An Era of Openness.

Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia:-

 

                                            

        An Era of Openness.

 

On the 30th of October 2003, Abdullah Badawi assumed the post of the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He took over from Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

 

Dr Mahathir was well-known not only for his hard-hitting speech but his sarcasm and bluntness. Mahathir was also known for his little tolerance to Opposition. Thus, the population was relieved when he handed over power to Abdullah.

                                                       

 

 

Abdullah’s first mission was to introduce the chance to voice out opinions from among the people. The political atmosphere has been suffocating its own population for so long.

Of course, not many took the chances.

 

His huge victory in the General Election of 2004 emboldened Abdullah Badawi. His programs and reforms seemed to be well-accepted by the people.

 

However, there were different interpretations among his people of what to say and of what not to say. Policies were implemented erratically. One Chief Minister even presented brooms to heads of city councils that did not perform well. This caused huge uproars among the people. According to our eastern culture, presenting a broom is demeaning to those who received it.

 

Gradually the political atmosphere heated up. By 2007, demonstrations upon demonstrations followed. The atmosphere was heated up even further as the Police fired tear gas and showered water cannons upon the demonstrators. It was then that the perception changed dramatically against the government. It seemed that everything that the government did was wrong and cruel to the people.

 

By late 2007 the global economic future showed real signs of crisis. Sub-prime was heard and political pundits began to ponder what it really meant. We all knew that not all political Gurus are well-versed in economics and the term sub-prime was quite foreign to them.

 

As the year progressed into 2008 talks of a general election got louder.

 

Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison in February. He was quick to notice that an economic crisis is looming not only in America but throughout the world. The price of petroleum rocketed to USD150 per barrel on the world market. Malaysia had no choice but to follow. There were cries of discontent. It was no-win situation for the National Front Government.

 

On the 8th of March 2008, the people of Malaysia voted. The result was a disaster for four states previously in the National Front’s rule.

 

Surely, managing that atmosphere of openness was not easy. Abdullah and the National Front learnt their lesson.