#Opinion* 'Kajang voters make us proud'

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Last Updated: 6:21pm, Mar 24, 2014PKR won the Kajang by-election as widely expected, albeit with a slightly reduced majority. This lower majority could be attributed to the poor turnout of 72% of voters compared with the 88% in the general election last May.

Much has been made of this reduced majority. In 2013, PKR won with a majority of 6,823 votes but this has now been trimmed to 5,379, a shortfall of 1,455 votes.

But nothing is said in the BN-controlled mainstream media about the drop in the number of votes polled by the MCA-BN since GE13. In 2013, the MCA bagged 12,747 votes compared with its present tally of 11,362, a reduction of 1,385 votes. This must be worrying for the MCA.

In fact, the MCA’s Lee Ban Seng, who was defeated in GE13, did much better than Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun. In the MCA hierarchy, Ban Seng was a nobody whereas Mei Fun is the third-highest ranking leader in the MCA.

Moreover, she had a bigger profile and was better known, having been a former PJ Utara MP and deputy minister in the BN government.

For her to draw fewer votes than Ban Seng does not speak well for Chinese Malaysian support for the MCA. It does not in any way show that the support from the community is returning to the MCA. So there is nothing to gloat about for the Umno-BN in this by-election.

All said and done, Aliran would like to commend the voters of Kajang for their bravery and their courageous indictment of Umno and its lop-sided policies and mismanagement of government.

The voters of Kajang have redeemed our hope that change is possible and that our aspirations are achievable. They have shown us: “We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”

They have confirmed that what has happened in the recent past – the convictions of Anwar Ibrahim and Karpal Singh in rushed judgments – are acts that have to be condemned in no uncertain terms.

They have clearly conveyed the message that corruption will not be tolerated, that selective prosecutions are abhorrent, that the attempt to divide us along ethnic and religious lines will be fiercely resisted, that ignoring the plight of the poor and promoting the enrichment of the powerful will invite the backlash of thinking Malaysians.

They have set the trend for GE14 and showed us the way forward. The way forward is full of hope for change, and that possibility is real.

We are reminded of the inspiring saying, “Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”

Likewise, when the many caring Malaysians walk together along the path of democracy, we can pave the way for a new government that will be just and fair to all Malaysians – irrespective of our ethnic and religious origins.

P. Ramakrishnan is an executive committee member of Aliran

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