We have snatched back democracy from the jaws of destruction, so Malaysia may be rebuilt all over, with the multi-racial, democratic and egalitarian ideals of its founding fathers and earliest patriots.- William De Cruz, former president of Global Bersih
AFTER the election of May 9, the first 48 hours, were agonising moments for Malaysians when SPR, the Election Commission of Malaysia, refused to sign Form 14 to certify election results and the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, refused to make a concession speech.
It was a frightening anti-climax or as Sarawak Report put it, "a nail biting moment."
Meanwhile in the background, horse-trading was furiously taking place. What exactly is horse-trading? It is a complex bargaining process because it is difficult to evaluate the value of a horse and in this case I am referring to the value of politicians who were trading their election victories.
In this political horse-trading, party leaders are the buyers and the victorious candidates are the horses. However, in Malaysia, we don't call them horses, we call them frogs!
As you know, frogs like to jump from pond to pond.
By the way, if you are ignorant about politics, you could be called the frog under the coconut shell ‘katak di bawah tempurong’. The poor frog is getting all that bad rap for simply having the ability to jump and for being smart enough to hide underneath a coconut shell.
I cannot say that about one well-known politician. This particular politician, turned frog, jumped from the frying pan into the fire. I hear his political career and reputation are now burnt to a cinder.
It is much easier to evaluate the value of a victorious politician than the value of a horse. The going rate is RM20 million, so I was told.
No wonder, when asked to jump, some politicians might well have asked: "How high and from which floor?" Their party hoping proving to be suicide for their political careers.
I have lived in the United States of America for over 40 years and have witnessed many elections but have never heard of horse-trading of politicians. The reason being, the presidential election is based on electoral college votes.
Electoral votes are allocated among the states based on the Census. In Sarawak, however, obscene gerrymandering and malapportionment were the powerful tools utilised to win the election.
For example, one federal constituency of Gedong has 7,000 registered voters compared to 32,000 registered voters in the state constituency of Kota Sentosa.
My state of Florida has a nice chunk of 29 electoral college votes and California has the biggest, 55! There are a total of 538 electoral votes and the presidential candidate who gets 270 is declared the winner. No room for jumping frogs here.
Okay, once the winners and losers had been officially declared, we moved to the next phase of this silly season, forming a government with new cabinet members, some were greenhorns and some were ‘been there, done that’ politicians.
Surely experienced politicians are smart enough and should know that frogs are good at jumping, you'd think? As a result of two bull frogs, one politician (in a Malaysian state) formed his government too early and probably made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the shortest government in history.
Folks, in less than 48 hours, his administration vaporised into thin air. No need to mention names, as everyone knows who he is.
Talking about making history, Malaysia's GE14 did make history and broke many Guinness World Records which included:
- The opposition coalition of Pakatan Harapan (PH) winning the election and wresting power from the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) which has been in power for the last 60 years.
- Malaysia set a world record of having the oldest prime minister in the world, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad won the election at the golden age of 92. He turns 93 in July.
- Malaysia also can boast of having the youngest MP when 22-year-old P. Prabakaran won the strategic Batu MP seat.
Once victory was with PH, many decided to join the winning coalition, hoping to become candidates for the 2021 state election. Oh yes, HP will have a great selection of qualified candidates.
I wonder if a key performance indicator or KPI will be used in the selection of candidates?
Racial and communal politics are no longer the deciding factors among progressive Sarawakians. This is the age of smart phones and social media when information can be shared within seconds.
During this silly season, people from all walks of life became instant political pundits. Some genuinely felt they had a lot to say about who should be chosen as cabinet members to form the new government.
Some were up to no good, stirring up the pot with racial sentiments, saying that a certain race and certain community had to be represented. Some party members were also not happy with appointments. One women's group insisted that women must have 30% representation as high office holders in the new government.
Oh, come on folks cut that out! Enough already of racial, gender and communal based sentiments. We want to choose our government based on the merits and integrity of hard working representatives, don't we? Once the reality of losing the election started to sink in, folks started to act like rats abandoning sinking ships. One politician was shown to be crying.
Yes, folks losing your grip on power is enough to make a grown man cry. Unfortunately, some politicians were accepted by PH which drew a lot of flak and criticism from supporters.
PH is not exactly a ‘tong sampah’, meaning a garbage dumpster, for Barisan Nasional (BN) turncoats. If they really want to work for the country, they can caucus with PH without having to join political parties in the coalition.
The action of wanting to join PH after BN received a beating in the polls, was pathetically clear, self serving for political survival.
On the heart-warming side, William De Cruz, former president of Global Bersih, proudly described GE14 as: "Malaysians set a world benchmark, a gold standard in how to reclaim democracy against all odds. We have snatched back democracy from the jaws of destruction, so Malaysia may be rebuilt all over, with the multi-racial, democratic and egalitarian ideals of its founding fathers and earliest patriots.
“We have come from the race riots of May 13, 1969, to the multi-racial juggernaut of May 9, 2018. We fought back without bloodshed or violence.
“We have returned ‘Merdeka’ freedom, independence – to our shores. The future is now full of promise, and it's a promise we made to ourselves.
“The singular event of May 9 will powerfully resonate forever in our history as a glorious chapter in a people's tenacity."