Commentary

S’pore cannot afford to import M’sian politics

Published: 4:01 AM, May 15, 2013
Updated: 4:03 AM, May 15, 2013
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As a Singapore citizen, and student of politics and security, it was gravely troubling to witness the knock-on effect of the Malaysian general election on Singapore.

Not only were some Singaporeans partaking in Malaysian politics, but Malaysians working and staying in Singapore also chose to actively express their political views on Malaysian politics through public protests. This is something that should not be encouraged or condoned as there will be grave consequences for both societies.

The 13th Malaysian general election held on May 5 was dubbed the mother of all elections. It was one of the most competitive elections with the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) believing that it could capture power from the Barisan Nasional (BN), in power since 1955. By the early hours of May 6, the BN was returned to power, capturing 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats, winning all except three of the 13 states but with only 47.3 per cent of the popular vote compared to the PR’s 50.8 per cent. Compared to many functioning democracies, the BN’s 60 per cent stranglehold of parliamentary seats was emphatic though short of winning a two-third majority with seven fewer seats than the 2008 elections.

The PR’s leaders, especially Mr Anwar Ibrahim, who had earlier declared victory barely hours after the polls closed, refused to accept the outcome and started a nation-wide protest movement. The rights and wrongs of Mr Anwar’s move are up to the Malaysian government and people to decide.

How this will eventually be resolved, through due legal process or people’s power street protests, is something only Malaysia and Malaysians should decide.

BOOMERANG EFFECT

In an unprecedented move, Mr Anwar’s protest movement in Malaysia had a direct boomerang effect in Singapore when some Singaporeans and Malaysians decided to use the Republic as an overseas platform to endorse and support his political agenda and goals post-election.

On May 8, about 100 Malaysians gathered at Merlion Park to support Mr Anwar’s call to annul the election results. Police warned nine of the organisers. On May 11, 21 Malaysians were arrested for staging illegal protests at Merlion Park. On May 12, about 200 people gathered at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park, a platform meant strictly for Singaporeans and permanent residents, to hear protests against the BN-led victory in support of Mr Anwar and the PR.

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