The GE is over and the dust has not yet fully settled in some states where the opposition has taken over the state government. According to Malaysiakini, Lim Guan Eng has just been sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Penang. It is definitely a defining moment for Penang. Yesterday, Kedah also had its new Chief Minister, a representative from PAS.
Naturally, expectations are high and I believe the euphoria felt by the supporters of PAS, PKR and DAP has not died down. Everywhere I go, I still see and hear people excitedly sharing their joy over the results of the General Election wherein BN took a hefty beating. People are now talking about seeing changes happening and a brighter future for Malaysia. In fact, people are also talking about having a different coalition government the next GE comes around. Apparently, notwithstanding BN's heavy losses, the rakyat is baying for more blood and wants BN to be the opposition party comes next GE. The hatred for the BN leadership is so real that it is dumbfounding when the BN leadership are left wondering what freak storm or typhoon have they just encountered. Seperti katak dibawah tempurung ("Just like a frog under a coconut shell"), the BN leaders chose not to face reality but has instead become sore losers - Zam, Ong Ka Chuan and Ali Rustam included. Either they are truly ignorant or they have been living in the lofty isolation in their world of VVIP treatment that they have become disconnected with the ordinary rakyat's feelings of disenchantment and disillusion.
So, what's for the future? Many supporters of opposition parties have wasted no time congratulation their winning candidates but quite a majority of them have also at the same breath told these new opposition leaders whom they have voted into Parliament or the State Assembly to start delivering and producing results. Like what I have said earlier, expectations are high - almost unrealistic, to a certain extent. Each of us want them to do this and that. Get the roads paved, improve the road transportation system, reduce assessment rates, etc. In most requests (or demands, depending on how you look at it), they are selfish in nature. My needs, my neighbourhood's needs and the like.
My view is this. The opposition parties, especially those which have formed state governments, must make it their priority to clean up the administration - from the local council to the land office. It is an open secret that corruption is rife and unless the corrupted are exposed, removed and charged in a court of law, the very same people who have been depleting the nation's resources will continue to wreck havoc. The system must be throughly cleansed right from the top. Talented people must be appointed and recruited to administer the government and state regardless of race, religion, political affinity or family links. Real and effective change can only take place when the system is clean of corruption and talented people run the system. Anybody can get the job of repaving the roads or building a new highway to ease traffic congestion but if these people are as corrupted or incompetent as their predecessors, we are back to square one.
The ordinary people's first and foremost priority would be to ensure that a clean up takes place. The system must be revamped to one which is truly accountable and transparent. Existing contracts and proposed contracts must be reviewed to ascertain their economic viability. The nation must brave itself for the realities of a recession looming and unnecessary expenditure must be rejected or trimmed. A prudent manager of a company would trim costs and raise cash reserves to cope with bad times. Once this is done, the manager would be able to assess the priorities of spending. So, while all of us wish our newly elected leaders do something about that problem affecting us, let us give them a chance to see what is being spent, how it can be reduced and what surplus can be used to improve and upgrade the living conditions and lifestyle of the people.
There must be further pressure exerted on the Federal Government to repeal draconian laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 which called for licensing of mainstream newspapers, amongst other publications. We have all seen how biased the mainstream media was in the run up to elections. The people demand a fairer and accurate dissemination of information so that we can assess the leaders' performances.
We have all seen the role of internet media in creating awareness amongst the people in the run up to the elections. Likewise, I believe that the people would be spending more time on the net looking and searching for information on their leaders and what they have been up to. It is thus necessary, as a progressive nation and leadership, to have a proper website presence to enable a proper channel of communication between the leaders and the rakyat. By a proper website, I mean one which is professional set up - which can be done for less than RM400 with a domain name included. Dear leaders, please don't use the free platforms like Blogger, Blogsome or some other free sites. Be professional and mean business. Project a dynamic image and don't use templates which are oh so 1990s. We are now nearing 2010, mind you! Just take a look at Obama, Clinton and McCain's website to see how modern and interactive their sites are. Please don't harp about how we are becoming an IT nation or moving towards IT when you (the leaders) are not even IT savvy in reaching out to your people. And please ensure you have details on how we can provide feedback to you unlike somebody's son-in-law who removed the ability to leave comments on his new website probably because he cannot take the heat.
And people, if the road don't get paved, the drains don't get unclogged and the assessment rates don't get reduced, hold on your horses (especially towards the new state governments). Give them a bit more time. You gave BN 50 years, didn't you? So, don't be so unfair as to demand 50 years' of neglect be fully resolved in 5 years. If you are aware of any malpractices committed by the previous state governments or even the federal government, now is the time to expose all their dirty practices. Hand in the evidence to the new state government for action. It will be political mileage for them anyway. Let us all move towards a new era of being adverse to corruption. For your sake, my sake and our children's sake.