Post Bersih 2.0: Beyond Political Rhetorics

Khoo Kay Peng

Parties with vested interest were quick to name winners and losers in the aftermath of Bersih 2.0. Are there any real clear winners or losers?

Ironically, a friend lamented to me that Barisan will still win the next general election through rigging. This is a hard accusation. But it draws us back to the point that the electoral process in Malaysia is far from being democratically functional.

To pass the stress test of democracy, it has to meet a few criteria. The weightage of an urban vote has to be the same with rural vote. Otherwise, the balance of power tilts towards less than 40% of rural voters who can determine who rules the country.

Second, it points us to the trust and credibility deficit of the Election Commission which is supposed to be entrusted to run and manage fair and transparent elections.

The serious lack of trust in the electoral process is a serious impediment to a fair and transparent electoral system and puts the entire democratic system in jeopardy.

Aftermath of Bersih 2.0, are there any clear winners?

Arguably NO, because the ruling government and the Election Commission have not responded positively to a movement which they had declared as illegal, hence its demands too! There is not going to be any reform. Period.

Can the Opposition ride on the Bersih 2.0 to create another tsunami in the coming general elections? I hardly doubt so because of an inequitable delineation process which had tilted power base to the 40% rural/non-urban voters. It will probably take another 100 years, if we are optimistic enough, to hope for proportionate representation to be even considered.

Who are the losers? Many. Malaysia’s reputation and image internationally has been badly affected. The ruling government’s inconsistency and lack of tolerance for dissent is being tested and exposed. Many Malaysians are going to feel more dispirited despite words of encouragement. Reality will set in that it is not easy to change a government, much worse a mindset, after all.

Malaysia is facing a stark reality of what lies ahead. Hard sell abroad to lure investors into Malaysia is going to face futility. Not because of Bersih 2.0 but largely due to a lethargic and sloppy governance.

Vision 2020 is soon becoming a pipe dream. It has lost its magic and sense of purpose. It is best for the ruling politicians to start thinking of what is the next viable and appealing story for Malaysia before they can hope to attract billions needed to help Malaysia achieve its desired developed nation status.

An international report has put Malaysia as one of the least attractive emerging economies, only ahead of Columbia. Graduates unemployment has doubled since 2008. Companies are moving away and foreign companies are withdrawing from the country. I have spoken to quite a number local businessmen who are busy looking elsewhere due to the economic realities in the country. A headline screams, Kuala Lumpur is now more expensive for expats than San Francisco. Malaysia’s demand power is only 32% of New York etc. etc.

What about a plate of economy rice costing around RM7?