I #Lawan because Malaysia truly deserves better, and we know it

This nation has not seen any other premier who has clung on to power so tightly. Lockdown measures have not just bounded Malaysians, but our political landscape has been in a deadlock since March 2020.

At first, Malaysians had to choose between the safety and well-being of one another over political uprising.

Now, even as Umno retracts its support from Perikatan Nasional (PN), there is a battle between party loyalty and Executive responsibility – though, I’d argue that the latter is non-existent in this administration.

At the first Malaysian parliamentary session, Umno’s founder and president Datuk Onn Ja’afar, had in his congratulatory speech for Datuk Mohamed Noah during his appointment as Speaker of the House, said: “…This is because I have heard of the apprehension expressed in some quarters that the opposition will merely oppose. As a matter of fact, it is not going to be so. The aim of the opposition is to offer constructive criticisms. That is what I have in mind. However, although I have given this assurance, it should not be thought that l will always be at one with everything that is desired by the Government.”

A word of caution; I disagree with a sentimental view of the past. Romanticising nostalgia is the greatest enemy of a progressive society.

This is because it fogs up historical perspectives that ignore certain nuances, which force us to confront mistakes we’ve made. Case in point, racial discourses in Malaysia.

However, it is respectful of how stern and clear those words were. Two key takeaways come to my mind:

  • it indicated that opposition and government MPs are seen as equals; and
  • Onn stood by principles removed from the identity politics that now dominates Malaysia.

The past year, PN’s premier only highlighted a stark contrast to his leadership style. This included being accused of misleading the King.

Never in the history of Malaysia, has power been openly fought for. Our democracy has fallen off its thread.

If a legacy is what this premier seeks, he surely has gotten what he wanted. He can never repeat the familiar sternness of Onn, except when it comes to his position as prime minister.

With the intimidation of political activists and opposition MPs; grappling to keep frustrated Malaysians at bay by threats of Covid-19 and regulatory fines, he wants it this way. Is there an end to this life-long nightmare? I remain hopeful, so yes.

This is why Malaysians #Lawan, this is why I #Lawan, because there is still light.

I #Lawan because we’ve received another message begging for assistance to buy necessities, and Malaysians have been so kind to offer financial assistance.

I #Lawan because there are people out there dying due to Covid-19, but Malaysians have offered emotional support to families struck by grief.

I #Lawan because Malaysia truly deserves better, and Malaysia knows it.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.