it remains as the so-called “king-maker”, the fact that for the second GE in a row BN was unable to declare itself the winner on Election night does say a lot.
How far the mighty have fallen.
Granted BN still has enough clout to cut deals, the clear message is that the country is moving on from an alliance whose leaders have been tainted by corruption for decades.
Surely that is also the primary reason Khairy Jamaluddin, certainly a worthy and competent player whose pivotal role during the pandemic will not be forgotten, lost.
Hopefully from now onwards no Malaysian political leader will garner the kind of publicity the 1MDB scandal generated.
Nevertheless and given the rise of PAS, perhaps a reformed Umno could be what the country needs in the future.
I’m surely not the only one who’s hoping that Khairy and others like him in Umno with their hunger for real change within the party can serve as a further counterweight to PAS.
Then there is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s loss in Langkawi which surely represents an end to an otherwise illustrious career.
Mahathir’s sunset, BN’s failure, the rise of PAS and the growing influence of Borneo parties among other things make it very clear that GE15 was about change.
Finally, another positive (hardly remarked on this year) was the happy LACK of reports and videos of foreigners being bussed in to vote.
Even the indelible ink which I could easily remove from my finger four years ago seemed to stay on longer this time.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.