The past week was a historic week that Malaysians will never forget – exhilarating times for Malaysians not only inside country, but for everyone in the Malaysian Diaspora all over the world, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans.
For the first time in many years, Malaysians can hold their heads high and not feel ashamed as Malaysians despite their deep love and great patriotism for the country.
They can now proudly declare that they are Malaysians when abroad instead of trying to avoid or evade the question about their nationality for they were themselves ashamed of Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy and the monstrous charade by the Malaysian powers-that-be that the 1MDB money-laundering scandal, described by US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions at an international conference as “kleptocracy at its worst”, simply did not exist.
They can now proudly tell the world that they have proved the international society, which had expected the return of the political status quo in Malaysia in the 14th General Election, wrong and that Malaysians are capable of self-correction and self-renewal, to re-set nation building policies and direction after going down the wrong path along the trajectory towards a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state.
The week that started on Polling Day on May 9, 2018 began on a most insidious note, as key Pakatan Harapan leaders throughout the country had their mobile telephones sabotaged and disabled by incessant incoming calls from the United States and Greece, an international bots attack which must have cost a lot of money and which did not end until near the close of polling at 5 p.m. that day.
But there was an air of determination throughout the country, with Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation, not prepared to be cowed by strong-armed tactics or lured by short-term gains from saving Malaysia, conscious that this was a “Now or Never” moment for the country if we were to re-set nation-building policies and directions, and that another opportunity in the foreseeable future was not likely to present itself.
It is no exaggeration to say that Malaysians voted not so much for any individual candidate but for the nation and future generations, to Save Malaysia from hurtling along the trajectory towards a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state and to grasp the “Now or Never” moment to start anew on the journey towards a Malaysian Dream to be a model to the world as to how a nation of diverse races, religions, languages and cultures could be united, harmonious, democratic, progressive and prosperous, with a thriving democracy and a government of integrity guided by the principles of good governance and accountability.
It was a very long night.
As the late hours that night on Polling Day dragged into the early hours of the next morning, I remember Ambiga Sreenivasam asking me at Sheraton Hotel, where Pakatan Harapan leaders and MPs had converged from all over the country, why the Pakatan Harapan Chairman Tun Mahathir Mohamad could not announce to an increasingly anxious and tense nation that Pakatan Harapan had achieved the simple parliamentary majority to form the new Malaysian Government and for him to be sworn in as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Ambiga however agreed that Mahathir cannot make any such announcement until we were sure that the component parties of Pakatan Harapan had achieved the magic number of 112 MPs representing the simple majority of the total of 222 Parliamentary seats – a task which had been made exceedingly difficult because of the unco-operative and dilatory attitude of Election Commission.
Against impossible odds, Malaysia is set to be reborn.
Great challenges and hard work lies ahead of us but we must never forget our Malaysian Dream to achieve a united, harmonious, just, democratic, progressive and prosperous Malaysian nation where every Malaysian, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation can feel proud to be a Malaysian – whether inside or outside the country.