The Rise of the Game Changers

The Rise of the Game Changers

Things feel unsettled in Malaysia right now.

A lot of strong emotions are at play as the temperature of election fever rises. Hairsplitting the actual date isn’t really important because the reality is that the campaigning on both sides is already at full steam.

There are protests and counter protests, accusations and counter accusations with more noise than real substance or solutions to some of the most pressing issues Malaysians face on a daily basis.

This time around, the fever pitch of electioneering undoubtedly has to do with the knowledge that the public is more actively involved in the conversation about the direction the country should take, driven largely by the Internet and social media universe.

The Rise of the Game Changers

No doubt this is a domino effect from the spate of public unrest we are witnessing all over the world, from Russia to the US, from the Middle East to Asia—and no government and no leaders have been left unscathed.

This isn’t a good or bad scenario - it is what it is, a sign of the times that governance is no longer top down, or the exclusive domain of those in power.

Malaysia, like all the other countries, now has a more informed, more well-educated populace. Notwithstanding their age group, they are a new generation of voters with a world view defined more by intelligent debate and meaningful solutions to the problems that plague us rather than battle-fatigued issues of race, religion and loyalty.

This new generation does not see the world in stark dichotomies of us against them or black or white. Fear factor style rhetoric doesn’t faze them, and unquestioning loyalty to leaders goes against their grain.

This is generation that understands the power of their vote, and will hold the powers that be accountable for the quality of their governance.

A trifecta of change

Our maturity as a nation has intersected squarely with the activism of the Millennial Generation and the maturity of the Internet - a trifecta of circumstances that is transforming our journey forward as a nation.

If we say we want a dynamic thinking, innovative and creative nation, we cannot hem people in with rules and regulations that are out of touch with changing pulse of the who they are and their worldview.

We cannot say we want innovative and creative thinkers yet penalize those (sometimes severely) who refuse to play by the old rules.

The point is this. Every right thinking person knows that a nation needs rules for it is the bedrock of peace and prosperity.

But the rules and limitation must not be debilitating; they must allow for constructive engagement and constructive criticism that allow us to make corrections. We have a lot of potential in this country - people who want to be defined by how they can contribute to make Malaysia more dynamic and innovative.

They see themselves in broader strokes of Malaysians, of global citizens, of solution-finders, rather than problem-solvers.

Yes, things feel unsettled in Malaysia right now. And while it may rest a bit uncomfortably on the Malaysian psyche, it may not be necessarily a bad thing. Feeling uncomfortable can actually be healthy because it signals that we are doing something outside of our comfort zone.

Change as the famous saying goes, happens whether we want it or not, but progress is a choice.

The rules of the game have changed, the goalposts have shifted. Those who understand this will earn the public’s trust.

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About Tan Sri Lim

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing, the Founder and President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, does not fit into any ordinary mould that would describe most entrepreneurs.

His journey has been closely linked with the economic and social development of Malaysia.

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Raising Malaysia’s internet broadband penetration from 26 percent currently to the 50 percent target in 2010 will add another percentage point to the GDP and 135,000 new jobs.

The Star, July 2009

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