The big mammoth gathering at Merdeka Stadium on 12 January 2013 affirms certain things:
1. That people who supported various causes, such as AntiLynas, Bersih for clean election etc are peace loving people and can gather harmoniously and peacefully. This also reflected badly on the handling of some of the previous rallies, such as Bersih 3.0, in which excessive force were used to break up (some called it to punish) the rally, resulting in many people including journalists suffering various forms of injuries. After this peaceful rally, it would be hard for the authority in future to deny the holding of rallies or to use force to crackdown . Malaysia has certainly come a long way since Merdeka.
2. That there is still massive support for the opposition despite the handling out of goodies. For everyone who is there, there will be many times more who prefer to stay back at home or who for one reason or another could not attend. This blogger, for example, was unable to attend since I was down with Gastroenteritis with diarrhoea and fever , resulting me from taking leave from my clinic, and the fear of unable to control my bowels forced me to make the decision to stay away from this rally. Despite the handouts, which may have more effects in ‘buying’ support from rural folks, most urbanites would just take the handouts and still vote the perceived better side, without being sway by the goodies.
3. That the coming election is still touch and go. even a top office bearer of an Government linked bank has indicated according to his calculation, the opposition has a slight chance of winning. Even some of the BN politicians privately concede that if 2008 was tough, this is even tougher. That may be one of the reasons why after so many wolf cries, election has still not be held.
I have personally stated many times that I think despite the good support for the opposition, it should not take things for granted and at this stage more than another other time, it should try to avoid publicly stating anything that may seem divisive to the coalition . It should also not try to be complacent and act as if the battle has been won. Well, even though many battles have been won, the war itself has not.
At this stage, the opposition should concentrate on winning and do what they have down so well: concentrate attacking the wrong doings of the incumbents, concentrate on issues that have won them support (like antiLynas, corruption, wastage or abuse of power) and expose any wrong doings.
Of course, BN would also be going all out to expose any wrong doings of PR. This is actually good for the people. This is what a 2 party system should be: check and balance which will ultimately lead to better governance. At the same time, it should, even at this eleventh hour, try to cleanse itself of corrupt candidates and officials in order to try to win back some of the support. Merely giving handouts may not work as well as they expect. It is policy changes and real transformation to a cleaner and fairer government that will gain back support.
Malaysia has come a long way. We are starting to dismantle many of the barriers to true democracy. While we journey on, there are still many bumps and holes in our path, but we should all persist to overcome all the difficulties.
The light at the end of the tunnel is now brighter!