Southeast Asian Elections: Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia
By N Mark Castro
Extending its 56 year rule in the Republic of Malaysia, incumbent party Barisan Nasional managed to get 112 seats out of the 222-seat parliament, retaining its position despite its worst electoral performance.
Defeated opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Pakatan Rakyat (a 3-party alliance) accused the Barisan of widespread fraud before and during the polls.
Winning Barisan Prime Minister Najib Razak is urging all Malaysians to accept his coalition’s victory but the results expose a growing racial polarization in the Southeast Asian nation and could continue to undermine his governance.
Regardless of the outcome, however, and whether or not the opposition accepts it, the divided sentiment of the public will continue to hound the government as long as various racial ethnicity feel disenfranchised and discriminated.
What worked before in providing a leg-up to ethnic Malays no longer work today as every legal resident of Malaysia feel that they contribute to the country as much as everyone else.
Which finds a unique parallelism to the current state in the Philippines, although it’s a dog with a different collar.
Traditional politics in the Republic of the Philippines contain only 3 elements: GOONS, GUN, and GOLD.
This has always been the foundation that has entrenched political dynasties that much of the names that have been elected in the Philippines are the same names that have existed for generations. A family political dynasty would be toppled for one minute, and another would rise soon after.
Not to mention the popularity syndrome which has infected the Philippine electorate in the past, with remnants continuing to hound the ballot, hence, repeating its own cycle of political promises that, despite the impressive economic growth of the Philippines, the trickle down effect has never happened.
In the end, no pronouncements of Change can ever happen in the political landscape of the Philippines as long as a larger portion of its electorate can be bought.
Whatever government the Philippines get is the kind of government it deserves.
This basically gives us a preview of the upcoming elections in the Republic of Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Moslem population, owner of the largest economy in the entire Southeast Asia, and is one of the most active social media nation in the world.
As the Democrat Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudyohono continues to implode, three names have emerged to be the most likely presidential candidates: Prabowo, Bakrie, and Megawati.
Let’s how exciting it gets.