Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Never thought I'd see the day

From the BBC: Penang abandons pro-Malay policy:
The Malaysian state of Penang says it will no longer follow a controversial central government policy favouring ethnic Malays above other citizens. ... Lim Guan Eng was sworn into office as head of state in Penang, after his Democratic Action Party (DAP) won a convincing election victory.

From the Star newspaper:
The new Penang state government will have two deputy chief ministers - Penanti assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin of PKR and Prai assemblyman Dr P. Ramasamy of DAP. ... Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told a press conference at his office in Komtar on Wednesday that the two would be appointed Deputy Chief Minister I and II respectively. ... He said the appointment of the two deputies was the right choice to effectively represent all Penangites. ... Asked for his response to the appointment, Mohammad Fairus, a 32-year-old business management consultant, said this was a new era of politics put forward for the people and he humbly gave his commitment to serve all Penangites. ... Political scientist Dr Ramasamy, 58, said the people wanted democracy, justice and dynamic change, and he would work hard for the people.

Also in Wikipedia:
The opposition dealt a heavy blow to the Barisan Nasional government by taking the state of
Penang. Although Penang was regarded as a hotly contested state, the outcome unexpectedly turned out to be a landslide win with the opposition, the DAP gaining the majority of the state seats. Many seats saw the opposition winning over two-thirds of the votes, rather than the usual 50-50 distribution. BN only won 2 of the 13 parliamentary seats and 11 of the 40 state seats, its worst performance in Malaysian history. The Democratic Action Party (DAP) will form the next government in Penang with Lim Guan Eng, who is also the party's Secretary General, as its designated next Chief Minister.[50] ... In terms of party landscape, Gerakan, which has led the state since 1969 was defeated, and essentially out of the political landscape, winning only 3 state seats and 2 parliamentary seats (none of which were in this state), not being able to hold on to a single seat in state or federal level—over 30 years of rule gone in one night. Some interesting individual constituencies include Jeff Ooi, who rose to fame with his blog that was constantly critical of the ruling government and made his first foray into politics this election under the DAP, winning the Jelutong parliamentary seat. ... Another significant blow was the defeat of Gerakan President, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, who was looking to move up from state politics, decided not to run for his state seat and subsequently gave up his Chief Minister post of 18 years, to challenge the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat. Some speculated this was part of a larger ambition to be a cabinet member, only to lose to newcomer P. Ramasamy of the DAP by a large margin of 9,485 votes.

Questions remain: Will there be transition to a more participatory pluralistic democracy? I have no idea what that means but am trying to say:
1. Larger turnouts
2. Votes are not along racial lines
3. More press and freedom and individual political freedom

Will there be violence?

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