The Fear in My Morning After

Morning After 2

I had been talking about the ‘morning after’ that how the civil society and concerned citizens should recover and soldier on to overcome the letdown from electoral upset. That was the lesson learned in 1999 and 1990.

Such fear is certainly gone now.

My “morning after” was however neither exciting. I have had a new fear.

I woke up to the unromantic reality after all the ecstasies in that passionate night.

I can’t help asking myself one question. Is such massive victory for the opposition good for democratization in Malaysia?

The five state governments in Selangor, Penang, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan have now tremendous power to bring real changes. If they do not fumble, the opposition is set to take the federal power come next election. Anwar Ibrahim is set to be Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister (I think Abdullah will negotiate for a dignified exit soon like Tunku did).

Why should they do more for democratization on issues like local elections, freedom of information laws, real electoral reform (beyond catching phantoms) if they can win without doing all these?

They will do it if they are real democrats, if they believe the most important change is not about who to govern and make decisions, but about how the governments are elected and how decisions are made.

Are they really committed to democratization?


This is what I have read today on the five states:


Keadilan MB-designate Khalid Ibrahim said that Selangor would “enact a law that enabled the government to be free from the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act” (NST, 20080310, P13) I suppose he refers to some sort of a Freedom of Information Enactment. Bravo!

As for local elections, Khalid said “we need more discussion. We accepted such idea. But at this stage, we will focus on the amendment of laws.” (Oriental Daily, 20080310, A8) We do not know what those laws were from the report.

Tony Pua, DAP’s new PJ Utara MP who is technically not part of the new Selangor State Government, said the new Government will do its best to democratize local governments. “We will improve the mechanism in local governments, such as increasing government tenders, [improving] the transparency of accounts and competitiveness. We need to be accountable to voters and tax payers.” (Sin Chew, 20080310, A8) No mention at all about local elections in his talk on democratization of local governments.


DAP CM-Designate Lim Guan Eng refused to respond to questions on the list of Exco members, adjustments of portfolios and whether to reintroduce local elections on the ground that the new government has not sworn in. (Oriental Daily, 20080310, A4)


The news focused on the new MB-designate from PAS and the limitation in State Constitution which disallows a non-Malay MB unless exempted by the Sultan. No reform agenda is mentioned. We don’t know if there will be a freedom of information enactment or local elections soon in Perak.


PAS President stole the limelight by talking about Hudud laws in Kedah. (See Bernama’s report in my previous post.) His party colleague Dr Syed Azman later accused the mainstream media of misreporting and claimed that “nothing was said about Hudud in Kedah to that extent.”

As in Perak, we don’t know if there will be a freedom of information enactment or local elections soon in Kedah.


This is a state where an Opposition party ruled for 18 years yet still failed to introduce local elections or freedom of information laws. No signs of change from the news.


Sorry if I am spoiling your party or honey-moon. It is not romantic at all to start questioning in the morning after whether your new lover will keep her/his sweet promises.

Of course, I understand well that yesterday was only the first day after their victory. It is too early to judge a new government what it says before it is even officially sworn in. They may just turn out to be the best state governments we  have ever had.

I decide to return to my upbeat mood about the change.

But I shall never forget how Pak Lah’s grand promises for reforms in 2004 – or Mahathir’s pledge to be “Bersih, Cekap, Amanah” in 1982 for that matter – turned out to be a great let down.


3 responses to “The Fear in My Morning After

  1. Why should fear? We never know how well or not they are by not giving them chances to prove themselves. Remember those stories about our Malaysia (formerly Malaya) having indepence? Most of the Malaya people felt the same as you, had no confidence for our own nation to rule this own country, yet we proved we can for 50 years!!

    So just give them a chance/chances. Besides, the oppositions leaders are mostly well educated, same as the BN. Just they don’t have the experience in ruling this country which we never give them. So how can we expect experienced opposition leaders (only few of them) to have the experience if we don’t give them the chance? And is it appropriate to question how they will rule because they don’t have the experience as rulers?

    Besides, let the real democracy grows in Malaysia. We’ve been suffered too long with fatigue democracy, threatened so long if choose the opposition and so many lies and denials for the real news. The BN always tell us that bad things will happen if the opposition rules this country. Is that something exciting watching the statement to be proven or deny? After all, we have another election to change our mind, only four years more. Why can’t wait?

    My fear is not the opposition will screw up this country. I believe that I am more sophisticated than you think I am. Far from that, I think Penang and Selangor will fare much better under the opposition than under the BN, even in the worst scenario.

    I can in fact see the opposition going towards the federal seat and Anwar becoming the 7th PM in a few years’ time. I am neither a pessimist nor a day-dreamer. Even my prediction for this election was proven to be too conservative (42-44% of popular votes, 51-64 seats), it was perhaps closer to the reality than most others.

    It’s simply because such rise is unstoppable (not that stopping them is a better option), that they may not bother to further democratize the country beyond what it needs to take them into power. If a Opposition state government with two-third majority refuses to carry out democratization reforms (we have the examples of Kelantan in 1990 and Terengganu in 1999), can you ensure the new federal government with a two-third in 2012/3 do more? Will it be hard to find excuses not to do it then as not to do it now?

    The new government would be better, but not the best it can be. And voting them out in the 14th elections may not be an option because the BN then (if it still exists) may still be much worse.

    Such fear is of course too far-sighted or “imagined” for many. But if such concerns are not tolerated now, will they be so in 2012/3 when the nation has the historical chance to end UMNO’s regime?

    It is really a question of whether good is enough for us or we want only the best.

    Call me a party spoiler. I am guilty as charged. For what I would never want to vote BN or UMNO for protest in 2012/3.

  2. Wind of Emotion 2004 bring along a PM to flip-flop
    Wind of Emotion in 2008 blow Opposition Parties with Candidates without quarantine
    How many seeds MCA was trying to raise?
    Where have they gone?
    EC still has to be straightened up for future to go for a Fair & Clean Election to start from Fair Delineation and Constituency Act with no moer Parachuting of Candidates and Voters. to go.

    Many thought of changing the Government.
    Luckily here CONFIRMS only State Government could be looked into when they are in hand of those Opposition.
    Only by Local election to take in Capable and Ethical can start the Change.
    Dig-up all the hanky panky and rectify.
    But these cannot go if Police, ACA, and Court are still in hand of BN!

    Communication with People by the Parties in a more Open System must be installed!
    Don’t ask People to run and to walk up the Stair to present Grievance to Party in Parliament before thing could be solved!!

    Operation of Government (States) has to be reformed
    Local Government and Land Offices should be one of the many first to be rectified.
    Will Opposition get control of the Ministry concerned?
    The obstruction will surely be there if they are still under BN!

    Give all new incoming elected the proper training and a centre to help them to understand the Operation of Government and Department Concern before they can start to work.
    Taking 1/2 or one year to go or more?
    Hope 5 years is good enough for them to prove they are in the Right Direction with the Right persons elected to work!

    It also depends if People now understand What can be done by the Opposition when they are not even a simple majority.
    And, understanding the way they can or cannot go for some target to be set and understood!
    Those Sweet Promises, many can only be realized if Oppositions are Majority in Parliament!!

    So Education of People to be continued as much as towards the next GE.
    Hopefully by then People understand WHAT to choose and WHO to choose!


  3. Drizz,

    No doubt the the opposition has some highly educated electeds, however we musn’t simply declare the sainthood of these YBs, that would be naive.

    Now its our job as responsible rakyats to keep both eyes on the representatives, both of BN and Opposition.

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