THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

> Hope and fear

Today, the nation celebrates the first anniversary of the day that promised much for our blessed country.

Or so we thought.

We placed our hopes for the scenery and skyline of Malaysia to be transformed into one that translates into prosperity and harmony to every single citizen.

Everyone was brimming with confidence that that very day is the defining moment that will mark a change for the betterment of Malaysia.

We thought our rights will be respected, we thought we would be accorded the freedom that we crave and we thought we will have substantial and significant role to play in building the nation.

Did we hoped for too much? Maybe just a tad too much.

One thing is certain, the political landscape have definitely changed, maybe too drastic for some but change it definitely was.

Those who voted in Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Perak have been awarded with new chief executives and wholesome revamped state cabinets that we thought would realize all the hopes and dreams that we invested by marking that "X" on the voting slip.

While we are still waiting for meaningful changes to our lives, we have been presented with mixed outcomes which are exasperating and at the same time comical to say the least.

Perakians are confused now more than ever after the bloodless and the very expensive coup-de-tat by the BN.

We saw how an unknown leader from an orthodox Islamist party lead a state government comprised mainly of supposedly chauvinistic political leaders with dynamism, cohesiveness and consensus building.

However, that leader was unable to keep some recalcitrants to stay within his coalition and the rest they say is history.

On the other hand, Selangor saw a corporate leader turned chief executive of the richest state in Malaysia.

While Selangor enjoyed cheap water bill and a more friendly local council, news coming out from the state was inundated with controversies involving maintenance of the MB's Lexus, cows to be slaughtered and a proposed high tech pig farm.

In Penang, the people welcomed a new Chief Minister who started off on the wrong foot wanting to dismantle the New Economic Policy (NEP).

As he picked up fast the tricks of the trade, he leapfrogged into one of the most popular CM in the country.

Meanwhile, Kedahans experienced almost zero conflict from both sides of the divide until recently.

The extreme Ustaz has pleasantly and surprisingly turned out to be a very wise man with very moderate views.

Meanwhile, UMNO and its BN coalition members were embroiled in a slugging contest among themselves.

We also saw politicians and patriot wannabies attempt to pull the society apart with their highly charged racist rhetorics.

We saw how the powers that be try to strike fear into the hearts of Malaysians through threats and coercion using outdated repressive acts.

So, have our lives changed? Yes but...

Too many resources -time, money and manpower- have been wasted on excessive politicking whilst both the old guards and the newbies lose track of the needs and wants of the people.

In a time of dire economic conditions, the nation and the people need to be prepared to be protected from the aftermath of an impending recession.

We must not allow these sly and extreme elements to disrupt and sway our focus from the real issues at hand i.e. the economy and welfare of the people.

The government, be it Pakatan or BN, must not run away from the priority to resuscitate the economy and at the same time address the welfare of the nation.

It is timely that the politicians from BN and Pakatan who many a times add that bit of cynicism in our daily lives to start pulling their weight and live up to expectations as our vote (read : trust) for them is not absolute - The Malaysian Insider.