Side Views

901: A day for cautious optimism — Erna Mahyuni

JAN 9 — “It wasn’t in the script!” So said a friend in his Facebook status about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal. It is an unexpected but welcome end to the needless spectacle that was the Sodomy II trial. Finally, the nation can concentrate on things far more important than the contents of Saiful’s rectum.

Yet there had to be more drama today with the small explosions happening after. Already the country’s amchair conspiracy theorists are speculating: who set them off? Random accusations are being hurled here and there, blaming Perkasa, Perkida and Umno, among others. Soon they’ll be speculating that it was an inside job.

I say that it is time Malaysians stopped being distracted by the sensational. Anwar is, for the moment, safe from being a martyr for PKR’s cause. The oft-maligned judiciary has recovered some of its credibility. What happens next?

We move on. There is a bigger picture here that the courtroom drama kept obscuring. It’s 2012; 2020 is but eight years away, but how far have we come towards achieving the lofty goals set for us?

Our education standards are slipping. The class divide is growing. Prices are rising, while salaries remain stagnant. The brain drain goes ever unchecked. Now that our senior politicians are no longer embroiled in courtroom farce, this is the time for hard work.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak promised reforms; he has precious little time now to put them in place and keep in check those who oppose them — his own party members.

Since PKR can no longer yell “Justice for Anwar” on the streets, can it still demonstrate relevance? It is time for the party to prove that it truly is for the people, and not just Anwar’s personal ramp towards obtaining the country’s prime ministership.

The true test here, for our leaders, is in tackling the bigger issues. Now, more than ever, is the time for leadership. The question here is, will the rakyat get that or will we have to look forward to more church-bashing, cow- and pig-head throwing, fiery ceramahs and empty election promises?

Show’s over, folks. Now get to work.

* Erna Mahyuni is a subeditor with The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.


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