(File pic) Malaysians are days away from voting in what will be the most hotly-contested elections in recent memory. NSTP FILE PIC

MALAYSIANS are days away from voting in what will be the most hotly-contested elections in recent memory.

As we head for the polls, one cannot but help to reflect on the developments of the past year, which have changed the political dynamics of the country.

There was the Citizen’s Declaration, a movement bringing together former foes, much to the surprise of many.

It was and probably is difficult for Malaysians to fathom how key opposition figures and civil society leaders could easily embrace Tun Dr Mahathir Moha-mad, the Langkawi candidate, given his past transgressions.

It was obvious then and now that whatever principle the opposition supposedly stood for is no longer relevant.

While Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his family initially had reservations in cooperating with Dr Mahathir, it has dissipated.

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and his son have also come to accept Dr Mahathir.

PKR and DAP formed an alliance with Dr Mahathir.

But, it is increasingly evident that Dr Mahathir has taken
over the reins of the opposition pact.

He has dictated the opposition’s trajectory as well as decisions.

The opposition pact is not one of equal partnership. Coalition partners have not only lost their sense of direction but their raison d’être.

Of concern is whether the pact can with stand the challenges if it were to come to power.

The former Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact proved that it was an uneasy alliance with many divergent interests. Will the opposition pact now suffer the same fate?

DAP champions a Malaysian Malaysia, but on the other hand, Dr. Mahathir’s party claims it will continue to protect Malay rights.

Will the two parties reconcile their differences?

How about the push for democratic ideals? Will Dr Mahathir toe the line? He refuses to acknowledge his role in the Memali incident and Op Lalang.

Instead, he has assigned the blame to someone else.

Malaysians must ponder what kind of government it wants in place on May 9.

There is the possibility of a government that will take us back to authoritarianism or political uncertainty, given the precarious partnerships in the opposition.

Or, perhaps, Malaysians may wish to continue living in harmony, economic prosperity and political stability. The choice is ours.

JON A.G.

Petaling Jaya, Selangor

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