The people have spoken – they must be heard

Article by H. S. Tan

The Malaysian people have spoken – move the country forward to fulfill our national aspiration.

On the historic day of 9 May 2018, the people of Malaysia have spoken loud and clear.  In a courageous move, the Rakyat* repudiated a regime that was seen as corrupt, racist, and not in line with our collective aspirations.  But we did not effect change in a violent revolution — that is not the Malaysian way.  We did it by discovering a national conscience, and through exercising our constitutional right to vote.

It was a spectacular sight to witness the unity and maturity of an electorate that hitherto accepted whatever was promised them and tolerated the antics of the powers-that-be.  But Malaysians have wised up to feel that the country deserves better leadership.  Second-rate leaders offer goodies when it comes to election time; but true leaders offer a vision and action plan on how to move the nation forward.

With a government-in-waiting comprising new political allies, we can expect a period of potentially intense politicking.  This is to be expected given the unique circumstances that saw people of different ideologies working together for the first time because of a common purpose.  But we remain optimistic that our politicians understand the mandate given to them is to reform a broken political system, and they should begin to repair it immediately for the betterment of our nation.

The Malaysian civil service plays a pivotal role in reforming and repairing the country.

The Rakyat should continue to insist that in Malaysia, there be no more racist policies and blatant abuse of public institutions for personal gains.  Electoral mandates and power should not be misused again, and elected representatives and civil servants must be accountable to the people.

We are comforted by the magnanimous words of the Prime Minister-elect Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed that his government will not be out settling scores with their opponents.  When asked by reporters about how they intend to treat his predecessor, Tun Mahathir reportedly said, “We are not seeking revenge; we just want to restore the rule of law.”  This we feel is the right attitude to heal the nation after such a searing contest; the Rakyat too should assume the same mind-set.

There is much for us to do now in Malaysia — and not just for the new government to do, but also for the Rakyat and the new opposition to do — we should gradually restore the independence of public institutions from political interference and dominance by a single party.  This task requires the cooperation of all Malaysians regardless of political views and loyalties.  All of us should have a higher loyalty to our country and to redeem our pride as a people, and to reinstate Malaysia’s place at the table of honorable nations.

Every nation large or small has the potential to be happy and successful — but that depends on the quality of leadership and people it has.  Our role as citizens is to ensure that we continue to elect only people with integrity and the right vision to become leaders of our country.

The people of Malaysia have firmly decided; history has been made.  The Rakyat‘s choices must be fully respected by all parties in our democratic system.  Moving forward, we pray that this blessed land of ours can continue to progress in harmony and happiness, ensuring well-being for all Malaysians by instituting a just, fair, and inclusive political system that upholds the rule of law.

Let us prepare ourselves for a fresh start.  Dirgahayu Malaysia!