Five truths about Malaysia revealed in victory of Mahathir
The recent general election in Malaysia has revealed five truths about my country and my people.
One, Malaysia is harmonious and non-violent. May 9 was finally the date when the memories and nightmare of 1969 were finally laid to rest. A dark stain on Malaysian history from 47 years ago has been erased. Agitators appealing to race and religion did not succeed.
Two, Malaysia has a functional democracy. Changing a government through elections is the hallmark of a functioning democratic system. The message to Malaysian political leaders must be also noted, and it is that they are replaceable.
Third, Malaysians uphold their laws. Too often in the last few years, those seeking to uphold the law were dismissed and those promoted blatantly perpetrated injustice. With this election result, Malaysians overwhelmingly rejected such behaviour.
Four, Malaysians are new-media savvy. Despite the print media and free-to-air TV networks being fully behind the ruling party, their ultimate share of popular votes came in at 37 per cent. WhatsApp sites and Facebook postings were forwarded countless times. Speeches by opposition leaders broadcast online attracted millions, and obviously reached even the most remote of kampong (village) dwellers. This suggests that the education and training of the young in Malaysia may be less difficult than many naysayers feel.
Watch: Mahathir returns as Malaysia’s oldest prime minister
Five, Malaysians recognise sincerity and repentance. Halfway through the campaign period, the opposition leader, and present prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, released a video titled “Atok dah tua”, in which he explained to two young children that, despite his advanced years, he had to try to right the wrongs in the country, wrongs that he himself helped perpetrate.
The video moved him, and many viewers, to tears. Watching the video, few could doubt his sincerity, and many would have been touched by his honest repentance. The electorate responded by giving him and his new vision a roaring approval.
Dr Ong Hean Teik, Penang