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MP SPEAKS | The 13th Parliament will be dissolved today bringing on the battle for Malaysia’s 14th general election.

But the battle for a better Malaysia had begun much earlier.

Five years ago, I was in Paloh, Johor, on April 3, 2013 to be exact - when Parliament was dissolved at noon. I was hoping that we could defeat Najib Abdul Razak in that election as I could already foresee the troubles to be faced by the nation if BN remained in power.

Lim Kit Siang, Teo Nie Ching and I moved from our “safe” seats to help spark a movement in Johor, BN’s bastion.

Still, Najib won and Malaysia lost on May 5, 2013.

But it was a Pyrrhic victory for him. He won the seats but not the popular vote and indeed he won without legitimacy.

From that fateful day nearly five years ago, Malaysia has been in permanent paralysis.

Najib was busy trying to break up the opposition coalition in hope of not facing a coherent alternative government. Yet Najib (photo) did not become more popular. The scandals involving 1MDB which exploded in 2015 saw his rating spiral downhill and he never recovered from it.

The combined effect of the GST implementation on April 1, 2015, the massive depreciation of the ringgit since October 2014, the subsidy reductions and the budget cuts to education, healthcare, welfare and basic infrastructure have all caused tremendous hardships to the ordinary Malaysians and which the prime minister refused to acknowledge.

In 2016, Dr Mahathir Mohamad re-emerged on the political scene.

The reconciliation took place. And Pakatan Harapan gained momentum. Najib is now afraid.

So what did he do? The electoral boundaries of parliament and state seats were redrawn to favour BN. The “anti-fake news” law was enacted to control social media. Bersatu is now banned. This is how he thinks he is going to win GE14.

Battle of a generation

The stage is set for a final battle.

My fellow Malaysians, this is our last chance to change. We have only two choices - more misery under Najib’s BN or a new Pakatan Harapan government that will free us from economic burdens as well as bring us towards peace and prosperity.

If Najib wins, we will continue to suffer. It will take the nation years or even decades to believe in the possibility of a change of government through elections.

Racism and religious bigotry will continue to dominate our life while top leaders weaken the nation with scandals, corruptions and mismanagement.

But we Malaysians can rise together to defeat Najib. Together we will rebuild a new Malaysia.

In GE14, I will move from Kluang, a relatively safe seat, to the hot seat of Ayer Hitam, one of the toughest challenges for Harapan.

I hope we can win Ayer Hitam and together we can help Harapan win at least another 40 parliamentary seats to form a government.

GE14 will be the battle of a generation. If we miss this, we lose a generation in bringing hope to our beloved nation.

It’s time now!

LIEW CHIN TONG is the MP for Kluang, DAP Johor chairperson and the party’s national political education director.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.