This is a commentary post on GE14. Not about who won – although I am elated about that – but about things that was suddenly unearthed after the results came in. Wherever possible, I added a personal finance element (gotta keep to the theme of this website), but some of them are just musings about what we just experienced.
Special thanks to post-GE14 TwitterJaya. I wouldn’t have been able to give these observations if not for them. Where possible, I’ve added the link to the original poster.
What Malaysians Found Out Post-GE14, In No Particular Order
- We’re actually a talent-rich nation. This is shameful, but I didn’t even take the time to learn about Pakatan leaders and enablers before the election. When they won, and the press/netizens share about their accomplishments over the years, I can’t help but be wow-ed by not just their achievements, but also their raw steadfastness to their causes. All these while I thought Malaysia lacks capable individuals, but no, we don’t. They’re just not in positions of power until now.
- Our women leaders are amazing. Dr Wan Azizah. Nurul Izzah. Hannah Yeoh. Maria Chin. All these women and more, to put simply, rock. Help me out and sign your name to this call for at least 30% women representation in the cabinet. When you elect women into office, you get higher economic growth. Note: As of writing time, names for the new government’s full cabinet have not been released yet.
- Psychological warfare used by the previous government and their supporters to businesses and employees. Up until the eve of May 9th, pro-Pakatan businesses and employees have to play nice with the government and pro-government supporters, for obvious reasons. That’s common knowledge, but I didn’t know the extent of what happened behind the scenes until they were dished out on social media. There was a lot of ‘if you don’t do what we say, we’ll make it hard for your business to continue, your staff will suffer, and it’s all because of you’ and ‘if you don’t support BN, you are fired’. Can you imagine how it feels like to be powerless against that kind of shit behaviour? The most obvious reference here is Tony Fernandes, but shoutouts go to business owners who do what they can to protect their employees’ livelihood while navigating thinly-veiled threats. Shoutouts also go to those who resigned because they can’t and won’t compromise their ethics.
- The tell-alls about people (aside from Najib and Rosmah) who misuse public funds. Read here and here for stories about a certain fella. Comment below if you have personally witnessed something like this.
- PR teams deployed by the previous government to attack online dissenters and shape pro-BN narratives. One of my most eye-opening moment post-GE14 elections was this confessional piece by Ratu Naga, who admitted to orchestrating fake news operations for seven years. ‘Cyber warfare’ strategies include spreading misinformation and manipulating emotions through the use of religious/racial issues. The article said she led 80 cybertroopers who ran ‘thousands of fake social media accounts’ in 2013. The biggest personal lesson for me here: question the legitimacy of everything that makes me feel angry – there’s a possibility it was created for such a purpose.
- The rise of personal responsibility. To be fair, I don’t know if this is the general view, or just in the communities I was in. But I saw a lot of netizens directly and indirectly calling for personal contributions for the love of our nation. I saw posts shaming people who still expect the continuation of handout culture (like demanding free PTPTN), posts calling overseas Malaysians to come back and serve here, posts from young adults who express interest in joining the civil service, among others. There is less ‘I’ and more ‘We’ now, I love it.
- Malaysian > [insert race]. I mean… when Lim Guan Eng said he doesn’t consider himself Chinese, he’s Malaysian, I legit teared up. An act of civil disobedience – if not absolutely necessary, I think I’ll stop filling in the race section in surveys and forms 😛 (Note: I also found out he went to jail to defend an underaged Malay girl who was raped by an UMNO minister!)
- New respect for our elders! Don’t even pretend we don’t live in a youth-obsessed culture. But post-GE14, it’s a different story – much respect to Pakatan Harapan senior leaders and the Council of Elders. I mean, damn, our PM is 92 years old and still as sharp as anything! Wisdom and experience are back in style yo.
- New respect for our youths! Despite the mid-week voting, despite our generation’s minimal savings, our youths still went out to vote. Where there were obstacles, there were independently-organised initiatives to help out (remember #PulangMengundi?).
- Mat Sabu memes. Mat Sabu, our new Defence Minister gets so much love from netizens, I can’t help but to lol. If there’s ONE link you should click from this article, it’s this one hahaha. But seriously though, I hope he will do a good job.
- The call for check and balance. It’s a bit surreal to hear commentaries about Malaysian politics finally maturing to the point where we have two-party systems now. Thankfully, the new government seems to be sending the right messages: asking voters to provide feedback, encouraging transparency in the press, and calling for BN to act as a strong opposition to keep them in check.
- The role of investors in all this. Financial markets are usually negatively affected by a change in governance, due to perceptions of instability. Investors holding Malaysian stocks, currency and commodities, asking your help to minimise the impact. Markets are predicted to dip, but hey, think of it more as a buying opportunity! I saw some people on Twitter already sharing their plans to buy more when the markets open. So yeah, go and stock up 🙂
- And last but not least, the joy in knowing that change is possible in Malaysia. Like seriously, did you predict Pakatan’s win? I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t. Yet they did. Malaysia is not ‘stuck’ in our old ways after all!
Did any of the above observations surprise you? They’re all harvested online – but you know, I’m just one person, so I’m sure I missed out on discussions happening in other communities. What else would you add to the list?