NST Leader: Finally, forward?

IS Malaysia growing old gracefully? Events following the 15th General Election on Nov 19 sure point that way.

No power grab, no violence. Sure, there were some harsh words lobbed at political opponents by an errant few on the campaign trail. These are blips in an otherwise maturing society.

Yes, the dithering five days were tiresome, but otherwise Malaysia was a sea of calm as the monarch and his fellow rulers facilitated a way out of the political uncertainty. We were a picture of peace.

So, on Thursday, when the monarch picked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of Pakatan Harapan (PH) to be the 10th prime minister, there was no political storm that shook the nation. Granted, there was a call for Anwar to prove his simple majority to Perikatan Nasional (PN).

But this is no more than political expediency. What's more, the PH leader has graciously agreed to table a vote of confidence when Parliament meets on Dec 19. Again, a smooth transition of power occurred in Putrajaya.

Another barometer of Malaysia's ageing gracefully will present itself in the coming days when Anwar reveals his cabinet. Barisan Nasional (BN), the coalition that made the premiership possible for the PH leader, would naturally expect the favour to be returned.

This is a politically dicey position to be in for the PM. BN and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), which is now also part of the ruling coalition, must remember that Anwar's promise to the voters was a lean and clean government. The voters would certainly hold him to his promise.

Anwar must be allowed to choose the best. Malaysia has been accused by the international community of having had many inept governments. This is Anwar's chance to show otherwise.

Anwar has a chance of taking Malaysia to where it hasn't been before. We see this as a good place, provided he is allowed to. The hung Parliament that followed GE15 is one indicator of the direction we may be heading.

A hung Parliament isn't necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is an overpowering majority in Parliament. History tells us that neither good policies nor good laws get passed in such a Parliament.

We hope the 73 PN MPs act their part to shape a new Malaysia in their role as a strong and responsible opposition.

The other is the coalition of the unlikely. No one, including PH, BN and GPS, thought that they would find themselves working together in Putrajaya.

But here we are, post-GE15, after 65 years of independence. There is one distress, however, that we must declare here and now. Will Anwar be allowed to take us to the good place we want to go? Anwar must be firm.

There is only one chance for Anwar to take Malaysia to a good place. And that is for him to set in motion a government that is just, clean and competent.

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