Saturday, 11 May 2013

Riding waves on the M’sian tsunami

The mood was jubilant at the Kelana Jaya mass rally held on the evening of May 8, as some 50,000 to 70,000 participants filled the stadium and crowded the highway. The national anthem was sung, slogans were changed, flags were waved, and people dispersed peacefully. I cannot recall witnessing any police presence at the event or along the highway. Participants honked horns and carried around placards that read “Save Malaysia”, “1Bangla”, and my personal favorite, “Bangla Nasional (BN)”. For one thing, the multi-ethnic crowd was a testament to Najib’s misstep with the “Chinese Tsunami” statement. The thrust of his statement isn’t incorrect; Chinese voters by and large abandoned BN and voted for the opposition. Really, the outpouring of support for Pakatan reflects an “Urban & New-Media User Tsunami,” which doesn’t exactly role off the tongue, so better or for worse, let’s call it a “Malaysian Tsunami”.

The swathes of discontent (predominately) young and middle-aged participants at the rally are indicative of the massive trust deficit the BN is faced with. While it’s evident that many have lost faith in the government and the electoral authorities, the vast majority of opposition supporters are hostile to legitimate criticism of the Pakatan coalition and unwilling to scrupulously scrutinize hearsay and social-media rumours. As questionable pictures float around social-media purporting to show “foreigners” standing in line to vote as definitive proof of BN being engaged in fraud, the DAP has condemned social network users for spreading rumours and allegations that a massive blackout took place in Bentong during the tallying of votes, at which time EC officials brought in “dubious ballot boxes” that favoured BN. The opposition leader’s claims of 40,000 foreign nationals being flown into Malaysia to vote for BN remain unsubstantiated.

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Nile Bowie is a Malaysia-based political analyst and a columnist with Russia Today. He also contributes to PressTV, Global Research, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at