Of the more than 8 million who voted at the last General Election, more than half voted for change.
A rejection of communal-based politics in favour of a more transparent, accountable, honest and representative governance of the country.
Barisan Nasional (BN), courtesy of our ‘first past the post’ electoral system, was returned to form the federal government, albeit without their usual two-thirds majority.
And DAP, PAS and PKR, now collectively referred to as Pakatan Rakyat (PR), took the stewardship of 5 state governments.
Many in civil society had hoped that political parties on both sides of the divide would take the cue from the sentiments registered by voters at the last poll, to bring about the desired changes.
BN, it was hoped, would begin a process to reform the institutions of governance of the nation, with more transparency and accountability, and a restoration of public confidence in the various institutions of state.
We had also hoped that PR, in their management of the 5 state governments, would begin to show itself as a viable alternative to BN, if mandated to form the federal government at the next general elections.
Two years on, those hopes of the rakyat seem a long way off from being realized.
The wresting of power in Perak by BN was the first clear indicator that BN was not minded to respect the wishes and the choice of the rakyat.
The decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in relation to the Perak controversy reflect the extent to which the superior courts have become the tools of the Executive rather than the last bastion of the citizen to seek justice.
That no further action has followed upon the recommendations of the V.K Lingam Royal Commission of Inquiry serves as damning evidence that BN has no intention of undoing the damage inflicted on the judiciary by the Mahathir administration, and returning the same to the rakyat.
The ongoing Teoh Beng Hock inquest and the Sodomy II trial reveal the extent to which the various institutions of state are being manipulated to subvert the very transparency that the rakyat now demand.
Financial scandals, both in Semenanjung and in Sabah and Sarawak, make headlines in the alternative media, yet little of the same is reported in the mainstream media.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, meanwhile, looks the other way, even as a federal minister warns that bankruptcy looms ahead for the nation.
We are a nation in distress.
Many of us are convinced that if we are ever to begin the process of rehabilitating our nation, it must begin by removing BN from federal governance come the 13th General Election.
PR, at this time, however, does not inspire much confidence that they are well and truly ready to wrest power from BN, let alone take on the task of managing our nation thereafter.
The incidences of party-hopping that facilitated the fall of the PR state government in Perak, the seemingly unsettled state of the government in Selangor, and the internal skirmishes in the three component parties give rise to serious concerns amongst many of us as to the ability of PR to take on BN come the next election, win enough seats to form the next federal government, and then retain those seats and get on with the business of effective federal governance.
For these reasons, many of us in civil society feel that it is imperative that we no longer leave the process of choosing representatives in parliament and the various state assemblies entirely to the political parties, and that the intervention of the rakyat in this regard is a matter of urgency.
Some of us have come together for deliberations on these concerns.
We feel, however, that these matters are of such importance that they warrant deliberations by the largest possible number from civil society.
If you or the organization that you represent, too, share these concerns, we want to hear from you.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your organization wish to be a part of those deliberations.