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Will Malaysian General Elections Bring Change?

The Malaysian Parliament was dissolved by Prime Minister Najib Razak on April 3, 2013 paving the way for the 13th general election in the country.

In his blog, the Prime Minister wrote about his vision for Malaysia, and talked about his government’s track record. Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition, has been in power for many decades already:

I want to share with you my vision for Malaysia. It is a vision of a confident nation: one that celebrates its differences, and draws strength from its diversity; where economic growth brings more profitable businesses, more employment, and better lives; where political reform brings greater security and freedom; and where national unity brings stability and prosperity.

Our track record shows that we are a government that delivers and keeps its promises. I want us to be proud of what we have achieved, and ignore those who try and talk Malaysia down. There is still much work to be done. But our country has made great progress over the past four years and we should be proud of that. We expect to become a high-income nation by 2018 – two years ahead of schedule – which is a remarkable achievement.

This is real change. But our national transformation is still only a story half told. With a strong mandate at this election, we can finish the job. This election is not about the past, it is about the future. It is about the country we want to be. The choice before you is between competing pictures of our future. One is pessimistic and divided, the other clear and optimistic. One is unprepared and full of uncosted and empty promises, the other methodical and fully tested.

An election banner by the ruling party during the 2008 elections. Photo from Flickr  page of angshah, used under CC License

An election banner by the ruling party during the 2008 elections. Photo from Flickr page of angshah, used under CC License

However, many Malaysians do not share that view, and Vincent Loy was one of them:

Time for change. I have mentioned it a lot of time. The current ruling coalition had been given 56 years of mandate to govern the country. Yes, the country observed steady economic progress (but not as good as many others) but with corruption and ‘dark’ political plays behind plus with inefficiency of the government, there has to be a ‘stop’ for all that. It’s seriously the time to at least give the opposition a chance, for a term of five years to try, for a fresh new change to the country. If the opposition can’t perform also, then we will bring them down too.

Financial Sith Lord, however, was also doubtful about the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) ability to deliver on its promises:

The questions in my mind are these.. Can BN continue to bring positive and total changes to the country? Can Pakatan rule effectively if they were given the chance? Put aside all political promises, lies and bullshits.. When the shovel comes to shove, can Pakatan deliver? We have seen BN deliver and fail, but have we seen Pakatan deliver?

What say you?

The Rambling Trio also offered a neutral stance:

Let's start with PR, what if they win? My prediction is that the country will be in the state of chaos. To what extent, I am not sure but I would place my bet that riots will be a common story in the news. This is because things isn't easy when a government that has been in power for more than 50 years goes down… Will they leave peacefully? How much things have been hidden and kept secret may be dug again. Aside from that, the government coalition at that time, the PR isn't solid enough that issues which are currently still unsolved might crack the coalition, perhaps. Processes for businesses will get tougher as things are based on merit which is good but I am sure some business owner will not be happy.

An election polling place in Malaysia in 2008. Photo from Flickr page of owaief89, used under CC License

An election polling place in Malaysia in 2008. Photo from Flickr page of owaief89, used under CC License

Some reacted to the news on Twitter using the hashtag #ge13:

@nikicheong: Good luck to all candidates. My wish is for free and fair elections, and may the people's choice win. Bring it on. #GE13

@hafizhamidun: For me, Pas or umno or keadilan or whatsoever parties for #GE13 , as long as they are playing clean, they will win. Wait, dirts everywhere!

@Al_Apun Hope 4 this coming #ge13 is the govt will be change. Enough is enough. So long @NajibRazak and gang. #jomubah

@hannahyeoh From prison to 3 April 2013 @anwaribrahim is one step closer to becoming our new PM!

The chairman of the Election Commission of Malaysia said that a general election must be held on May 28, 2013.

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