Generation 709 is a group of young Malaysians that came together to continue the demands for reforms that they first articulated during the BERSIH 2.0 walk for a free and fair election. This group could be the harbinger of a new Malaysia.
This young generation of Malaysians — whose expectations of government are formed by their knowledge, experience and exposure to liberal democracies in their truest forms — have made it clear that they expect Barisan Nasional to ship up or shape out.
Their new found courage to challenge a very authoritarian government and its leaders is now pervasive. At this student leaders conference, students challenged the Prime Minister directly on his policies with confidence – a relatively new phenomena in a feudalistic society. There is also an interesting documentary titled Activists Awakening capturing the hopes and aspirations of Malaysia’s young.
As an aside, Malaysia ranks highest in the Hofstede’s Power Distance Index. This measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organisations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. Malaysians are most submissive to authority. Malaysia scores 104 in comparison to a place like Australia, which scores 36.