Has this country matured? Will Sunday’s election spawn violence?
I am not a political writer or analyst. Frankly, I know very little about the politics here in Malaysia. On casual observation Malaysia seems to be a country at peace. Yet, I think if you scratch the surface you see something much different. You see a country that is struggling to maintain unity. It’s understandable given the diverse ethnicity you find here. We have all seen countries that seemed a peace – moving along on the road to unity and prosperity snap under the pressures of national elections.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was in Kenya earlier this year when they had their very first Presidential debate. I was astounded at the boldness of the moderator and the honesty of the candidates. Many people thought the streets of Kenya would erupt into communal and bloody violence after their general election this year, as it did years earlier. But the country seemed to have matured and this time around the elections went off without any violence. Most people I talk to feel that this year’s 13th general election in Malaysia will go off without any real violence. Yet, already Molotov cocktails been thrown a party offices and a man was beaten by protesters after removing a party flag on his property here in Penang. People I talk to say that if the ruling state and national parties are reelected there will be no problems. However, if there’s an upset and the opposition parties take control then everything is up for grabs. My prayers are for the people of Malaysia and its leaders to resolve its differences through peaceful means. I pray that after the selection that we might see changes for the better and a government that can lead the people for the people. The world’s eyes are watching you Malaysia, show them how mature and wise you are.