A year ago we voted change. We changed the government.

A year ago, we voted for change. And change we did. The good, the bad and the ugly may have since been seen, but nevertheless, change we did.

And for now, that’s all that matters. That we have proven that we are capable of change. That we can change the government that rules over us.

Knowing that we have that power to change the government of the day is more than enough for the time being. Knowing that the government of the day can no longer take the people for granted because they know, we hold the true power. Knowing that the elected representatives now know that they work for the people, and not the other way around.

All of that and more is worth celebrating despite the obvious shortcomings. We can celebrate the followings:

Cleaner elections

No matter who you voted for, whether you’re the 47% who voted for Pakatan Harapan or the 53% who didn’t, we all won.

There are no real losers this time because we all won. We won our freedom. We are now free to vote whoever we want to. There’s no more culture of fear to vote for the government of the day.

Look at the recent by-elections and look at the bright side of it. There was no vote rigging, no attempts to stop voters from voting, and no more RM300 to vote for one party. No more election trickery.

While there were many complaints about election offences, they were minor and the right or wrongs were grey and no longer as blatant as they used to be.

The crooks are facing justice in accordance to the rule of law

While many are still at large, they are only roaming free because the laws provide that they remain innocent until proven guilty. The new government is following the rule of law so they will remain free until justice is served.

The likes of Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor, Zahid Hamidi, Azeez Rahim and the latest being Bung Mokhtar are being charged in court and the government are not seen interfering with the judicial process.

The trials have so far proven to be tricky because the crooks did their homework and their very best to delay and delay but the prosecution has so far shown hope while the judges have so far been seen to be impartial and fair.

It is important for the crooks to face justice and more so for justice to take its course independently. These are signs that we are indeed living in better days.

No more fear of opposition members  arrested just for being opposition

The days of hauling up and jailing opposition members without due process and a fair trial have now become a thing of the past.

Being arrested used to be a nightmare  for some, a batch of honour not just for the politicians but also for activists and civil society.

The days of artists being arrested and charged for drawing cartoons or clowns of a government leader are no more.

No one has been hauled up into police trucks during peaceful demonstrations like used to be the case during Bersih rallies.

Perhaps arresting, charging and jailing someone who pleaded guilty while being unrepresented in court for 10 years for insulting religion is a new low for the government, but this seems to be an isolated case which hopefully will have a better outcome at appeals.

It is important to remember that the new government has nothing to do with the decision because the new government is not meddling with court decisions.

Government promised to probe judiciary scandal

The judiciary scandal is one that must be looked into if the new government is to ensure justice is fair and will be following rule of law.

After a senior judge made shocking revelations about foul play and even corruption in the judiciary, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad promised to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the alleged claims.

Hopefully, this will expose corrupt judges and these ‘Justices’ are then brought to justice.

Efforts to battle corruption at all levels

The latest Corruption Perception Index have shown that we made progress since May 9, 2018. We moved up the ranks to being less corrupt than before.

In January this year, the Prime Minister launched the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) which serves as a warning to all – including the prime minister and Cabinet ministers – to steer clear of graft.

Dr Mahathir pledged for strict actions to be taken against those involved in graft in the country, including the practice of civil servants being paid to provide special treatment to certain individuals, or looking the other way when wrongdoings are committed.

“(You) cannot expect me alone to do it, or only the National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC).

“And, it is also not the responsibility of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or certain agencies, to shoulder the responsibility of (ensuring corruption-free) governance and integrity.

“It is the responsibility of all quarters… to inculcate good values and to (instil) hatred towards corruption among our children.

“It will be more meaningful when (leaders such as myself) and those (in positions of authority) can achieve integrity and trustworthiness, (and an environment free of) corruption and abuse of power,” Tun Dr Mahathir was quoted saying.

Indeed, battling corruption in a country will be an uphill battle but it is one for all to be involved. Including us, citizens.

Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

Both the Prime Minister and Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin have said that they will seriously look into the setting up of IPCMC including to hear concerns from the police.

The police have for so long enjoyed free reign to act on their own independently without having to answer to almost anyone.

There are too many cases of police brutality, corruption and malpractice that require IPCMC to be formed soonest possible if the new government is to battle corrupt practices in the force.

The now-retired IGP Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun had voiced concerns over handing over the power to take action on their own force to IPCMC. He strongly said that the whole police force are against it.

He should probably be reminded that the Prime Minister had also said to let the IGP retire before we investigate over the enforced disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat. The IGP himself should be investigated for this.

Does that not mean that IPCMC is absolutely necessary?

Less debt, more savings, cheaper projects

The Pakatan Harapan government has proven to be better at saving costs and managing the debt-laden country than its predecessor.

Najib created unnecessary debt to enrich himself and a certain few, and his way of managing those debts were by creating more debt.

Whether it was via 1MDB bond or bondage to China, those days are over. Lim Guan Eng put a stop to it. Tun Daim Zainuddin negotiated with the Chinese for better deals and there was Dr Mahathir himself restoring confidence by handling the Chinese for the benefit of this tiny country called Malaysia.

Whether it was the MRT deal, the ECRL deal or the palm oil deal, we should celebrate that we are now in better hands economically.

Malays are more united than ever

While this may be seen negatively by some, a united Malay race is not always a bad idea. The problem is that they are being led by the wrong politicians using divisive ideas for their own agenda.

If Pakatan Harapan leaders can figure out how to use united Malays towards the benefit of all Malaysians, then this will probably be the best hope for the country to change for the better.