One Year of New Malaysia: A Victory by Any Measure

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It’s been a while since I wrote an editorial, but today is no ordinary day, hence I felt it timely to share my view of one year of PH rule.

A year ago, the unthinkable happened.

The nation was in a euphoric mood celebrating the fall of the mighty BN.

Lest the ruling coalition boasts, the victory was delivered by the people.

The rakyat was zealous about the dawn of a new Malaysia.

Shafwan Zaidon

Expectations were many and varied.

The delusional thought everything would change with the wave of an invisible magic wand, heralding a rosy economy and an inclusive, moderate society, plus an end to corruption, oppressive laws, a muzzled press, and a divisive people.

The realistic hoped some changes would come quickly and given time, more changes would take place to realise a better tomorrow for the nation.

Many were just glad to see a coalition that had outstayed its welcome booted out, and anything was better than maintaining the status quo.

Much has been said of the past year by various quarters.

To be fair, it’s not all brickbats as Harapan has achieved a fair bit by any measure, including tackling corruption, replacing the incompetent with personal agendas in high places with the creditable and reform-minded, and recovering monies from the misappropriation of 1MDB funds.

A few good men and women: (clockwise from top left) Tommy Thomas, AG; Tengku Maimun, CJ; Mohamad Ariff, Speaker of Dewan Rakyat; Azhar Harun, Chairman of EC; Nor Shamsiah, Governor of Bank Negara; Shukri Abdull, MACC Chief; Hamid Bador, IGP.

Then there is the stabilisation of fuel prices and savings in government projects, most recently the ECRL.

Everyone is griping about bread-and-butter issues, with many weary of the government blaming the depleted coffers and mess it inherited.

What ails Malaysians is money, or the lack of it – thanks to the humongous debt we are saddled with and have to service for many years to come.

The truth be told, the odds were against PH delivering a better performance, what with opening can after can of worms, uncovering all kinds of wrongdoings that were the legacy of the former government.

From the onset, the formidable task was to get rid of trash and repair the redeemable before good and new measures can be introduced.

It will take more than a five-year term to see a clean house. But in the next four years, with less spring-cleaning to tackle, more reforms and positive changes can take place.

So one year on, the fact that the motley group of strange bedfellows that comprise PH are still working together – and more efficiently than when it first ruled in disarray mode – is itself a victory.

Regardless of a dip in its popularity because some feel let-down by the slow pace of changes or frustrated that the well of undeserved perks has run dry, PH still has strong support from those who believe they have what it takes and are on the right track in shaping a Malaysia for all Malaysians.

Otherwise, there will be no need for the extremists to hit the panic button and in the absence of real issues, to noisily spew hate speech and false narratives while playing the 3R cards – race, religion, royalty – to incite the fear and confusion that keep their followers ignorant and blindly loyal.

The voices may be fewer but they are neither softer nor weaker in cheering on the government they voted into power with a resounding ‘the people are behind you!’. That is victory, by any measure.

Azneal Ishak