Last night, I spoke to a friend of mine over the phone.
He sounded depressed about the future of Malaysia. “I don’t see much hope for this country.”
“Don’t worry,” I told him. “A lot can change very quickly in politics.” Deep down, I felt all those years of reformasi struggle – more than two decades worth – couldn’t just disappear overnight.
We are on an inexorable process of evolution to a higher level, and the old politics of manipulating race and religion for personal interest has no place in modern society.
What we have seen in recent months is a pushback from these discredited forces. But that came more from desperation, backstabbing and baser instincts than any sense of enlightenment. That is not a recipe for a stable government that has the confidence of the people.
Quite a bit is happening behind-the-scenes, away from the public eye. Meetings and more meetings involving PH leaders.
Even as civil society activists and opposition politicians are hauled up for questioning under the PN administration, the numbers game goes on.
Could we see something happening in the next few days? Much will depend on the MPs from Sarawak and Sabah. Bear in mind that Sarawak faces a state election very soon, so how will some of the Sarawak politicians in PN explain to voters their cooperation with the ethno-religious parties in the peninsula?
But first PH probably wants to thrash out the question of its own PM candidate (see video above). Mahathir as PM for six months, followed by Anwar? (see video above). Or will there be resistance to Mahathir returning for a third act? In which case, what role will Mukhriz and Shafie play? What about other newer faces or younger leaders? We should have a clearer picture by today.
But aren’t we missing something here? What about the ordinary people’s concerns? What about improving the public healthcare system and the quality of education? Providing more genuinely affordable homes? Eradicating poverty? Promoting sustainable food security? Putting a stop to ecologically harmful projects? Reducing wealth and income disparities? Shouldn’t we be talking about all this as well?
It has got to be more than elite politics this time around.
But then again, I suppose the more immediate concern is turning the ethno-religious tide and nailing the corrupt politicians, especially the kleptocrats.