MAY 10 — As I am writing this, dawn is rising. I can see from where I am sitting the dark blue starless sky turn into a lighter shade of blue as the sun makes its way past the horizon. It’s a new day; a new Malaysia.
Blue. What does the colour blue symbolise? It is mostly associated with loyalty, wisdom, truth, and intelligence. Dark blue symbolises knowledge, power, and integrity whereas light blue — healing and tranquility.
And when you think about Malaysia’s 14th general election, I want you to remember the gradient of night turning into day; as dark blue disintegrates into the lighter and more vibrant shade of itself. This is the beginning of Malaysia’s healing.
What do these two shades have in common? They were both the colours that Tun Mahathir wore when he became Malaysia’s Prime Minister; dark blue (Barisan Nasional) from 1981 to 2003, and now light blue (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) in 2018, 15 years after his retirement.
No doubt, Malaysia’s 14th general election did see its fair share of foul play, but from that came rakyat initiatives hellbent on helping other Malaysians practise their civic right to vote.
From #PulangMengundi where people donated cash subsidies for those who needed to rush back home, to #CarpoolGE14 where people from different cities banded together to go back to their hometown in one vehicle.
We saw stories of postal voters rushing to get their ballot papers sent back and people offering to help get ballot papers home in time. Truly, Malaysia’s 14th general election showed a different side of Malaysians: That at the end of the day, loyalty to country always comes before loyalty to party.
For 60 years, Malaysians had started to lose hope in democracy. It never works. Voter turnout was slowly declining as the rakyat started feeling like their votes wouldn’t matter. We can hope for change but don’t count on it. At least, not until now.
After 60 years, Malaysians finally get to see democracy in action. Malaysians finally get to feel like their votes actually matter. We hoped for change and it finally happened.
On May 9, Malaysians have proven that loyalty cannot be bought with money; only through unity for a better nation. In the end, the longest-running coalition lost at the hands of their longest-running leader; the only one powerful enough to end the chaos he started.
Say what you want about Tun Mahathir, but his influence can break and make governments. Literally.
This is Tun Mahathir’s redemption; from biggest opponent to biggest ally, Tun is now leading the party that once ran as opposition against him, to take down the party he once led, so that he can give the man that he had wronged the opportunity that he rightfully deserves.
Malaysia’s 14th general election was more than just a standard electoral process: It’s a story about unity, family, forgiveness, and how when push comes to shove, the power of the people is greater than the people in power.
We may have celebrated merdeka 61 years ago, but it took us 60 years to know how it truly feels to be a democratic citizen. Today, we are free again.
In the words of Sam Cooke, “It’s been a long, long time coming but I know a change is gonna come.”
And yes, it did.
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.