The world pays little attention to Malaysia. But on May 5, it should. That is the day that Malaysia’s 13 million voters, of whom 20% are casting ballots for the first time, will choose a new parliament and decide their nation’s future. Without question, these will be the most important elections in Malaysia’s history, as well as the closest and most hard-fought. For the first time, there is a strong and united opposition, and Malaysia’s voters have a genuine choice. Voter enthusiasm is high, and both government and especially opposition rallies are attracting people in the tens of thousands.
As every Malaysian would have known by now, the Prime Minister announced the dissolution of Parliament and hence paved the way for the nation’s thirteenth general elections. With that in mind, it is hoped that both the major political coalitions (Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat) as well as regional parties will engage their opponents in a constructive and meaningful manner, instead of the dirty tactics that we have seen — most especially during the Mahathir era.
How does a Muslim village boy who faithfully attends Quran classes and goes home to the works of Lao Tzu and Confucius, grow up to view the world — and his country? The scope of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s worldview is matched by the breadth of his political ambitions. Having risen from the ashes, the leader of Malaysia’s opposition is raring to prove his mettle at the upcoming elections.