Saturday, March 15th, 2008
A tsunami only to the vanquished
By Ahmad Jais Alias
For M’sians who voted for opposition, it is a political change that both winners and losers must accept.
KUALA LUMPUR: The ‘political tsunami’ that hit the 12th general election has changed the political landscape of the nation. It has left many in a state of mental and emotional confusion that is visible in their actions. Obviously the losers must have lost their sleep, appetite or looking lost since the last few days. This state is not only being felt by the politicians but also the society in general.
However, one must remember not all are in a state of emotional or mental confusion because almost half of the voters, who have voted for the opposition pact, have celebrated the outcome with joy — and certainly satisfaction.
The smiling faces that I met all over the place don’t reflect accurately the term ‘political tsunami’.
In a more appropriate context here the ‘political tsunami’ coined by the political observers seems applicable only to those who have lost their seats and mandate to rule.
While the real Dec 26, 2004 tsunami devastated Aceh and hit the coastal areas of Penang and Kedah, causing tremendous loss of life and properties, the ‘political tsunami’ ended the political career of many in the Barisan Nasional (BN) while the coalition lost its two-third majority for the first time in more than four decades.
Several ministers and deputy ministers have lost their seats and among these people many will certainly lose their cabinet positions too.
Many ‘wakil rakyat’, some of whom are no ordinary names, also lost their seats. These, therefore, are the people who will have to struggle with the effects of the so-called ‘political tsunami’.
As we have all now known, the election outcome saw several states ending up in the hands of the loose opposition coalition.
This sudden change in the nation’s political landscape requires that Malaysians in general must be wise in accepting and managing the change that is happening and will happen, as the result of the outcome of the general election.
By being able to accept the changing political climate, the people will be able to take control of the situation and avoid falling victim to any parties trying to exploit the situation.
In essence, they must continue to play a positive role for the sake of the nation and the state where they live.
The people must accept that change is something inevitable in every sphere of their lives. Having said that, what may be a cause of concern is how far this change is going to happen. The election result this time definitely warrants us to accept a higher level of change that calls for greater understanding and tolerance.
The faint-hearted will be overwhelmed by the emotional pressure, resulting in immature or childish actions and reactions. This also applies to both the winners and the losers of the polls. The losing politician must be brave to accept the people’s verdict, accept defeat, and congratulate the victor.
This is similar to the spirit of sportsmanship that we have been taught since our schooldays. On the other hand, the winners too should know their limits in celebrating their victory. They should never forget that while they are celebrating their victory, there are faces that reflect sadness and shock. Also, there should be no attempt to point fingers at any parties as being responsible for their losses.
Now is the time for all Malaysians, regardless of whom they have voted for, to manage the change wisely. And to all the new ‘Yang Berhormat’, wishing all of you the best in your undertaking.