With the 13th General Elections drawing closer, many Malaysians have turned to the Internet for news and other information, as well as posting their thoughts on the election. Malaysiakini, a popular online news portal, has abolished its paywall for the time being, at least until after the election.
Online, it appears that majority of Malaysians are in favour of the opposing Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance rather than the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has been in power since the country’s independence in 1957.
JoyBlee is certain that the country needs a change in government:
Our menial salary cannot sustained our daily expenditure as the prices for even a necessity item has been increased in monthly basis. We cannot afford to save any to our life saving. So we really need to change the leader who only think for their deep pockets instead their rakyat(people) life.
We need to change! WE HAVE TO CHANGE! This is it!
This sentiment was shared by Crankster:
Malaysians have had enough. In the last 5 years, the crime rate has increased drastically. So has national debt. Meanwhile, the quality of life has steadily declined.
When things were going well, people turned a blind eye to corruption, racist practices, cronyism and nepotism. But life has stepped up the pace (all over the world, not just in Malaysia) and people are just not willing to accept old practices anymore.
Shankaran Nambiar, wrote on the East Asia Forum about his opinion on how he thinks the election would affect the economy:
Ideologically speaking, the Malaysian opposition coalition is similar to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), as both coalitions subscribe to market-oriented economic policies. Both the BN and the opposition accept the value of FDI, the role of multinational corporations and the importance of trade.
While the UMNO has to take care of its constituency, protectionist policies will need to be addressed if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the EU–Malaysia free trade agreement are signed. The government no longer has the sort of free hand it once had to extend preferential treatment to promote the growth of bumiputera business.
Will the opposition act like the BN if it comes to power? Perhaps not. One of the opposition’s key policy platforms is transparency. The other platform is the eradication of wastage and leakages from the system. The opposition also speaks about improving the economy as a whole, rather than just the economic wellbeing of particular racial groups — like the bumiputera.
Nuraina A Samad called this election the ‘social media election’:
The PM said social media had the ability to include more voices into one issue, including political debates.
He predicted that this would be practised in the coming months as people went to social media to discuss issues related to teh general election.
Now..that's a long way from where everyone came from in 2008 when blogs and bloggers were despised, feared, whatever by the then leadership. Paranoid even.
Bakri Musa reminded readers that they need to think wisely:
The first and only question voters must ask before casting their votes in this next election is whether the current Barisan government is deserving of another term. All other matters, as whether other parties are capable of taking over, are irrelevant and besides, conjectural.
Consider three critical areas: economy, education, and level of corruption. Barisan’s economic leadership is passable. It is exemplary only when compared to that of Zimbabwe. Granted, by the figures Malaysia outperforms America and Western Europe (and even Singapore), but remember those countries are already cruising at high altitude. We are still ascending. We need faster growth. We should compare ourselves to China and Panama. Even Ghana and Laos surpassed us last year.
Anil Netto offered interesting observations he made from conversations with Malaysians:
It is amazing what you can learn by talking to people at a hawker centre in Penang.
Here’s what I found out this morning:
University students are wary about expressing their views if they are critical of the ruling coalition or supportive of opposition parties for fear of reprisals. You can’t be too careful; you never know who is going to snitch on you.
Apart from spam messages urging people to vote for BN, a couple of people have received SMS birthday greetings apparently from a local BN candidate (in mainland Penang and in Sabah). I saw an SMS text birthday greeting that had the recipient’s full name, age and the name of the sender, the BN candidate from mainland Penang who allegedly sent it, and his parliamentary constituency.
From these reactions, it appears that Malaysians are mostly concerned about the economy, the rising cost of living, as well as more government transparency. It also seems to indicate that many are anxious for the day to come to find out the result.