I was woken up this morning in Kuala Lumpur by what sounded like fireworks. Checking the news, it could well have been – the first democratic change in the 60-year-long history of the country. A former prime minister – Mahatir Mohamad –
made common cause with his former opponents to defeat the current prime minister (and his former protégé) Najib Razak. Having talked to my colleagues at the University over the past days, there has been clearly a desire for change but also
a certain feeling of resignation, given all the gerrymandering the (now past) government undertook to stay in power (and this gerrymandering makes Republicans in the US look like early-stage learners). It will be exciting to see what will happen in the
next months and years. Malaysia has achieved a lot over the past 60 years, economically, but also socially, by keeping a multi-ethnic society peacefully together. However, it is also clear that Malaysia has not exploited its potential quite yet.
I wish my Malaysian friends lots of luck!