Ring out 2007 “annus horribilis” and bring in 2008 with hope and change

2007 had been "annus horribilis" – make 2008 a year of hope and change for Malaysians that the great pledges of Abdullah when he became Prime Minister for an united, just, accountable and democratic Malaysian nation are fulfilled despite the great breaches of the past four years

Malaysians heave a sigh of relief at the end of 2007, a year which had opened with such great promise as it is to celebrate the 50th Merdeka anniversary of the nation.

I cannot think of a better term to describe 2007 than to borrow from Queen Elizabeth II in one of her most unforgettable annual messages when she said that the year that had just ended was an "annus horribilis".

For Malaysians, 2007 had been an "annus horribilis" (a horrible year), a year which Malaysians would not look back with undulited pleasure and pride – but with great foreboding!

This is because 2007, the 50th Merdeka anniversary costing over RM100 million of taxpayers' money in public celebrations, should be the year where Malaysians can look with pride and confidence into the next 50 years, founded on the fulfillment of the many great pledges which Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had made on becoming Prime Minister and for which he was given the unprecedented electoral mandate of over 91 per cent of parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election.

But 2007 has proved to be one of the most divisive and troubled year in the half-a-century of Malaysia's nationhood – with religious polarization assuming its most serious dimension in dividing Malaysians, compounding an already difficult problem of racial polarization in the nation-building process.

It was announced a few days ago that an unprecedented 27,668 students scored all 8As in this year's Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination.

Abdullah would have scored all straight Fs in his four-year report card for the great pledges of reform he had promised to make when became the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, whether police reform by implementing the most proposal of the Royal Police Commission and establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service; create a first-world Parliament; restore the independence, integrity and competence of the judiciary; eradicate corruption; respect human rights and press freedom; prepared the "hear the truth": from the people and be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians!

Let all Malaysians come together as one to put the annus horribilis of 2007 behind us, not by suffering the worst denial syndrome in Malaysian history by denying its existence, but by courageously owning up to the disaster of the past 12 months in nation-building and making the new year resolution by all Malaysians that 2008 should not be a repeat of another annus horribilis – starting with a serious national commitment for change and renewal starting with next general election which will be held in 2008. 

Lim Kit Siang