Will Malaysia's Ruling Party for 50 Years Continue to Dominate Elections?

A resounding theme in Malaysia’s 13th General Election on May 5, 2013 has been the prospect of change, or ‘ubah’ (change in Malay). A popular slogan being bandied about is ‘ini kalilah, ubah’ which translates as ‘this time around, change comes’.

Having said that, it is unclear how the election will play out, and Channel News Asia has reported that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition might still win, but with a smaller margin. BN has ruled Malaysia for the past half-century.

Shufei made a case for a change in government:

I'm not one for politics. I detest it actually, it makes me more emotional than almost anything else. I'm so easily roused by anger when I read about prejudices, dirty tricks, unjustified behaviour, corruption. Everything that is humanely destructive but equally bracketed into the flawed mortality of individuals I'm entrusting my country with.

But don't you think we should have a choice? A two-party system so we have the ability to choose if the government is corrupt? Isn't that what democracy is all about? Not being shushed or silenced because ‘they have done so much things for us’. Yes, they have done things for us, but they're our government. It's, I'm sorry to be blunt, their job.

Glam also urged their readers to vote for a change in government, using several videos.

Anil Netto also posted a video of voters in Penang calling for change in the country.

The people have made up their minds.

This wasn’t about the people calling for tunnels, new highways and more high-rise luxury condos; it was the about the people calling for an end to corruption in the country and for political change at the federal level.

Thomas described Prime Minister Najib Razak as the ‘Trojan Horse’ of Malaysian politics:

Throughout the country, on the numerous BN’s billboards, printed materials and TV commercials and news, it is Najib’s sweet and gentle smiling face that you see. Never before in the history of general elections in our country has so much been hinged on the persona of a man instead of on the ideals or vision of the party for the country. But Najib Razak is a trojan horse, constructed by professional public relations firm like APCO with the help of a very compliant broadcast and printing mass media industry.  He has had an extreme makeover which transformed him from an ultra Malay rights politician to one that espouse the inclusive and tolerant values of 1Malaysia.

Malaysia has been swamped with campaign materials such as banners, flags, posters and billboards. Photo by Hon Keong Soo, Copyright @Demotix (5/2/2013)

Malaysia has been swamped with campaign materials such as banners, flags, posters and billboards. Photo by Hon Keong Soo, Copyright @Demotix (5/2/2013)

This is the first time that postal voting is allowed in the Malaysian elections. Chelliah, a Malaysian living in the UK, wrote about their excitement at the possibility of a change in government:

As I write this post the sun is rising in Malaysia on a new day and I will be going to bed soon because it is the end of the day in the UK. There is something ironic about that. I left Malaysia 32 years ago and although I now live thousands of miles away I am excited at the prospect of ‘Ubah’ (‘change’ in the Malay language)becoming a reality on 0505.

The election or GE13 as it has become known, I suspect, will be a political milestone for the manifestation of Malaysian unity all over the world. I don't think I am alone in hoping for Ubah while living in a foreign land. You may wonder why this is important for someone who does not experience daily life under a regime that many Malaysians experience as being corrupt and authoritarian. I may not live there now but I did live the daily  life of state-led grind for many years.

In Melbourne, JOM Magazine, a magazine that caters to the Malaysian community, made a video about the postal voting day, which was held a week before May 5.

There is also a video of Malaysian voters in London:

With social media so widely used, it is not a surprise that this election has been dubbed the social media election.


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