Political change in the air


The multi-racial support for Pakatan Rakyat and PKR is not only strong but growing

Koon Yew Yin, FMT

In the run-up to the Kajang by-election on March 23, I was honoured to be asked to speak in support of the PKR candidate, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

In my address to the crowd which I kept short, since I was sharing time with Azizah, Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Rakyat political leaders, I chose not to speak on the political issues which should influence the way that the Kajang electorate should vote.

Instead, I focused on my personal experience with the MCA and explained why a vote for the MCA candidate was an exercise in futility.

That night was a memorable one for me. Firstly, it was the first time that I have ever made a speech from the roof of a truck.

Secondly I did not expect the crowd of enthusiastic supporters cheering the speakers to run into the many thousands gathered there. To be honest, when I made the trip from Ipoh to Kajang, I had expected election fatigue with the by-election coming so soon after the 2013 national elections.

Instead I saw sheer energy and commitment – from the top political guns to the volunteer party workers and all the way to the people gathered patiently in the padang.

Most important, I felt a tremendous sense of camaraderie among the multi-racial crowd. I had been afraid of the sense of racial unity and solidarity in the opposition, given Umno’s latest attempts to play the divide and rule game in Selangor, focusing on the Allah issue.

I was also concerned that the PKR’s and Pakatan’s credentials as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious party and coalition may have been eroded by the propaganda BN war.

I can honestly say that what I saw took me by surprise – the multi-racial support for Pakatan and PKR is not only strong but growing!

I left the rally that night fully convinced that if Kajang was an example of the political sentiment in the country, we will definitely have a change of government during the next elections.

As it turned out, Azizah won the by-election with a handsome majority despite her campaign being heavily outgunned by the big spending and no-holds barred campaign of the BN.

Perhaps because the national spotlight was on this single election and the result in Kajang did not threaten BN in any manner, there have been few reports of dirty tricks attempted by the BN to ensure a victory for its candidate, MCA vice-president Chew Mei Fun.

Beware of dirty tricks ahead

Today, the BN coalition is in power despite receiving only 47% of total votes cast in the 2013. elections. During the next elections, we can expected that percentage to fall down even further.

I am confident from what I witnessed in Kajang that the majority of Malaysians – Malays and non-Malays; East and Semenanjung Malaysians – want political change and have the stamina to outlast the BN.