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REFSA Quarterly July 2013-The Government Issue

Dear Readers,

Click here pic 2May 5, possibly the most anticipated date among Malaysians in recent years, turned out to be an anti-climax for many. The deafening calls of ubah  to the federal government could not lever BN from their perch in Putrajaya.

Most Malaysians were disheartened by the results of the 13th General Elections, but many forged on in their journey for change. Ordinary Malaysians took on the herculean tasks of analyzing and breaking down the poll figures. The creative designed infographics to explain how BN won government with a minority of popular votes: thanks to gerrymandering and malapportionment – concepts which many had trouble spelling previously, let alone understanding. The Black 505 rally to protest the poll results saw a flood of 120,000 supporters in and around the Kelana Jaya stadium despite stormy weather.

This, to REFSA, is evidence that 5 May 2013 did change Malaysia. Perhaps not to the extent that a majority of us (51 percent, to be precise) would have preferred, but it did wake us up to the blatant biasness of the electoral system, under which the BN coalition needed only 17 percent of popular votes to win (refer to Pg 12 of the newsletter). It stirred Malaysians to take charge of the information we have and break it down for the masses, mobilise mass protests against alleged polling fraud, and reach out to the rural folks to find out what drives them to still vote for BN. In short, Malaysians are doing for themselves the things that previously only a small minority in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) did.

REFSA welcomes this. Our aim has been to inspire constructive discourse, not to occupy it. We like to think that our work had been one of the many forces of change that led Malaysians to become aware of bulky issues such as economics and policies – they are meant to be broken down, not ignored.

On that note, this shall be the final issue of REFSA Quarterly from this editorial team. Each of us is dialing back from our commitment here, but we are certainly continuing to to work for Malaysia via other pursuits (see REFSA Replies on Pg 3). We have enjoyed traveling on this journey of change with all of you. Let us all help keep our ‘rojak’ nation on the path of progress, and keep the new governments, federal and state, accountable.

Selamat Jalan!

Foong Li Mei

Managing Editor

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Click here to read REFSA Quarterly July 2013 – The Government Issue

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