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New Year resolutions for Malaysia

(Corrected at 1:30pm, 19 Jan 2010)

(© Lainie Yeoh)

DO you remember where you were at midnight 10 years ago when we ushered in the new millennium? Remember the Y2K virus scare? Or the millennium party on the Subang Airport runway? Remember when then Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was still prime minister of Malaysia? Can you believe 10 years have passed so quickly?

Ten years ago, we were recovering from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which saw the ringgit devalue drastically in a short time. Malaysia had implemented capital controls, a controversial measure that continues to be debated in economic circles.

Ten years ago, now opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had recently been jailed, convicted of sodomy and abuse of power. He was freed in 2004.


Ten years ago, Mahathir was still prime minister of Malaysia. He stepped down on 31 Oct 2003, making way for Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, under whom Barisan Nasional (BN) won a landslide victory in the 2004 general election. This, however, was followed by BN’s worst-ever results in the 8 March 2008 general election, which prompted Abdullah’s replacement in April 2009 by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

The 2008 general election also saw the coming together of PAS, DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) under the Pakatan Rakyat banner.

The last 10 years also bore witness to the “nude squat” scandal involving police lock-up procedures; the Bersih and Hindraf rallies;  the Bar Council‘s walk for justice over the Lingam tape; continued arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA)1960; the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu; the death of Teoh Beng Hock while under the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC); and the Port Klang Free Zone scandal, among others.

Several measures were proposed to provide better oversight or procedures in public institutions. Some were implemented, such as the Judicial Appointments Commission and the MACC, while others like the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission were not.

People continued to be affected by conversions in and out of Islam, which have yet to be resolved satisfactorily.

In schools, Malaysian students who have been studying science and mathematics in English for the last seven years will revert to Malay in 2012.

There were numerous landslides and rockfalls such as in Bukit Antarabangsa, Bukit Lanjan and on Jalan Semantan, some involving the loss of lives.

ISA candlelight vigil

Protesters at 13 Sept 2008 anti-ISA candlelight vigil (© Lainie Yeoh)

What’s in store for the next 10 years? The following are some notable events and challenges.

As the government plans to make Malaysia a high income economy by 2020, there will be challenges that need to be addressed, such as the education system, public delivery system, equitable distribution of income and social development.

Sarawak will have to hold its next state election by May 2011 and the next general election will have to be held by March 2013.

(Corrected) The goods and services tax (GST) bill is likely to be passed this year and take effect in 2011 at a rate of 4%.

The ISA is expected to be amended, but not repealed. There is no talk yet of amending other laws such as the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act or Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Malaysia may host the 2019 Asian Games.

So when you look back, and then look forward, how does it make you feel? What do you hope for Malaysia? If the country could make resolutions, what would they be?

Here are some of ours:

Cindy Tham:

Generate less waste. Reuse, recycle more.

Restore credibility of police and judiciary.

Equitable distribution of income and opportunities.

Deborah Loh:

Hey Pakatan, enough ceramah, do work.

Hey Barisan, time to wake up.

Enough by-elections, don’t die or defect.

Enough drama, be a real nation.

Reduce carbon footprint, drive at 90km/h.

Ding Jo-Ann:

Abolish all draconian laws and policies.

Catch big fish before little fish.

No more selective prosecution of Malaysians.

More parks and playgrounds for everybody.

Declassify all reports on unstable hillslopes.

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

Public disclosure for the public’s interest.

A far more professional police force.

Freedom of religion for all Malaysians.

Better public transport. Efficiency is key.

More political maturity. Less political jostling.

Koh Lay Chin:

Off political skulduggery, on transparent leadership.

Don’t disguise bigotry with “different opinions”.

Kedaulatan Undang-Undang, dan Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan.

Then again, please abolish draconian laws.

Less loud campaigns, more grassroots work.

Parliamentarians offering more than wedding gossip.

Shanon Shah:

More democracy, less politicking, zero stupidity.

Better Malaysian art, literature and entertainment.

Less moral policing, more introspective governance.

Pendemokrasian Malaysia: biar lambat asalkan selamat?

World Cup: bringing Malaysians together again? favicon

The Nut Graph cheerfully welcomes 2010.

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway‘s genius, the Six Words On… section challenges readers to give us their comments about a current issue, contemporary personality or significant event in just six words. The idea is to get readers engaged in an issue, while having fun and being creatively disciplined.

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14 Responses to “New Year resolutions for Malaysia”

  1. Hafidz Baharom says:

    I want the freedom of choice.

    Give me my rights over sexuality.

  2. KohJL says:

    The fate of many resolutions: Broken.

  3. ilann says:

    In with anger, out with love.

  4. Yew Khuen says:

    MPs will attend all parliamentary sittings.

    More bipartisan initiatives to benefit rakyat.

    Stop raping Penans and their land.

    Balance the budget by reducing corruption.

    Pakatan Rakyat implements local council elections.

  5. siew eng says:

    Still can’t believe who PM is.

  6. Wilson Wong says:

    Let Sabah and Sarawak be independent.

    Gula naik, teh ais kurang manis.

    Living cost running faster than salary.

    Tom Bombadil is the true God.

    Indonesian stock exchange twice our size.

    Ten years ago [Indonesia’s] was half.

  7. nookvillage says:

    Free from fear, free from want.

  8. Dinesh Chandren says:

    Royal Commissions – seen and be heard.

    Don’t hack websites when can’t argue.

    Don’t whack people with social contract.

    Just treatment for our migrant workers.

    Less driving, more walking, healthier living.

    Mainstream media needs to grow…stuff.

    Better clarification of what is 1Malaysia.

    More reading, more dialogue, more wisdom.

    Remember your humanity; forget the rest.

  9. Alison says:

    Allah not just a “Muslim” God.

    Freedom of religion. Walk the talk.

    Be more mindful of mother Earth.

    Down with corruption. Up with integrity.

  10. Sivin Kit says:

    Oh! You mean it’s already 2010?

    Focus, Focus, Focus, Focus, Focus, Focus!

  11. Justitia says:

    Politicians: Kata mesti dikota; otherwise, out!

  12. pei ling says:

    Politicians to go green, go corruption-free.

    Malaysians to complain less, act more.

    Consumers to buy less, question more!

  13. David Pek says:

    Every Malaysian has the right to be heard, to practise our religion freely and to make a living comfortably and peacefully. Enough is enough!

  14. Gurmeet says:

    Less bigotry, more understanding and compassion.
    Enough of blame game, solve it!
    High income nation? YES! But HOW?
    We are equal, treat us such.
    Less drama, less politics, more action.
    BN? Pakatan? More alternative parties, anyone?

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