Newspapers called last night's political outcome as a political tsunami. For the first time ever, BN lost 5 state governments and its 2/3 in parliament. The dent in the BN armour was accepted with great dignity and pride. I would like to congratulate all parties for a display of new maturity in Malaysian politics.
What it means is people's mandate and voices must be respected and heard loud and clear by all political parties hoping to govern Malaysia in the future. In the end, Malaysians showed great care and respect for their democratic process to exert the change they wanted.
All state governments and the federal government cannot resort to intimidation, racism and blackmail to get what they wanted, and they got it for far too many times. The people have risen to reclaim their voice and their rightful role as the bosses.
In Penang, Perak, Kedah and Selangor, the wealthier states of Malaysia, the maturing society which consists of all communities have voted against a coalition of racial political parties. UMNO, which won only 74 parliament seats, must learn to be more accommodative. Perhaps, it is right time for BN to reinvent itself. Ironically, Gerakan's "Keep Reinventing" campaign slogan will come in handy now for the coalition to reinvent itself and reexamine its own strengths and weaknesses amidst a less convincing victory and unexpected loses.
For Gerakan, MIC and MCA, their political future is hazy and messy. Most of their top and second line leaders were rejected by the electorates. What went wrong? Perhaps, like what ex-Penang state exco and assemblyman Teng Chang Yeow said the party cannot continue to support all policies without proper debate.
In a private conversation, an uneasy one, I asked one of Gerakan top leaders who put him in power - the people or UMNO?
The young turks and extremist leaders of UMNO are no longer relevant. Some of them won their seats but risked losing their seats in the future if they do not change their political direction and outlook. In the run up to the election, both Khairy Jamaluddin and Hishamuddin Hussien drew the loudest jeers and boos from largely non-Malay voters. They are young and dynamic leaders from UMNO but the two youngmen must learn to be more humble, less provocative and more Malaysian in outlook. It is not fashionable to be racist anymore. This is the clearest indication given by the most affluent and educated segment of the society - from Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kedah. Even folks in Kelantan stayed away from UMNO brand of politics under Abdullah Badawi.
In one of my earliest articles about Abdullah's administration, I asked will his administration which started with a bang ended with a whimper? Your guess is as good as mine.
This is a new dawn of Malaysian politics.
Click here to read my comments on the reasons behind the fall of BN state government in Penang.