Now that GE15 will be held anytime soon, NMH is running a series of articles to remind readers about what happened to the country after BN lost power. Today, members of the editorial team that was assembled long after PH took over power, share their thoughts.
It was like the question on everyone’s lips when US President John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963: Where were you when JFK was shot? Just like the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001: Where were you when 9/11 happened? Not as dramatic, but still enduring for Malaysians, its: Where were you when BN lost power? to recall that fateful night on 10 May 2018 when Barisan Nasional (BN) was defeated in the 14th General Election (GE14) to Pakatan Harapan (PH), for the first time after more than 60 years.
Some of us were fence-sitters at that time: excited about the change, while others were on different sides of the political divide. It does not matter. What matters is how do we feel right now after 22 months of PH rule resulting in political instability that gave us three prime ministers within a span of four years?
Azizi Khan, Advisor:
I wasn’t shocked when it happened. The signs were already there. But unfortunately, it was the people who suffered the PH regime and all its shortcomings. We lost the stability. Many of my friends overseas were quite unhappy with BN losing. While not perfect, they knew what was happening and they felt a lot of things improved under Najib’s administration. Many of them left the country after PH came into power. It was one of the main reasons for NMH‘s creation anyway – to help facilitate change and provide a voice and outlet.
Hasnah Abdul Rahman, CEO/Editor-In-Chief:
On 10 May 2018 at around 2.30 am, I fell asleep during the counting of the GE14 votes. At that time, BN was losing quite a number of safe seats and everyone whom I was online with was getting jittery. But my eyes could not open anymore, tried as I might.
I then woke up about an hour later to see this headline splashed all over the internet.
While I felt sad as everyone knows where my loyalty lies, I have to admit I had a bit of anticipation.
The naive me thought, oh well, it is Mahathir at the helm. We are familiar with him, he knows the country well, he will do what is necessary to make sure we will always be proud to be Malaysians. And he will do what is necessary to keep the ultra-racist, communistic DAP fellas in check. Not all of them are like that, but quite a number are.
Fast forward two months later, what did we see?: Promises made to lure in the votes were not kept; the points in the manifesto were disregarded because Mahathir said it is not the holy grail; more than 20,000 people lost their jobs.
Shares in the stock exchange plummeted; Value of the Malaysian Ringgit went down; Prices of palm oil and durians went downhill because the Cabinet was full of people with no brains.
Malaysia Was So Hated
China hates us; Singapore wants to sue us for an insane amount of money; Japan took us for a fool.
We managed to earn the ire of the world’s foremost credit rating company, Moody’s. GST was not abolished, but zero-rated. The evil SST was about to make an appearance. Tolls were not abolished.
Our armed forces were marching like geese as in communist countries.
For a while Najib was no longer associated with 2.6B of the 1MDB funds, but out of the blue, he was charged for RM42M SRC funds of which the public prosecutor could not get enough documents to photocopy and pass to the defence attorney.
There was plenty more where that came from. And we still had not even passed the 100-day mark!
So you see, Malaysia Baru had literally gone to the dogs and the PH supporters were still in La La Land but they soon realised that the honeymoon was literally over. And Mahathir resigned 22 months later after lots of infighting within the PH coalition and took down the whole sorry Cabinet with him.
Muralitharan Ramachandran, Managing Editor – News
I knew we were losing a week before GE14 based on the ground sentiments and I was worried of the consequences knowing Mahathir too well.
During the counting process, I was in PWTC with other Umno/BN leaders and supporters. Confirmation that we lost came around 2300 hrs, just imagine the sadness and let’s not talk about the tears. I’m a strong person emotionally but that day, I broke down as well. I couldn’t hold my tears, worried what will happen next.
Many of my friends and relatives who supported PH were celebrating their victory. I was booed, teased and humiliated by my friends and relatives.
I told them, hold your horses, those who laugh last will laugh longer as Mahathir will never pass the baton to Anwar and I gave them a maximum of two years for PH to survive before they start scratching each other.
My prediction was right, they lasted for only 22 months.
Mahathir resigned and he’s the one and only prime minister in this world who toppled his own government.
No Government Like the BN Government
Now, many of my friends and relatives are shy to face me but majority of them agreed, there’s no government like BN under Najib Razak. He’s the best Prime Minister Malaysia can ever have.
Now we are back to the ballot box again.
Hope Malaysians make the right choice to have a better Malaysia.
Zam Yahaya, Features Writer – Economy
I was shocked when BN lost. I went through many elections before whereby the atmosphere appeared like BN was going to lose, yet they won.
First when S46 was challenging BN in the 80’s and second when Barisan Alternatif led by PKR challenged BN.
When the results was announced late at night and when others were sleeping, I still could not accept the reality and continued fighting in social media. I did not sleep till the next day.
And the most ugly word I hate the next day when Mahathir with his maroon jacket uttered the sentence “We are going to govern according (pronounced as ekoding) to the rule of law … ”
I felt like vomiting then. It was so ironical for Mahathir to utter the words rule of law so much so that my laughter burst through my bottom.
I felt that I wanted to spit at the TV and I stopped watching TV since then. In my heart, I slowly whispered fitnah telah menang! (slander has won!).
Joe Fernandez, Legal Scholar and Features Writer:
The BN Supreme Council should have met on Wed 9 May 2018 and thrown its support behind incumbent Najib Abdul Razak as PM-designate and conveyed the decision to the Agong.
Agong would have to consider since Najib was the incumbent and the Opposition and Agong were divided on the PM-designate.
Generally, by convention, the incumbent PM can be invited first to try and form the government.
Parliament can test confidence in the PM.
On that morning too, I thought of Greece.
Normally, the changing of the guards is followed by a period of uncertainty.
My thoughts were on the confidence factor. In Greece, the Opposition won the election. They immediately informed the people that the government could not afford to repay the national debt. This statement should not have been made. There was a run on the Greek economy. The rest is history. Greece is suffering to this day.
Lim Guan Eng (LGE), after he became Finance Minister, compromised confidence in the economy by his statements. The country is suffering from this to this day.
LGE should have been magnanimous. He should not have mentioned 1MDB, off balance sheet commitments and government guarantees.
If the press hounds him, he should have said that the government is doing due diligence on the Najib Administration and forensic accounting. After that say the matter is under OSA’72.
PH got carried away by its own bullshit on that historic day . . . we must know where politics ends and good governance begins.
Rakesh Kumar Premakumaran, Features Writer:
On that fateful day when Pakatan Harapan took over the government, I was in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, which was run by a huge Protestant church. I was recovering from alcoholism and was doing well.
Then the news came, but being in the company of many who were influenced by the Church’s constant hammering against the BN government (especially with strong Malay and Muslim flavour) and glorifying of the PH parties.
DAP And The Pakatan Floozies
Many of the leaders from DAP and whichever Pakatan floozies wanted to blast out their spittle appeared at the church’s podium to talk about it – they weren’t exactly subtle with their hatred and disgust – I could almost hear Emperor of Sith saying, “good, let the anger and hate seep in.”
Theirs was the world I inhabited then, and I was more determined to clean myself and get the heck out of that place and just followed the flock around for the time being. I saw especially the arrogance of a certain non-Malay group which pride itself over the control they had over the country’s economy, is now beaming that they have gotten the throne, yes the throne.
Yet, it didn’t take long for the rug to be yanked under their feet. There is no such thing as last laugh, there is only lasting laugh.
Emma Harith, Features Writer
On the fateful day that PH won and became the government of the day, my heart sank. I can feel that Malaysia, my beloved Tanahair (homeland) will turn into an ugly Malaysia. Cheers and shouts of ‘Malaysia kita punya’ could be heard faintly from the TV channel interviews. In social media, PH supporters were so brave and arrogant while BN supporters, including my friends and I, were severely insulted and mocked.
BN Lost When Slander Won
We, the UMNO/BN supporters were patient as we knew that the war is not over yet. The BN government fell because the people believed in the slander, evil propaganda and false promises spread by PH at that time.
What can I do at that moment? Nothing. After my sadness subsided and plans were made, I called my friends and we had a meet-up at one of our houses. In the meet up, we agreed to continue promoting UMNO/BN until the government changes. Everybody agreed.
With full of enthusiasm and dedication we carried out our objectives as planned until PH was overthrown, and Muhyiddin Yassin became the Prime Minister. After the change of premiership, some of us continued to be politically-inclined while some of us were less active to focus on other things, until today. – NMH
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