Perhaps it was by the stroke of fate that I became a father two weeks earlier than expected. My son, Mu’awiyah Rayyan Nieshaem, was born on the 12th of October 2011 at around 5.45pm and from that point of time onward, I shoulder the additional responsibility of the care and well-being of my offspring, which includes education. As I hold my sleeping son in my hands hours after the delivery, I ponder upon aspects of my struggle thus far and how I can ensure a Better Malaysia for my newborn son.
As it stands currently, Malaysia is at a critical turning point. Decades of political domination by one-party rule (although it claim to have a semblance of “democracy”, no matter how handicapped that may be) has stagnated the country from a social, economical and educational aspect to such a degree that countries in the region are going far ahead of us. Indonesia, for example, have seen much growth and advancement in their lifestyle since the Reformasi movement ended the Suharto era in 1998. Freedom that had never been tasted before in Indonesia have helped propelled the country to further heights, although with that unbridled freedom comes the price of irresponsibility among Indonesians, chief among them is the antagonistic attitude which Indonesians have lately directed against Malaysians, allegedly for “stealing” their cultural heritage. I will discuss that problem at another time for I believe that deserves a treatment of its own.
Nonetheless, the March 2008 elections have certainly changed the mentality of Malaysians. Already people are starting to see that it is possible to initiate change, when the desire for reform and for a Better Malaysia goes beyond the selfish needs of the individual. Recently my father had the opportunity to meet an old friend, who was once an elected State Representative (ADUN) for UMNO/Barisan Nasional and a former Exco member of the Johore state government. When probed about what he thought about UMNO, whether the party had a chance to regain its lost seats in the coming 13th General Elections, I was told that my father’s friends simply replied that he did not know, and that it is hard to predict that will happen in the present climate. This is certainly a far cry from the past attitudes of previous BN candidates, who had in the past assumed that once you are standing as a candidate for Barisan Nasional, an electoral victory is assured and you will win your seat.
What I am saying here is that the momentum that started in March 2008 should not end here. The push for a change of government in Putrajaya, which will only happen with the ouster of Barisan Nasional and the ushering of Pakatan Rakyat, must continue and it can only begin with oneself. So as I look upon the face of my son, I realise that my hope for a Better Malaysia must not just be based on simply awaiting for change to come along by itself, but I must also work towards it and participate directly in the political process. Not for just the sake of my political beliefs and the ideology which I have struggled for so long, but for the Better Malaysia that I wish to entrust upon my son, so that he will inherit the fruits of this struggle from his father. Towards that end, all I can say is that may God help us through the times for a Better Malaysia.