Monday, May 25

What a difference a year makes


JUST over a year ago, who would have thought that we could all see a new government at the reins in Malaysia after 61 years of the same old regime? I must admit that the last time I cast a vote for a BN-SUPP (Sarawak United People’s Party) candidate, he happened to be a close friend and a former boss of mine who has since retired from politics.

On the night of May 9, 2018, I had told myself (as did many of my friends) that we had just witnessed history being made; and that we had actually lived to see the day that we had elected into power a NEW government – a coalition of parties that spells hope for the future of our beloved nation.

We had high hopes then, which were somewhat dampened by the prolonged delayed swearing in of the new Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir; and we had celebrated by cracking open a bottle of our favourite single-malt to toast the memorable occasion when it did come to pass.

How have our hopes turned out?

After the initial euphoria had died down, we could forgive the early chaotic bickering among the new partners in the new coalition as they tried to put together the best possible team to form a government. It was not easy.

Political affiliations, a need to cater for and fit everyone into the new cabinet, on the one hand to satisfy party loyalties, on the other picking suitably experienced and capable people from a somewhat mixed pool of talent – and ultimately trying to balance both mainland needs and those of Sarawak and Sabah.

At the end of the day, you cannot hope to fully satisfy everyone’s expectations.

Then came the usual attacks from the parties that had lost. All the Barisan National fellas had gone to town with all the likely and possible brickbats and public outcry as you could only dream of. From condemning the new PH (Pakatan Harapan) government of not fulfilling or even turning around on some of their promises in their election manifestos (since when did BN even fulfil half of theirs in the first place when they had been in power for 61 years?), to using the age-old bogeyman of race and religion when an important portfolio was given to a non-Malay and a non-Muslim. BN stalwarts must have had memory lapses on past non-Malays and non-Muslims by the names of Tun Tan Siew Sin and VT Sambanthan.

Who do we bless today, a year on? Who do we blame for the past?

Firstly, we bless our 93-year-old Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir, on record now as the world’s oldest PM – and it’s the second time around! We wish him a long life (he has said he will take on the reins for only two years), and even when Anwar Ibrahim succeeds him a year from now, we are certain he will remain as a much Yoda-like advisor and mentor to the government thereafter.

We also bless all those who have now been seated in the cabinet, in their public positions, as well as all in the civil service, and those having a say in the day to day running of the government – to carry on and continue to do an honest day’s work to help our beloved nation recover from the years of BN misrule, corrupted ways, wayward dealings, and many shady operations and mismanagement – to stand up, stand out, and be counted as an upright, true, and loyal citizens of Malaysia, to make us once again take our rightful place in the world.

We also bless those who have been selfless, longsuffering, and loyal supporters – unwavering in the face of victimisation, of being threatened, blacklisted, and even jailed – who have fought the good fight, and believed all along that the day will surely come when we will triumph over all that’s bad and evil. You know who you are. You are still standing, wiping away those tears of joy from this day a year ago.

Who do we blame?

We blame those who had been in power for the past 61 years, who had robbed, ravaged, disgraced, assaulted, cheated, dishonoured, and run our nation almost to the ground – to almost being like a banana republic with an unjust and unfair system of being a one-man, one-party state, bordering on a dictatorship and being used as a private ATM to cash out and share the spoils of pilferage and corruption among like-minded relatives, political cronies, and lapdogs.

We blame those who had stepped aside, turned a blind eye, or had even assisted and abetted while all this was going on. How else could RM711 million worth of jewellery, posh handbags, watches, and 26 different currencies worth of cash be found otherwise; and anything between US$4 billion to US$8 billion in personal bank accounts? It still boggles the mind.

We blame the hapless, helpless electorate kept in the dark, or left unbelieving despite being told and shown the evidence of such pillage – be they living in the rural kampungs or in the high living skyscrapers – who’d rather believe the lies being fed to them by those in high places and in power.

We blame those bystanders, who preferred to stay aloof from it all, not taking sides, sitting on the fence, happy with their lot in life – for their own selfish reasons, be it an honorific title they had been awarded, a government contract too lucrative to risk losing, or just not wanting to play politics. There are no grey areas here mate, it’s either black or white. Take your pick.

Lastly, we blame the many well-paid cyber-troopers, who continue to sabotage the new PH government in all ways possible – like creating a misunderstanding and a stand-off between the constitutional monarchy and the executive branch.

Nothing is left to chance as their only aim is to ensure that the PH government must fall, and that Umno must return to power.

Their sole aim is to return us to the bad old days of Umno, and all who had depended on them so they could continue to enjoy the corrupted ways and the devilish fruits of the past 61 years.

I conclude with the words of a favourite Kris Kristofferson song from 1975:

If a cheated man’s a loser
And a cheater never wins
And if beggars can’t be choosers
‘til they’re weak and wealthy men
And the old keep getting older
And the young must do the same
And it’s never getting better
Who’s to bless and who’s to blame?

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