COMMENT | The year 2021 was an especially difficult year for Malaysia, with deaths from Covid-19 reaching over 31,000, devastating mismanaged floods, and yet another non-consultative political leadership transition taking place amidst perennial lockdowns, a not-yet recovered economy and growing hopelessness.
It is easy to ignore the impressive successes – an almost-comprehensive vaccine programme, persistent resilience and stronger bonds among Malaysians, greater push-back against entrenched racism and inequalities and widening demands for better governance, especially from a now more electorally-included young.
Malaysia is undergoing profound changes. New narratives and political engagement are emerging out of the Covid-19 pandemic and its political travails. The country is dealing with a political reckoning as it experiences the most serious crisis it has ever faced and is still facing.
As the year ends, it is important to look back and forward. Below I outline a few of the major shifts taking place, suggesting that despite the arguably unprecedented strain, ordinary Malaysians continue to inspire in their fortitude.