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.
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.
I have always shown a keen interest in Malaysian politics ever since I was ten. As far as I am concerned, someone who is not interested in or has apathy towards the Malaysian political situation is simply being unpatriotic to the highest degree, which is unthinkable to me. Patriotism towards the country, however, is not to be confused with asabiyyah, or tribal inclinations which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam has abolished.