A Change in Malaysia

Photo of Image on TV: The Swearing in of Tun Dr. Mahathir, 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia - [AstroAWANI] [RTM]

I’ve been thinking whether to say something about what has happened in the last week in my country. I don’t want to be political, I mean, I don’t want to talk about politics - or religion - here and yet something no less than historical and something quite unthinkable has happened and I’m in the middle of it, that to not talk about it, even a little, would be quite wrong.

For the very first time since our independence, an opposition coalition has won the general election. We now have a new prime minister who was also once our prime minister in the previous government, in other words he became a prime minister twice with two different political parties. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad himself is now not only the oldest elected leader but at 92, the oldest currently serving leader.

If I can give you the magnitude of change that has taken place in Malaysia recently: UMNO, one of the main political parties in the Barisan Nasional [BN] coalition, which previously made up the government, had been dominating the government since Malaya’s independence in 1957, and along with other political parties which later make up the BN coalition, together they had been in power for about 60 years. Historically, Malaysia’s prime ministers have been a member of UMNO. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister from 1981 to 2003 under the UMNO/BN banner, but this time, as chairman of Pakatan Harapan coalition, has recently again become the prime minister of Malaysia.

If he’s the same person, one might ask if there’s change. But here’s, I think, where relativity comes in - a change can be from bad to good or vice versa, or in between because there are different interpretations of good and bad. And since size is also relative, how big a change one might consider real change?

Regardless, some things have changed. We will see whether it’s for the worse or better.

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- Barisan Nasional
- Pakatan Harapan
Guinness World Records