Forum on Malaysia Baru in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Figure 1 : Prof Bridget Welsh speaking in our forum

Figure 2 : The audience listening tentatively to Prof. Bridget Welsh

Figure 3 : Our team and Bridget after the forum session

Bersih NL has once again successfully organized a forum about Malaysia Baru on 3 November 2018 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We had the privilege to have YB Maria Chin (via Skype), Prof. Bridget Welsh and Dr Greg Lopez (via Skype) as our speakers and panel members. Prof. Welsh provided us her great analysis on what happened during the 14th Malaysian General Election (GE14) in May 2018, how the change of government happened and what forces and challenges the new government is facing post GE14. Critical take-away from her talk are:

  • Change is possible “one of the stories of the year”
  • Change of government, not “regime change”
  • ‘Minority victory’ dependent on East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), “Malay deficit” in support within Malaysia as a whole
  • New coalition government, with problems inside this governing coalition source of instability
  • Elites within the system critical facilitators in actual transition on May 10, and they are continuing to pressure for “safe landings”
  • Shifts in voting behavior not about “race” but a combination of drivers including generation and class factors, new frameworks for understanding Malaysia needed

YB Maria Chin shared with us her focus as the new Member of Parliament (MP); which are the Reform Agenda and to address the issues of the people in urban slump (B40). Finally, YB Maria stressed that this is the time for Malaysian diaspora to join Global Bersih to make a pitch to the new Election Commission (EC) chairman and committee members on electoral reform as they are seen to be more open to change and align to the electoral reform proposed by Bersih 2.0.

Dr Greg Lopez has also shared his views. For example, on one of the questions from the audience, which is on the topic of “brain drain” among Malaysians. He mentioned that Malaysians are now more connected via the Internet that the knowledge sharing is now more wide spread globally among Malaysians living overseas.

We also had other NGOs like BothENDS (https://www.bothends.org/en/) and Global Bersih chapters (Bersih Scotland and Bersih Germany) joining us for this event.

Going forward, is for us to form small working groups where we can brainstorm on the areas for us to focus and research on, with the aim to produce proposals to help our new cabinet members and MPs to address the many pressing issues regarding electoral reforms, education, restoration of the forests, new alternative energy and waste management. If you would like to join us in this nation building effort, do email us at [email protected]

If you missed this session, you can still view the video recording: https://www.facebook.com/bersihnetherlands/videos/493770371121320/

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