This 5th Pakatan Rakyat Convention is to be an ordinary annual convention. But it has become a historic one.
This is because this PR Convention in Shah Alam must send out a clear and unmistakable message to the powers-that-be that they can jail the body of Anwar Ibrahim but they cannot imprison the spirit and soul of Pakatan Rakyat for a new Malaysia of freedom, justice, good governance and prosperity for all Malaysians!
Selangor Speaker Hannah Yeoh could not have put it better when she said in her speech this morning that when the powers-that-be first persecuted and imprisoned Anwar Ibrahim after sacking him from Umno 16 years ago, Anwar was a leader of the Malays.
Today, in the second-round of persecution and imprisonment of Anwar Ibrahim, Anwar has become the leader of Malaysians.
This is the measure of the transformation that Anwar has wrought in the past 16 years (compared to the fake “transformations” of the Najib administration), and there can be no better outcome of today’s convention than for all Pakatan Rakyat leaders, members and supporters, whether PKR, PAS or DAP to resolve to follow Anwar’s example to become Malaysians fighting for the welfare and interests of all Malaysians.
Sixteen years ago, when Anwar was first imprisoned, the idea of UMNO and Barisan Nasional being toppled was completely unthinkable and impossible.
Today, when they want to imprison Anwar for the second time, the possibility of UMNO and BN losing power is unavoidable and unpreventable!
I want to ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak why he is so afraid of Anwar Ibrahim?
Yesterday, Najib said he is prepared to put the nation’s long-term interests before his short-term popularity.
In December, a Merdeka Centre poll disclosed that Najib’s popularity rating has taken the lowest dip since becoming Prime Minister in April 2009, declining to 52% in December 2013 from 62% in August.
In those four months at the end of last year, Najib’s popularity rating fell by seven per cent from 73% to 66% among the Malays, plunged by 19% from 76% to 57% among the Indians and crashed by 15% from 36% to 21% among the Chinese.
If a popularity poll for the Prime Minister is taken after Anwar’s 5-year jail conviction yesterday, his approval rating would have nose-dived further among all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese or Indians.
Malaysia has returned to the nightmare of the depredations of the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary – the dark days of a compromised judiciary in the late eighties and nineties.
When Tan Sri Dzaiddin was appointed the new Chief Justice of the Federal Court in December 2000, there were high expectations that Malaysia would start the difficult but important task to restore public confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary, but during his term of office of less than three years, he could only stop the rot in the judiciary but was unable to launch wide-ranging judicial reforms to restore public confidence in the judiciary.
What happened yesterday ending in the five-year jail conviction of Anwar was a day of infamy for the system of justice and the judiciary, bringing back the nightmare of the judiciary of disrepute of the late eighties and nineties.
Najib has failed in his own test of being “prepared to put the nation’s long-term interest before his short-term popularity”, or he would not have allowed the nightmare of the judiciary of disrepute of the eighties and nineties to come back to haunt Malaysians.
He also would not be talking about “decades” before his anti-corruption efforts could bear fruit – as he is in effect ruling out any effective anti-corruption results during his tenure as Prime Minister.
In China, the anti-corruption drive under the leadership of the Chinese President Xi Jinping is probing and re-opening the corruption scandals in the construction of the world’s biggest dam, the US$60 billion Three Gorges dam, going back more than two decades to 1992 when work on the dam first started.
Is Najib prepared to re-open the corruption scandals in Malaysia in the past two decades, covering premiership not only of his predecessor, Tun Abdullah but also of Tun Mahathir as well? Is Najib prepared to open the files covering the past two decades in the battle against corruption?
(Speech [Part 1] at the 5th Pakatan Rakyat Convention at Setia City Convention Centre, Shah Alam on Saturday, 8th March 2014 at 4.30 pm)