06 May 2013

Thoughts on Malaysia's 13th General Election

Well, looks like a lot of Malaysians were disappointed by the election's results.
BN continues to rule for another 5 years.
Except that this time, the damage done is albeit slightly more severe than the previous in 2008.

For the sake of future reference purpose, a few stats about the 2013 general election's results.

Total parliament seats: 222
Barisan Nasional: 133 (60%)
Pakatan Rakyat: 89 (40%)

Another glorious defeat for the opposition, Pakatan Rakyat.

The opposition has clearly worked hard trying to persuade a few more votes to their sides, and they did managed to gain more votes than the 2008 edition, but still not enough to take over the federal government from the half-century old Barisan Nasional.

I've seen people made their dissatisfaction more vocal and obvious since then, partially thanks to the exponential leap in the mobile & Internet access.

To give a better perpectives, back then in 2008 the 1st generation iPhone had barely landed in Malaysia, and Android meant humanoid robot instead of the Google mobile OS. Nokia & Sony Eriksson were the big brands in mobile, and Black Berry had just started to lurk into the local Malaysia market.

In 2008's social networks, Facebook were cluttered with random quiz apps and were overwhelmed by the then popular Friendster. People would just use it for simple status updates and occasionally a pic or two, haven't crossed their mind that eventually it will be used as a tool to spread the 'fire'.
Twitter on the other hand, still remain rather quiet then, not as active as they are today.

Fast-forward 5 years later, today most people got their info through mobile & social networks. Younger generations especially, prefer to digest the news from the Internet rather than spoon-fed by the state-controlled medias.

News shown on the TV and Internet contrasted greatly in terms of the transparency and fairness. Normally on the newspaper I can only read news lauding the ruling party and bashes the opposition. And we rarely seen any reports praising the opposition either.

The clear disadvantage placed upon the opposition did not stop them from wooing the people via the alternative methods, namely the Internet and the classic way of public speeches. Their efforts ought to be recognized in my opinion.

Switching the focus on the ruling party, I for one, already anticipated dramas to be unfolded when the general election is being announced in April.

The prologue of the drama started with one of the opposition party, DAP suddenly received an order saying that they are not allowed to use their party's logo (a rocket) to contest in the election.

Outraged by this action, the other 2 parties of Pakatan Rakyat, PAS & PKR agreed to let DAP contest the election under their logos.

When this was announced, cyber troopers of the opposition party had a quick play with creativity to create mascots for the opposition parties, the hornbill bird is named "Ubah", which means 'change' in Malay.

The original Ubah bird, mascot of DAP.

The PAS version of Ubah bird.

The PKR version of Ubah bird.

Sooner or later lots of people on Facebook changed their profile pics to these mascots. I think these images appeal to the younger generation for it's fresh and original approach. 

Then, just a week before the election there were rumours spreading saying that a bunch of foreign immigrants will be ferried in to the country to vote as phantom voters using the state-issued identity card. The rumours were strongly supported by photo evidences of the immigrants arriving at the airport and the fake ID cards being issued to them.

Of course, the only party with such resources and authority would be the current governing party. 

This naturally cause another wave of outrage among the citizens, as the citizenship of Malaysia is being giving out too easily and abusively for the sake of winning the election.

To rub salt on the wound, police and state personnel is seen escorting the immigrants, all the way into the voting station on the morning of the voting day, which is 5th of May.

Generally, Malaysians are passionate and sometimes too emotional that things can get ugly when the emotions run high. There were reports of people clashing with the immigrants to prevent them entering the polling station to vote, but thankfully no casualties recorded.

And when the voting concluded on 5pm local time, it's time to make the counts.

During the counting progress, I read from my friends lamenting that the TV shows result way slower than the Internet, and it only highlights the seats that BN had won. But on the other side on the Internet, people are raving for the seats that PR had won. 

However, one of the most mysterious event of the day would be the sudden blackout happened at the vote-counting station. By that time the opposition candidate is leading, but when the electricity is back online, suddenly there are a few extra boxes of votes waiting to be counted. Eventually the BN candidate won by slight margin.

So much dramas happened, and I got the feeling that this isn't over yet. But I'd like to suggest the strategist of BN to seriously considering applying for the scenario writer job in the Hollywood!

I remember back in the 2008's general election there were some "tricks" happening as well, so this time I'm not totally surprised by the anomalies, just wondering what kind of tricks hidden in their sleeves.

There must be reasons why, for a party who'd been governing the nation for 50 years+, suddenly suffer from a stiff competition from the opposition. Clearly, something must have gone wrong to caused such big changes. It's like, if you haven't done anything wrong or guilty, why be afraid of it? 

This time I didn't register for vote. Not that I'm not patriotic, but knowing my circumstances of being overseas, although I do have the option for postal vote, but I chose to gave up this time as I prefer to be present at the polling station to vote with fellow folks. Another reason being to prevent the manipulation of postal vote, which we've heard so much about it since previous general elections.
Luckily, the result for my constitution went according to my wish.

People used to vote based on the individual candidate's performance or influence, but now many voted for the party regardless of the candidates, so that's why some cases of 1st-time candidate managed to defeat veteran candidates happened during the election.  

Personally I'm on neutral stance, although ironically from the general tone of this post suggested that I'm inclined towards the leftist. 

To be fair to BN, they did contributed greatly towards the development of the nation for the past few decades, especially during Tun Mahathir's reign. Many things that people enjoyed in downtown Kuala Lumpur today, is directly or indirectly involved by Mahathir. 

But ever since he stepped down as Prime Minister 10 years ago, things went downhill. The improvements over the nation's capital still stuck in 90's level. We see seldom improvements over the 2000's and that could be one of the reasons why people are getting frustrated with the government.

And the skyrocketing crime rate doesn't help to ease the people either. One can find lots of different types of crimes being committed in the capital itself on the newspapers everyday, with petty crimes unreported at all due to how common it happened. I remain extra vigilance when wondering in downtown KL when I'm back there for holidays, as you'll never know if someone with ill agenda is targeting you anywhere, anytime.

Ideally, I'd like to see a 50-50 government instead of the current 60-40. 
Ideally, both governing and opposition parties work up together for the sake of building up the nation, instead of focusing their time and energy abusing each others. 
And last but not least, cut off the dramas and bullocks which has been the same old tactics for the past years, that people are already getting bored of it already.

Now what we can do is hope that the next young generation to vote on the next general election due in 2018. And hopefully some of the old veterans has quit before they got the chance to wreck another havoc again. 

Have faith in the younger generations to wipe off the ugly stains left by the older generation.

People VS Authority
Bersih 2.0 Rally


  1. there is a huge positive change in GE13, but apparently not enough for a change of government. :(