Defying history and forecasts of local and foreign analysts alike, the Pakatan Harapan coalition was voted into power on both the national and provincial levels even in regions that were considered traditional strongholds of the previous administration. Transcending racial, religious and geographical boundaries, the overwhelming majority of voters rejected a government defined by its abuse of power, financial mismanagement, and pervasive corruption, and sought change in leadership with the desire for democratic accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.
Since coming into power, the new government has enacted bold changes such as eradicating corruption through the strengthening of government institutions, enabling a free press and the functioning of an impartial judiciary. It has also curtailed current government spending to stabilise the economy. However, there is a need to explore other engines of growth like innovation, education, reforming bureaucracy and improving efficiency so that Malaysia will remain attractive to foreign investors. While meritocracy must be supported, affirmative action should also continue on a needs basis to help the poor and marginalised in Malaysia regardless of race and religion.
In leadership and in any challenging personal situation, it is important to have courage, conviction and tenacity of purpose. In political leadership, it is also essential to have compassion for the electorate as they look to leaders with expectation and trust that their leaders will champion their causes. While it is difficult, emotional and painful, forgiveness and religious faith can help one triumph over daunting times, let go of the past and look forward with hope of reshaping the future.