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I wish to comment on the recent rally of more than 40,000 opposition supporters. I feel that Malaysians zealously want genuine democracy but are being shortchanged by their political leaders. The fact is that holding mass rallies is quite meaningless and is unlikely to change anything. Millions of people demonstrated against the war in Iraq in the US and UK, yet the war still goes on.

We must learn a lesson from Pakistan. More than 5,000 people have been jailed but the president refuses to resign. In fact, it is widely believed that the main opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, is actually in cahoots with President Musharraf and are planning a power-sharing deal.

In Malaysia, the opposition parties need to show their sincerity to the people. The opposition must prove that they want to actually win and are not just satisfied with a sprinkling of seats shared between the leaders of the various opposition parties. Thus, the opposition must participate in the election as a single coalition with a united manifesto.

The hierarchy of power within the opposition must be clearly defined, it must be crystal clear who is going to be the prime minister, deputy prime minister, etc. Otherwise, the opposition is just "main-main" only (wasting voters time).

The fact is that Malaysians want democracy. They want to be able to choose between two equally strong political parties. If the citizens of the US have a choice between the Republicans and the Democrats and the citizens of Britain have a choice between Labour and the Conservatives, why is it that in Malaysia there is only one party that contests all the seats. The opposition must rise up to the challenge. Malaysian voters are demanding this.

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