(Corrected at 1:30pm, 19 Jan 2010)
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.
In schools, Malaysian students who have been studying science and mathematics in English for the last seven years will revert to Malay in 2012.
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.
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:
Generate less waste. Reuse, recycle more.
Restore credibility of police and judiciary.
Equitable distribution of income and opportunities.
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.
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.
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?
The Nut Graph cheerfully welcomes 2010.
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