Covering New Malaysia, May 9 to March 2

I never expected Pakatan Harapan (PH) to win the general election last year. When emotions were running high as the final votes were being counted, I was fast asleep in my bed.

Almost a year later, it seems that people are coming to terms with the type of government they have voted in, and recognise the mistakes and slip-ups they make on a regular basis.

While covering polling day in Semenyih, I reported on PH’s candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali telling reporters to vote for him, a clear violation of the law on campaigning.

I then contacted Bersih 2.0 for a response. My report spread like wildfire, prompting some to label me as anti-PH for writing it. But I have no regrets.

None of the reporters who spoke to Aiman asked him anything that would have made him tell us who the public should vote for.

One leader, however, said there was nothing wrong with Aiman’s statement as there were not many voters around when he was speaking to the press and therefore, he did not think that doing so would be an offence.

He went on to say that the rival candidate had also committed a similar offence.

Remember during the Cameron Highlands by-election, when a certain seasoned politician defended the setting up of stalls to distribute food for the Pongal celebration?

Those who voted for PH expected a more mature government, with ethical, knowledgable leaders, people of high integrity, responsible individuals who would admit their weaknesses and learn to be better.

It’s the same thing with so many of the reports we’ve read – and which I had the opportunity to write about – when it comes to those in the castle of Putrajaya.

PH supporters should not blame reporters for writing stories that make their candidate look bad.

Indeed, there is a whole bunch of other issues to write about, like candidates refusing to debate publicly, the rumbling on the ground with the “Bossku” movement, the young voters, the high turnout rate and so on that could have collectively led to this.

But in Semenyih, I think people simply had enough.

Despite our hopes for the New Malaysia, we must stand up to politicians who peddle nonsense. And that extends to those stirring racial sentiments, including from among PH. Just attend a PH ceramah and tell me if I’m wrong.

Sometimes, I wonder if GE14 was all a bad dream, and if I should stay in bed.

Vinodh Pillai is an FMT journalist.

The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.