I have been pressing for the convening of a National Reconciliation Summit of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat leaders to rebuild national unity because the greatest challenge for all Malaysians today is peace-making and bridge-building as the nation-building process 50 years after the formation of Malaysia and 56 years after Merdeka have been sorely tested and tried by an upsurge of irrational racial hatred and religious intolerance in recent times.
Can Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat leaders rise up the challenge of the times and play the role as Peace-Makers and Bridge-Builders?
I believe so because I am confident that in the leadership of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat there are sufficient men and women who are Malaysian patriots and nationalists first and last, and who are prepared to put national interests above partisan or personal selves as we share a common Malaysian Dream – the creation of a successful plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences as the common ground binding them as one citizenship exceed the differences that divide them.
This is also the time for all Malaysians patriots and nationalists to step forward to play the role as Peace-Maker and Bridge-Builder to span the ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural divides in the country and to give life and meaning to the special characteristic of Malaysian plural nationhood – Unity in Diversity.
This was why my interest was piqued yesterday when I saw the following headlines of online news portals about the latest blog of former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad:
• Dr M: BN needs support from all to weather 2014 – Malaysiakini
• Barisan needs to tweak power-sharing for better outcome in next polls, says Dr. Mahathir – The Malaysian Insider
• Dr M: Malaysia can’t afford a minority government – The Malay Mail Online
• Dr M: Respect BN’s power sharing concept – Free Malaysia Today
These online headlines raise the question whether Mahathir could be a Peace-Maker and Bridge-Builder in the agenda of national reconciliation to rebuild national unity.
However, when I read his blog “MULTIRACIAL MALAYSIA”, I do not see a emergent Peace-Maker and Bridge-Builder as he seems bent on continuing his erstwhile role to disrupt the peace and to destroy the bridge of nation-building in Malaysia.
Mahathir’s analysis is half-right and half-wrong, while his prescription is totally wrong.
Mahathir is right that Malaysia’s peace and prosperity is because the people believe in sharing political power and economic wealth.
He said that Malaysia as a multi-racial country can only remain peaceful and prosperous if the ideal of sharing between the races is upheld.
He wrote: “The Malays must remember that they cannot rule and prosper this country on their own.
“They need the dynamism and business skills of the Chinese. They need also the professional skills of the Indians.
“The Chinese and Indians must also realise that they need Malay support if they wish to form a Government in Malaysia. And Malay support will not be forthcoming if the Chinese and Indians are not prepared to share and share fairly political power and economic wealth.”
But Mahathir was wrong when he accused Pakatan Rakyat and in particular DAP of rejecting the formula of power-sharing, falsely alleging that the DAP promised to the Chinese voters in the 13GE “a possibility of dominating not just economic wealth but political power as well”.
In fact, Mahathir first made this facile, frivolous, reckless and downright irresponsible allegation when I took the high-risk decision in the 13GE to leave the Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat, where I had won with a majority of over 21,000 votes in the 2008 GE, to contest in the Barisan Nasional fortress of Gelang Patah which BN had won with some 9,000-vote majority in the 2008 GE and a humoungous 31,688-vote majority in the 2004 GE.
Mahathir immediately started to beat the war-drums to create the lie and spread the fear that I was contesting in Gelang Patah because the Chinese in Malaysia wanted to oust the political power of the Malays and to dominate Malaysian politics. In actual fact, it was a calculated risk in the new politics of Malaysia based on the recognition that the way into the future must be a politics which can secure the support of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.
My victory in Gelang Patah was not a victory of Chinese over the Malays, but a Malaysian victory because of the support of all Malaysian voters, whether Chinese, Malays or Indians.
DAP and PR fully accept the formula of power-sharing as the basis for the governance in multi-racial Malaysia, and the notion of the Chinese wanting to oust the political power of the Malays and dominate Malaysian politics is a most irresponsible and reckless concoction from Mahathir’s febrile imagination.
In the 13GE and after, what Malaysians want is a new formula of power sharing among the races in the country to benefit the majority of the ordinary Malaysians regardless of race or religion as the old formula of Umno/BN power sharing only benefits the leaders and their cronies, like Umnoputras while capitalizing on the name of bumiputeras.
“Political parties do not like to lose. But in Malaysia when the Government party lost, it had peacefully surrendered power. That this has not been seen at national level is the people’s will. But at state level it has given up power in six states. I believe it will give up power at national level if the people so wish.”
This is the first time that a top UMNO leader or ex-leader had made a public statement that UMNO will give up power at national level if the people so wish. This is commendable and a step in the right direction of democratic development.
But let any change of federal government be decided by the Malaysian voters through a clean, fair and democratic electoral system and process with no one trying to create public fear and alarm by spreading the lie that those who challenge Umno/BN are anti-national elements and traitors who reject the formula of power sharing among the races and that the Chinese are seeking to oust Malay political power and dominate Malaysian politics.
Such allegations are most irresponsible as only the insane could envisage their possibility when the reality of demography rules them out completely.
Mahathir cannot be a Peace-Maker and Bridge-Builder of the contemporary Malaysia nation-building process if he continues to harbor and propagate such crazy notions and theories, including the DAP wanting to oust Malay political power and dominate Malaysian politics.
Is Mahathir capable of rising up to the occasion to have a new mindset and visionso as to play the role of a Peace-Maker and Bridge-Builder in the present phase of Malaysian history and nation-building after the 13th General Elections.
This is for Mahathir to decide and demonstrate.