"Balik Kampung" - a Malay word, literally translated into English as "return to village". It is commonly used to paraphrase the meaning of going home, whether as a short stay or permanently.
In my entire adult life, I have never voted or experience a General Election (GE) in Malaysia. One of the reason is that I have been living overseas for half of my entire life and politic does not interest me until now, the GE14. The country has got worse under the Najib government since he became the Prime Minister in 2009. He was ousted as the 6th prime minister on 10 May 2018. I will come to take later.
During Najib's prime ministership, there was scandals involving 1MDB money laundering, unresolved high profile murder case of Altantuyaa and racial tensions against the non-muslim by the government. The latter is a perception as the election is drawing closer to 9 May 2018 due to a historical event on 13 May 1969 general election. No Malaysians want a repeat of 13 May incident where many people had died in a racial clash between the Malay and Chinese.
The tension was high building up to 9 May 2018 GE14. I was in Penang. There were street banners and flags almost everywhere of the two major parties - Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH). Malaysia has never seen any general election like this in its history since it became an independent country in 1957 from British colonisation. It was called the "Mother of all General Election" - the people uprising. The roads were quiet and most shops were shut the day before, after and on the day of the GE14. The locals were nervous, especially the older generation, who has experienced the 13 May riots. My mum even stocked up food supplies at home and I was warned not to go out.
What made GE14 more interesting was that the opposition party making up of 4 different parties - PKR, DAP, Bersatu and Amanah - is under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003. He came back into politic for one reason - to get rid of Najib and to restore Malaysia for Malaysian. He is 92 of age!
On the night when the ballot was counted until the early hours of 10 May 2018, it was clear that PH is leading. However, it wasn't until late night on the 10 May 2018 between 9:30pm and 10pm Malaysia local time that the "Agong" swon-in Tun Dr Mahathir as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The unthinkable has happened and history is made in Malaysia.
- a change in government for the first time since independence in 1957
- the unbreakable six decades under the banner of BN, a coalition party making up of UMNO, MCA and MIC, is broken with several State and Federal seats lost to PH
- the oldest leader in the world at the age of 92, Tun Dr Mahathir who will turn 93 in July this year.
Day 2 after GE14, the locals are celebrating quietly. The roads in Penang are back to normal - busy! Shopping malls and food outlets are back to normal with mixed crowd of Malay, Chinese and Indians. It is a new beginning of a better future for all Malaysians - to restore the confidence of the people.
I managed to take some time to explore Penang streets while I was here during the GE14.
Long Live Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad - the Seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia
Malaysia for a Better Future and for all Malaysians.
Penang Insights blogs about travel and food, sharing with anyone who enjoys traveling to other destinations, taking photographs, meeting people, experiencing new cultures and traditions, enjoying cooking and trying other cuisines.