I was up late last night, watching the results of the Malaysia’s 12th general election stream in on Channel NewsAsia with fascination. I struggled to get on to the subscription-based Malaysiakini servers (free for a week to cover the elections) and eventually I found their mirrors through one of the Malaysian bloggers.
Many are calling the results a “tsunami” and it is leading the news on the BBC. CNA has a much wider coverage of course, with a special report covering the elections. Internet sites contributed significantly this time and was particularly important for the opposition to circumvent traditional media controls by bringing the battle online. in addition to traditional grunt work.
So this turned out to be the biggest upset in Malaysian elections since 1969, with the ruling Barisan National denied a two-thirds majority (required for constitutional change) and five states going to the opposition (Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan). Some heavyweights were knocked out in the process and this dramatic reversal of the 2004 landslide appears to have set the stage for the eventual exit of the current PM and the return of Anwar Ibrahim in April. Voting appears to have matured, shifting away from ethnic lines.
Almost every other report is a highlight, so just check CNA’s special report archives.
In 2004, someone pointed me to veteran blogger Jeff Ooi’s Screenshots and the Subang Jaya e-portal. I read him since, watching his prolific writing with awe and move from armchair to politics. He campaigned in Jelutong, Penang, somewhat ironically where his internet popularity was less than relevant. But he worked the ground with his (Democratic Action Party) party’s backing and earned his spurs the traditional way. He organised the DAP’s e-campaign, and ahem, revealed he can sing too. Here he is in front of the famous 30,000 crowd at DAP’s final election rally:
Yes, for a certain pollie, this result is definitely a slap in the face.