Friday, May 03, 2013
False Stability or Liberating Change?
In the past two weeks, Malaysians of all walks of life have been engaged in intense discussion, lengthy discourse & heated debate about our future. These dialogs- with family, friends and God-forbid strangers- are often filled with passion. Strangers from different races found themselves in surprising agreement while friends of same race argued & became enemies. Despite the heated argument, untoward incidences have been few and far in between. This shows that we, Malaysians are a mature people that cherish our peace & our democracy.
Like many, I initially believe BN would win this election handily with its well-oiled election machinery, its large pool of resources and its firm grip on the mainstream media. However I began to detect a shift in the campaign in the final week. The crowd turnout for PR ceramahs has been anything if not spectacular. The mood among the PR supporters in ceramahs & in internet forums is getting more energized, enthusiastic & emboldened. PR campaign, which started in a carnival atmosphere, has slowly morphed into a People Movement. On the other hand, BN campaign, which started out with much fanfare, is slowly filled with disquiet and has lately turned to gloom & doom.
Exasperated by its failure to engage the voters, BN brought out the old war horses- Dr M and even Daim. Their tone was unrelentingly harsh and yet their message was surprisingly unchanged. It is not a message of hope but one of fear & darkness. Dr M used his thumb card, May 13 yet again- to intimidate the Chinese and to rally the Malays. This was greeted with derision & anger among the Chinese and in the process undoing much of Najib's hard work of courting the Chinese votes. It also failed to galvanize the Malay votes because it ignored one small inconvenient fact: PR includes a Malay-majority party, PKR & a predominantly Malay-Muslim party, PAS. How could they have miscalculated so badly?
In desperation, BN may now be resorting to a dangerous trick- ferrying voters by the thousands from Sabah & Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia to vote. Project IC, employed to unseat Pairin and PBS in late 1990s, may have found a new use. This stubborn attitude of winning at all cost and the bankrupt idea that the end will always justify the means must be firmly rejected.
From my untrained eyes, I believe Malaysia is on the verge of a new dawn. This change- when it finally arrives- will be cathartic but it will come with great risk. The risk will be no more & no less than the risk that our founding fathers had brought upon this young nation in 1957 when we freed ourselves from the yoke of colonialism and took on the responsibilities of determining our future.
On May 5, we, Malaysians must again make a choice between false stability where the dangers are postponed & liberating change where the risks are immediate. Thomas Paine wrote 230 years ago during the time of the American Revolution: “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” Fellow Malaysians, our children expect only that we shall do our duties on May 5!