Headline news: Penang, Kelantan, Kedah, Selangor, Perak fall to opposition hands.
In: Jeyakumar Devaraj, Charles Santiago, Nurul Izzah, Prof Ramasamy, Tian Chua, Khairy(!)
Out: Samy Vellu, Zam, Sharizat, Awang Adek, Koh Tsu Koon
5.47am – The results couldn’t be any better in terms of the fine balance among the opposition parties. PKR has the most opposition seats in Parliament but the lowest in terms of state seats. On the other hand, Pas has the most state seats but the least parliamentary seats. Pas has the most seats in two state governments, the DAP in two as well, while the multi-ethnic PKR helms the strategically important Selangor government and will probably lead the Parliamentary Opposition. It’s a victory for multi-ethnic politics; it also shows what is possible when ethnic and religious barriers are broken. Good night, Malaysia!
5.07am – Latest tally of parliamentary seats (219 out of 222 parliamentary seats counted):
BN – 137; PKR – 31; DAP – 28; Pas – 23
This means the Opposition has denied the BN a two-thirds’ majority.
It also means that PKR will emerge as the largest opposition party and its coalition with Pas could lead to Anwar Ibrahim standing in a by-election and – if he wins – going on to become Parliamentary Opposition Leader.
Latest tallies of state seats for the opposition states:
Penang: BN 11 – Opposition 29 (DAP – 19, PKR – 9; Pas – 1)
Perak: BN 28 – Opposition 31 (DAP – 18; PKR – 7; Pas – 6)
Kelantan: BN 6 – Opposition 39 (Pas – 38; PKR -1)
Selangor:BN 20 – Opposition 36 (PKR – 15; DAP – 13, Pas – 8 )
Kedah: BN 14 – Opposition 22 (Pas – 16; PKR – 4; DAP – 1; Ind – 1)
3.39am – I just want to say I am so proud of all of you Malaysians who have struggled to end oppression and injustice in our land. So many people played a part, in their own little way – whether by sending text messages and emails urging their friends to vote or by simply raising awareness among family members and friends or by attending ceramahs to show support and solidarity. Now, we can really be proud to be Malaysian, for we have fought the good fight and will continue to struggle for Justice always. After all these years of struggle and sacrifice, we now see some results, by the grace of God.
Actually, I knew something awesome was going to happen when a heavy downpour hit Penang this afternoon. I told my friends this was hujan keramat, showers of blessing. Okay, since I am sleepless in Penang, maybe a simple prayer of thanksgiving would be good:
“Almighty God/Allah, thank you for an amazing night. You are a God of Justice, Truth and Compassion. You love especially the poor, the meek, the marginalised and the overburdened. You want your people to be ruled with Justice and Peace. Thank you for taking us a major step forward in this direction. Thank you for making all of us more aware of the importance of the struggle for Justice and Truth. Let Justice flow like a mighty river in our land. Thank you, Lord. Amen/Amin.”
3.26am – This could be the icing on the cake for the Opposition. Harakah reports that Anwar has announced: “The BA has succeed in forming the governent in five states, that is, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak dan Selangor… We have succeeded in denying (the BN) a two-thirds’ majority in Parliament.”
2.50am – Before the new Penang state government can even be formed, a Penangite in Sarawak, Andrew, phones me to relay probably the first demand: “Tell the new state government to turn the Penang Turf Club (PTC) into a state park. I don’t care how they do it – buy back the land from the developer if necessary – but when I come back, I want to take a walk in our new state park.”
That means, the PGCC has to go. The DAP and PKR should remember that its candidates for the area vowed to the Turf Club’s neighbouring residents that they would oppose the PGCC. Now there are calls and demands for the land to be turned into a state park.
Says another Penangite: “Looking at the recent turns of events, I strongly believe that the PTC land should be made even greener than it is – it should just be a Penang People’s Park and NOTHING ELSE. We can discuss the detailed elements to be included later (see below) but let ‘s look at the bigger picture first.
“With the Light (project) coming up along the coastal expressway (it’s rather quiet, does anyone know the latest news about this project?), with the Penang Time Square taking shape in the city, with Komtar’s fate still hanging in limbo, and with so many multi-million ringgit bungalows and highrise residential properties mushrooming around the island (Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah, the Light, Bayan Bay (Queensbay now?) etc. which are effectively out of the economic reach of most Penangites, we do not need any more property development of the PGCC kind or of its yet-to-be-revealed down-scaled but surely elitist version. What Penang is missing more is an interconnected network of blue and green spaces that anchors and penetrates all the built-up areas and that provides the much needed high quality spaces for various recreational and sporting activities some of us have passionately described. In fact, greening the PTC land is ONLY THE BEGINNING.” More on this in a later entry.
2.28am – A journalist friend from the mainstream media phones: “The MIC has been reduced to ashes. It is on the verge of obliteration.” It’s top leadership has been almost wiped out – Samy, Palanivel, Sothinathan, Vigneswaran, Komala Devi…
But another friend phones to point out an irony: “There is now more ethnic Indian Malaysian representation in Parliament and the state assemblies than ever before – this time coming from the opposition ranks. We never needed the MIC and its racial politics.”
2.19am – The BN has now clinched a simple parliamentary majority, according to TV3. Abdullah Badawi and Najib hold hands and raise them up briefly before walking away. Does that mean the BN has lost its two-thirds majority? Commentator on TV3 only acknowledging that the BN has lost Penang and Kelantan, with a couple of other states “tergugat“. Another commentator is asking if the DAP will now work with Pas in Penang or will Pas sit in opposition ranks in the State Assembly. These are the new ‘ujian‘ and ‘cabaran‘, according to them.
2.10am – I don’t know about you – I am sleepy and yet I don’t want to sleep! My friend Kok Keong observes all the way from the United States: “Samy Vellu was reduced to having nothing to say upon learning about his defeat to Jeyakumar! This according to NST, which reported that as soon as he got the news of his loss, he hastily left Dewan Konvensyen and managed to say only ‘goodbye’ to supporters and reporters!”
Now, I can tell you that if anyone deserves to defeat Samy Vellu, it’s Jeyakumar, who has persevered for nine years and three elections to finally triumph over the powerful MIC leader. Some of you might not know that Kumar was once awarded a Gold Medal for Community Service by the Malaysian Medical Association and he has quietly served the community all this while, behind the scenes, despite not holding any public office. The people of Sg Siput have finally recognised his tremendous dedication, determination and self-sacrifice.
Meanwhile, Astro 501 now confirms that Rafidah has won again by around a thousand majority.
1.58am – A convoy of ten motorbikes, each bearing a PKR flag, is honking continuously in celebration as they pass by near my home. The young Malays are happy as their party is now in a coalition government with the DAP in Penang and has made big gains elsewhere.
1.55am – Selbyn sends this message: “After this weekend, Malaysians should eventually stop using the term “opposition”. It should be just different political parties/alliances functioning and contesting in a constitutional democratic country.”
1.36am – Peaceout sends this message: “A new day has arrived in sunny Malaysia! For many, they have waited about 40 years for this new wave of change. Power to the People & Makkal Sakthi ! The miraculous power of prayer has rocked Malaysia – without a doubt – GOD’s intervention! Malaysians be proud, don’t walk in fear, anymore, of those in power who have suppressed and oppressed us all in so many different ways. We have to hold our heads up high no matter what race we are or faith we believe in. To continue with peaceful rallies & protests if need be – should things not ‘change’ for the better according to all the promises made before elections. Our voices have been heard, Praise GOD and give thanks BUT do not be complacent though – carry on to make our voices heard always! To our Opposition – our future hopes – congratulations & make that change for all Malaysians! Peace Out & love to all Malaysians who dared to make a difference. God bless You. A new day, indeed!”
1.33am – The amazing story continues – a report from the NST: “As at 11.30pm, unofficial results show that PKR won Pantai Jerejak (Sim Tze Tzin), Kebun Bunga (Ong Khan Lee), Bukit Tengah (Ong Chin Wen), Bukit Tambun (Law Choo Kiang), Batu Uban (V S Raveenthran) and Pulau Betong (Mansor Othman). Pas incumbent candidate Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman retained the Permatang Pasir seat. The political tsunami which swept Penang, ending Gerakan’s 36-year rule of the state described as the party’s Jewel in the Crown, was not unexpected.” Let us hope the mainstream media will turn over a new leaf.
1.25am – More messages pour in, this one from Jude: “I never thought I’d live to see this day! The people have spoken. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. This is a victory for all ordinary malaysians. May this be the dawn of a new era for all Malaysians.”
1.20am – Strangely, TV3 reports that Rafidah has won.
1.15am – Astro 501 reports that “AP Queen” Rafidah is the latest casualty.
1.14am – Perak has fallen to opposition hands, according to a journalist friend working in the mainstream media.
12.56am – Amazingly, Lim Guan Eng will be the new Penang Chief Minister, PKR secretary general Khalid Ibrahim could be the new Selangor Mentri Besar, while a Pas candidate is likely to become Kedah Mentri Besar.
12.55am – I can hear honking on the streets in celebration.
12.41am – Selangor has fallen, with the opposition winning 35 out of the 56 seats. This night is getting unbelievable. The opposition parties are in discussions to form a new state government.
12.27am – A journalist working in a mainstream daily tells me that preliminary counting results indicate that Selangor has fallen to the Opposition. Perak could be next. I am getting conflicting reports about Perlis.
12.15am – The BN has retained Malacca.
12.09am – The Opposition has made inroads in Malacca while Tian Chua has won at Batu.
12.06am – Outgoing Penang chief minister Koh Tsu Koon has appeared on television at a press conference in Batu Kawan just before midnight to say the BN has lost 30 out of 40 seats in Penang. This means the new state government will have more than a two-thirds’ majority in the Penang State Assembly. He said that the opposition could possibly form a three-party alliance to take over the government. He gracefully conceded defeat while urging the people to remain calm.
11.59pm – The Election Commission’s website does not reflect reality. It’s midnight and they only have the results shown for 55 parliamentary seats: BN – 45, Pas -1, DAP – 6, PKR – 3. Still waiting for official results from 167 parliamentary seats.
11.55pm – Abdullah Badawi has reportedly accepted the defeat of the Barisan Nasional in several areas. He said that this is how democracy works, and urged people to remain calm and not to celebrate in the streets.
11.46pm – Pas supporters in Kota Bharu have gathered at the Kelantan Pas Liaison Office in Kota Bharu to celebrate their victory.
11.44pm – A journalist calls to tell me that the live coverage on rtm is a disgrace. He also adds,”That means there is no more PGCC (Penang Global City Centre) project now…” Now why didn’t I think of that! Time to drink a toast to that one.
11.37pm – I’d better get a drink. This might be a long night, at the rate the results are trickling in. Are you as sleepless as I am?
11.35pm – More text messages. This one from Chris: “Let’s pay tribute to Malaysians for their courage to stand up for truth and justice.”
11.31pm – Message from Bujang_burok in Sarawak: “Well done, Tsunami of Semenanjung! After the 12th GE, spread your wings to Sarawak. Our ‘Grey Hair’ is itching us so badly. Just couldn’t sleep – we keep scratching and scrubbing our heads. Please help to wake up our not-so-SNAPpy buddies. Or help us bark to register MDC. Or help us prune one of the no-good twigs of PRS.”
11.27pm – Blog reader Jude says: “ntv7, rtm1&2, TV3 all in denial mode. Some of their comments about voters being emotional and immature are really below the belt. Sour grapes from sour losers.”
11.25pm – I cannot access Malaysia Today now either.
11.17pm – Malaysiakini website goes down, probably due to heavy traffic.
11.16pm – Wan Azizah wins her Permatang Pauh seat with a bigger majority. MIC candidates fall like nine pins, led of course by Samy Vellu, who can now retire.
11.14pm – ntv7 reports that BN is leading by 43-4 in terms of parliamentary seats. Which planet are they on?
11.08pm – Anwar Ibrahim tells the international media that the government could lose its two-thirds majority in Parliament. “We have crossed the one-third majority. This is based on information from the candidates from the initial counting… This is a major victory… and we are moving up very fast towards 40 percent… We have thrashed the Barisan Nasional in its traditional seats, including Umno in its stronghold.”
“My concern now is why is there a deliberate delay on the part of the government-controlled media in announcing the results,” he said. “
“I feel truly vindicated by the mass support given to the opposition,” he told AFP. “Going forward, Malays, Indians and Chinese all have to work together and make us a formidable force.”
11.07pm – The earlier report about Khairy losing was incorrect. He seems to be leading now.
10.56pm – Kedah is the third state likely to fall. Unofficial results indicate that Pas and PKR have bagged 22 out of 36 state seats in Kedah. The DAP has also won a state seat. PAS/PKR are also likely to clinch six parliamentary seats. What is going on in Perlis and Malacca?
10.47pm – Pas has retained Kelantan with 31 out of 45 seats.
10.40pm – Sivarasah has won the Subang parliamentary seat. All three state seats in Subang have fallen to opposition hands: PSM’s Nasir has won the Kota Damansara state seat. Elizabeth Wong has also clinched her seat.
Khalid Ibrahim has won Bandar Tun Razak and the Ijok state seat. The PKR Wanita chief has won the Ampang parliamentary seat. Pas women’s leader Dr Lo’ Lo’ Ghazali has won in Titiwangsa.
Journalist Terence Netto tells me this is a “political tsunami”.
10.35pm – The earlier report was incorrect. Najib has actually won in Pekan with a huge majority.
10.33pm – As expected, Guan Eng wins the Bagan parliamentary seat.
10.26pm – Khairy appears to have lost after a recount. (Update: He actually won.) Zam seems to have lost. What’s happening to Najib? This is nothing short of an earthquake.
10.21pm – The DAP leadership has issued a good victory statement, urging everyone to remain calm. Former(!) Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon has apparently said he would facilitate the transition.
10.19pm – Unconfirmed reports: Kedah has fallen to opposition hands. Perlis could be slipping. BN has retained Trengganu but has lost seats. BN wins in Pahang are with significantly reduced majorities.
10.15pm – NST reports that Samy Vellu has lost to Jeyakumar. But is that before the recount?
10.08pm – Jeyakumar is leading Samy Vellu by around 2,000 votes in a recount. Keep praying!
10.06pm – My friend activist Charles Santiago has won in Klang! He will be an enormous asset to challenge the drift towards economic neoliberalism in Malaysia.
9.59pm – Unconfirmed reports say Najib and Samy Vellu have lost. (Update: Najib has actually won). If this is true, it is time to pop the champagne. The Star Online is only reporting Sabah and Sarawak results now!
9.52pm – PKR appears to have picked up half a dozen state seats in Penang. This augurs well for a multi-ethnic opposition…. err, I mean ruling coalition… in Penang! A new ruling coalition in Penang? That will take some getting used to. I wonder who will be the leader of the BN Opposition in the Penang State Assembly. Now, there’s a thought.
9.49pm – Phone call from a friend recalling the DAP’s massive rally at Han Chiang. It’s a reality check: “I was so moved to tears that night. Not because I was overwhelmed by the speakers, but I could see the enormous trust that ordinary people were placing on these opposition politicians. I just hope these opposition politicians do not betray that trust.”
9.45pm – Suddenly, the BN could find it rough going even at the federal level. Could the two-thirds majority be slipping?
9.43pm – Perlis, Kedah and Malacca could fall to opposition hands too. Out of the 12 seats in Wilayah, the BN may have won only two.
9.30pm – Another SMS from a Malay friend: “Should someone not wake Pak Lah up to inform him of the bad news?”
9.23pm – My relative is watching the results on TV. She says the score shows BN leading the Opposition 19-1 in parliamentary seats. She is shocked when I tell her Penang has fallen to the Opposition. When will they announce the real results on TV?
9.20pm – Just received an SMS saying Nurul Izzah has won in Lembah Pantai. Teresa Kok wins big. This is turning out to be an amazing night.
9.14pm – The DAP-PKR-Pas alliance appears to have won 25 seats out of 40 in Penang.
9.08pm – The Bernama website has no reports of election results. Kit Siang’s blog is down probably due to heavy traffic.
9.05pm – The NST reports that Penang has fallen to opposition hands: “After 40 years of continuous rule, the Barisan Nasional has lost the state government to the loose alliance of DAP, PKR and Pas, according to unofficial results from the polling centres. The loss is the biggest shock in tonight’s polls results.”
9.01pm – As at 8.30pm, The Star Online’s election updates have nothing to report on the situation in Penang. The Bernama website has no election results.
8.57pm – Ipoh falls too as Kit Siang and Kula triumph in their parliamentary seats.
8.56pm – The BN could retain Trengganu but Perlis, Kedah and even Selangor could be shaky.
8.52pm – To what extent is the Makkal Sakthi phenomenon responsible for this political quake?
8.45pm – Will Guan Eng be the new Chief Minister of Penang? The unexpected (well, not totally) is happening almost all over the country.
8.27pm – A friend of mine drives past Karpal Singh’s house. Someone there gives a thumbs up sign indicating that Karpal Singh has won. Ramasamy has knocked out Koh Tsu Koon in the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat. Now what for Koh?
8.25pm – The Opposition is likely to form the new state government in Penang. All three CM-designates from the Gerakan appear to have lost. This is just amazing. People Power has triumphed.
8.20pm – The change is all over the country. Incredible! There is a shift in Malay votes in Terengganu towards the Opposition. Nasharuddin has won his seat against Awang Adek in Bachok in Kelantan. Opposition is leading in 33 seats in Kelantan. Four parliamentary seats in Sarawak are likely to go to Opposition.
8.10pm – Unofficial sources say the DAP and PKR are leading in 17 seats and could be on course to form the state government in Penang. Why am I not surprised?
7.45 pm – I receive an SMS saying that Jeyakumar is leading in 7 of the Sg Siput polling stations.
7.30pm – The DAP wins at the polling station on top of Penang Hill. This has traditionally gone to the BN in previous elections.
7.15pm – The DAP is doing well in all its strongholds in Penang.
4.00pm – The heavens open up this afternoon in Penang with a heavy downpour. Hujan keramat, showers of blessing as the nation prepares for a sea change .