MAY 18 — If it’s one thing that the entire period of 2004-2018 taught me, it’s how it feels to have low expectations in one’s nation.
I grew up in the era of Mahathir 1.0 (except we did not know it was 1.0 then!) and there was an air of confidence. Of course, being kids in school, we were not able to see the problems but that’s besides the point.
The point is, we had a great deal of confidence in his administration and this translated into national pride.
This, I can tell you, was an exuberant feeling.
Then came the lost years. Abdullah Badawi, Pak Lah, came into office enjoying a high level of confidence. The 2004 general election was proof of that.
However, his unenergetic leadership soon floundered and he was made into a laughing stock. He was also unable to handle the Islamofascists who ruined any chance of an interfaith council.
Pak Lah was told to leave after Barisan’s relatively disastrous performance in the 2008 general election where Barisan lost five states, later reduced to four. The period of Najib Razak had begun.
In 2009, when Najib came in, I recall a high level of confidence, especially from the Malay professionals who believed that Najib’s eruditeness was proof that he was very clued in. I was quite hopeful myself although by this time, I was unreservedly anti-Barisan.
Then came the scandals. 1MDB was the whale of them, at least until the FGV scandals came to light. I recalled the feelings of buoyancy from the 90s when I read about 1MDB.
How the tables had turned and how we were now the laughing stock of the world whereas once we were admired as the darling of developing nations. When the 1MDB so-called investigations came to nothing, no one was surprised.
Like all Malaysians, I was hopeful when Tun Dr Mahathir led Pakatan Harapan to victory. I am quite sure that without Tun, BN would still be in power today and we would be in the doldrums.
What did worry me slightly was the execution of justice by the Mahathir 2.0 administration. The slow-moving machinery of the government may slow down this process.
This would mean that people being investigated would be able to haul stakes and seek asylum elsewhere. There are no shortages of countries providing this type of asylum.
No less a dictator than Idi Amin himself was able to live out the rest of his life in luxury.
However, Tun dealt with the matter swiftly. Being Tun, he had already planned things several moves ahead.
He placed a travel ban on Najib and effectively had him under surveillance at all times. At the time of writing, Najib’s own house had been raided and several items seized.
The Auditor General's report on 1MDB has also been declassified and downloaded so many times, the server is said to have crashed!
And this is what I mean. Confidence has been restored. The rakyat is now actively rooting for the nation.
At the end of the Najib administration, their confidence in the administration had been so down that when Umno’s own status was called into question (due to breaking its own by-laws), we rightly expected no action to be taken and true enough – the case has been thrown out.
I applaud Tun on his swift actions. While the rakyat are rejoicing at the abolishment of the GST, to show us that past misdeeds will not go unpunished was a major win.
Now we feel no longer alienated by active stakeholders in the future of the nation.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.