On early Tuesday morning, 8 May 2018, Fr. William Michael and I left to Penang Island to cast our vote, and returned to Kuala Lumpur after voting. Fr William left for his parish and as usual I took a walk around our Church compound at 5.30 pm. About 5.45 pm I went to light candles at St Joseph’s shrine and also at our Lady’s grotto and prayed that there would be no cheating during the elections, that ballot papers would be properly counted and ballot boxes would be safe. Then I entered the Church to light the Paschal Candle, which was placed at the sanctuary and stood for a moment in prayer. I hoped and prayed for a new government and also for matured leaders in all States and Federal Constitutions in Malaysia. I left the Paschal Candle burning the whole night until the evening Mass the next day, as the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven.
I was awake the whole night, watching TV and tuned in to KiniTV (internet TV) to get the latest news, results and updates on GE14. It wasn’t only me, but all Malaysians were anxious and excited, to see our preferred candidate win and who would come to a power, governing our nation for the next five years. At one point, I was getting frustrated with the Election Commissioner (EC) for dragging and delaying the announcements of the results of winning candidates. Then finally, at around 4.30 am, the EC announced that Pakatan Harapan (PH) under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad and his coalition with Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) crossed the minimum majority of 112 out of 222 parliament seats to wipe out Barisan Nasional. After hearing the significant news I was so happy and relieved that the voices of the people of Malaysia have finally been heard, hoping that democracy would be at work again.
During the 6.45 am morning Mass, I announced this significant news to the congregation and after Mass I came to my room and waited for the swearing in ceremony of our new (and the world’s oldest) Prime Minister at Istana Negara. Unfortunately, it was postponed, and many rumours and speculations were going around in the social media that made me upset. Everyone was waiting for the historical swearing in of Tun Dr. Mahathir as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia and after a second postponement at 5.00 pm, the ceremony finally took place after 9.30 pm.
Today, after 61 years, Malaysians have put an end the reign of the Barisan Nasional government, and we have stepped into a new era under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir. After serving as 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years (1981-2003) and then going into retirement for 15 years, he has returned to politics with full of confidence and hope to revive, reform and rebuild our nation. He started his party with the manifesto, “Membina Negara, Memenuhi Harapan” (Rebuilding The Nation, Fulfilling Dreams).
As Christians, we pray that our beloved country now moves forward as a fair and all-inclusive nation for every Malaysian regardless of race, religion or circumstance under a graceful albeit ageing leader, who is wise and experienced in economics and politics. We pray that the new government works for the people and with the people to revive, reform and rebuild our nation. Malaysians have given a fresh mandate to the Pakatan Harapan government to restructure the administration system, economy and finance of our country, and we pray that they will honour this trust. Let us unite as a nation and stay focused so that we gradually bring changes to the way we live our lives within our families, communities and society.
Congratulations and may the Lord bless the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia!
Fr. George Packiasamy