Oleh Lim Hong Siang
Seorang anak muda
memakai baju Himpunan Hijau, berdiri dalam keadaan cuaca yang sejuk di
"pasar malam" Taiwan, menjulang papan dengan tulisan "Wahai rakyat
Malaysia, jom balik undi. Jangan biarkan pendatang asing menentukan masa depan kita."
Padahal, bukan seorang anak muda Malaysia sahaja yang berbuat demikian,
tetapi "kelakuan" yang sama juga ditemui di stesen LRT di Taiwan.
Ramai pelajar Cina melanjutkan pengajian mereka di Taiwan.
Jadi kelakuan ini barangkali boleh menarik perhatian warga Malaysia yang lalu di situ.
Kisahnya tidak terhenti begitu saja. Seorang pelajar di Taiwan telah
membelanjakan kos sara hidup bulanannya untuk membeli tiket penerbangan
supaya balik mengundi. Beliau mengakui sememangnya ia membebankan,
tetapi berbanding dengan masa depan Malaysia, harga yang dibayar itu
Malaysia's 13th General Elections on May 5 will be the most important -- and the most hard-fought -- in Malaysian history. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and its coalition partners have ruled the nation since its independence in 1957. But now, for the first time in history, the Malaysian opposition is united and strong, and it believes it has a real chance of coming to power.
And also for the first time, UMNO, as well as those who have
benefited politically and economically from their connections to the
ruling party, fear that the voters might reject their party and the
system that have governed the country continuously for over five
This is not simply a question of who wins. There are major
differences between the ruling party's and the opposition's approaches
to political and human rights, economic policy, and affirmative action.
An opposition victory would bring change in many areas. The opposition
promises to shift the focus of the government's affirmative action
programs from a race-based to a needs-based system. It pledges it will
crack down on the corruption and crony capitalism that is holding back
the country's economic potential, and open up more political space by
easing the restrictions on political freedom.
Fortunately for the United States, there are no appreciable
differences in the foreign policies of either side. But what happens on
May 5 will have a major impact on Malaysia's future political and
economic direction, and that is why we in the outside world need to pay
No matter who wins, a realignment of Malaysian politics is
inevitable. Win or lose, there will be pressures on the current Prime
Minister, Najib Tun Razak, to step down. Win or lose, UMNO will have to
decide whether to "re-invent" itself, something it failed to do after
the last elections in 2008, when it suffered major losses.
If it does decide to change, then the question is whether it will be
in the direction of more openness, or whether it is towards appealing to
the more chauvinistic Malay elements in its party. If it is the latter,
which I believe is more likely, then we can expect to see more racial
polarization in the country as well as continued emigration by
minorities, and especially college-educated minorities, to Singapore and
Too close to call