A new govt of hope

MALAYSIANS have proven that the country can in fact change hands. And I spent two days eating crow and humble pie. I have made my peace and apologies for the words said if it offended anyone.

There were about 2.5% spoiled votes in this election, a lot less than what I expected as an #UndiRosak campaigner. But on the other hand, 15 out of 222 parliamentary seats had more spoiled votes than their majorities.

Was this due to the spoiled vote campaign? There's no way to tell.

Among those who lost their elections due to this were former Perak MB Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, former religious affairs minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (no, we're not related) and Amanah candidate Khairudin Abu Hassan in Jasin.

It also impacted the elections of Liew Chin Tong and even Jeffrey Kitingan – both of which I personally feel some regret.

I stand by my decision of spoiling my vote and not voting for either side, because I do not believe in either side. I'm sure that many are glad more Malaysians thought otherwise, and to some extent I am too – but I am wary.

It is now up to Malaysians to do two things – keep being the critical monitors of your elected leaders and voice out your thoughts louder than you thought you could.

And if anything, we are seeing that voice of dissent now forming in Sabah since the state government is being formed by BN.

A lot of questions still linger, particularly if the Hudud bill will still go through. Islamic party PAS has in fact become the state governments in Kelantan and Terengganu, and hold both Kedah and Perak in their sway.

Similarly, with the promise of oil royalties to be paid to both Kelantan and Terengganu – both now under PAS – it will be necessary for the federal government to keep its word.

At the same time, there are 10 promises by Pakatan Harapan to be done in 100 days, which means the end of the goods and services tax. Also, the Printing Press and Publications Act Fake News Act and others will be reviewed.

I believe the police will now face an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

This is a time needed to rebuild bridges among Malaysians. A heated election has frayed many a relationship – friends and even families have somehow ended up in disarray over politics.

Brothers should make peace among themselves. Parents and their children should do the same. Friends need to sit down and have a drink together and leave the shame and insults out the door and move on.

More importantly, we will be living in very interesting times where it will be differences of opinion between the liberals and conservatives, the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, and the multiple races and ethnicities – need to come together to once again push this country forward.

This new government, is an opportunity for Malaysians to once again end the division wrought by politics and religion for far too long.

To Pakatan Harapan and their supporters, I wish them congratulations and good luck running the government. I have hope that they will have the expertise and people to do what is necessary to take this nation to further heights as promised, even if I'm wary of how they will do it.

To PAS, I congratulate them on beating the odds that many thought they would be wiped out.

For Barisan Nasional, it is time, in the most ironic of ways – for a reformation. There will be an exodus among their membership, but they must retain their most loyal cadres and push for better leadership with the hope that they become an effective Opposition.

And to all Malaysians, this victory is yours. Stand tall and be proud of our country. Keep faith in our Jalur Gemilang, people.

Hafidz Baharom is a public relations practitioner. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com