(Speech 2 in Dewan Rakyat when taking part in the debate on Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address on Thursday, 13th March 2014)
The traumatic and heart-rending MH370 tragedy is not the only event to darken the horizon of the country in the past week.
The other two somber developments of the country were the attempts to disqualify the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh as Members of Parliament and to hold parliamentary by-elections in the Permatang Pauh and Bukit Gelugor constituencies, the former probably as early as before the next Parliamentary meeting in June.
The attempts to disqualify Anwar and Karpal as MPs fly in face of the claim by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he is serious about national reconciliation and national consensus and is prepared to rise above partisan differences to end national drift and loss of leadership and direction in the country in the past 10 months since the 13th General Elections.
In his written reply to the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on National Reconciliation Plan, Najib smuggled for the first time in the past 10 months a reference to the 1Malaysia Policy, which he seemed to have forgotten or abandoned although he promulgated as his signature policy when he first became Prime Minister in April 2009.
He said his concept of National Reconciliation was “selari dengan Gagasan 1Malaysia, yang bertujuan memupuk semangat kebersamaan di kalangan rakyat, untuk turut sama-sama berperanan membina Negara Malaysia yang bersatu padu, dalam mendepani cabaran masa depan”.
Has Najib got the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to endorse both the 1Malaysia Plan and the National Reconciliation Plan by declaring that he, Muhyiddin, is now “Malaysian first, Malay second”?
If not, how meaningful can Najib’s National Reconciliation Plan be when the 1Malaysia policy is even repudiated by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir who had gone on public record to declare two things: firstly, that he did not understand what 1Malaysia is all about; and secondly, he had never seen worse racial and religious polarization during during Najib’s 1Malaysia policy!
What is Najib’s answer to the worst racial and religious polarisation in post-13GE compared to any other time in the nation’s 56-year history and which led the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) to warn only last month that the Najib administration’s failure to act swiftly when dealing with racial and religiously sensitive incidents could lead to “serious consequences”?
The NUCC said in a statement that Putrajaya must move quickly as rising religious tensions could eventually hamper efforts to promote national unity.
It urged the Najib government “to uphold the rule of law and to actively promote national unity by taking prompt action against incendiary statements and actions which are provocative and can lead to conflict and tension with serious consequences affecting peace, harmony and national unity”.
What is Najib’s response to the NUCC call and the general expectation of the Malaysian citizenry that the government would be pro-active and even pre-emptive in taking measures to slap down and halt the increasing incidents of the incitement of racial and religious hatred and tensions through the spread of lies and falsehoods, to pit race against race and religion and religion, even if it would set the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation in flames?
Instead of the promise of pro-active and pre-emptive action to save the country by giving no room or space for the evil and nefarious designs of the merchants and vendors of hate and violence, all that Najib suggested in his blog post “A national reconciliation update” at the end of last month was that Malaysians should just ignore the demands of the instigators and extremists, i.e. “Don’t give them the air time or the publicity”.
I could not think of a more inane, useless or irresponsible plan to save the country from the sinister and nefarious forces out to pit race against race and religion against religion and to create racial chaos and religious conflagration, especially when it is the UMNO and BN-controlled printed, electronic and social media which gave precious oxygen to such instigators by sensationalising their extremist demands– in particular Utusan Malaysia and the UMNO/BN controlled electronic media of radio and television.
Will Najib immediately issue a directive to Utusan Malaysia and all Umno/BN-controlled printed, electronic and social media to stop giving oxygen to these instigators and extremists by denying them the “publicity they crave”?
If Najib is not prepared to issue such a directive, is he not condoning the instigators and extremists in their dastardly act of trying to pit race against race and religion against religion through the incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred and tensions with lies and falsehoods?
The least I had expected is an announcement by the Prime Minister serving a final warning to all and sundry that the government and all the forces at its command, including the police and the Attorney-General’s chambers, would be deployed to ensure that peace, harmony, progress and prosperity of all Malaysians would not be jeopardised or destroyed by the evil designs of a treacherous few who want to create racial chaos and religious conflagration through incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred and tensions with lies and falsehoods.
But Najib lacks such political will, commitment, leadership and vision to save Malaysia from the instigators and extremists set on creating racial chaos and religious conflagration through the ceaseless incitement of racial and religious hatred and tensions with lies and falsehoods.
All he is asking Malaysians is to “destroy” the instigators and extremists “by having faith in yourself and your fellow Malaysians”.
No talk that the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on anyone who preaches hate seeking to pit race against race and religion against religion to cause racial chaos and religious conflagration!
If this is all Najib could prescribe to ensure peace, harmony, progress and prosperity for all Malaysians, then he should not be Prime Minister as his proper vocation would be a Good Samaritan preaching from street to street and village to village to all mankind to do good and avoid harm to others!
Why the sudden compassion by Najib for the instigators and extremists who are out to set the plural Malaysian nation aflame?
And what is the use of the police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and other national institutions if these instigators and extremists are suddenly to be given the powers of “immunity and impunity” to break the laws of the country and tear the country asunder?
Five things happened in the 28 days between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement of a National Reconciliation Plan (NRP) after the Cabinet meeting of January 29 and his blog-post on Feb. 25 on “A national reconciliation update” which raise serious questions whether the Najib premiership is really serious about national reconciliation, national unity and national consensus.
These five incidents are:
1. Although Najib’s post-Cabinet announcement of an NRP on Jan 29 was in response to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s offer of an olive branch on Jan 26 to Barisan Nasional on behalf of Pakatan Rakyat for a “national consensus” to end the voices of hate and to move the nation forward, nothing was done in the past 30 days to convene a summit meeting of BN-PR leaders on “national reconciliation”.
2. Najib conspicuously turned his back on the world-wide celebration of “World Interfaith Harmony Week 2014” (Feb. 3 – 9) not participating in any function to mark the occasion, although on the first day of the World Interfaith Harmony Week last year, he set the pace on the observance of the global interfaith harmony week and visited the places of worship of the nation’s five main religions in Kuala Lumpur.
3. The Feb. 6 “chicken and slap” demonstration by self-styled “Council of Islamic NGOs” offering a reward of RM500 (later raised to RM1,200 and then RM2,000) to anyone who slapped DAP National Vice Chairperson and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok followed by the “chicken-slaughtering and blood-smearing” of the images of DAP and Pakatan Rakyat leaders – in the process committing a slew of offences including criminal intimidation, sedition, incitement of violence against a woman, incitement of violence against an MP and incitement of another May 13 riots. Up to now, the police have not acted against the “Council of Islamic NGOs” protestors for a battery of criminal offences.
4. Resignation of P Waythamoorthy as Deputy Minister on Feb 10 for Najib’s “betrayal in historical terms to the entire Indian people” in not fulfilling the promises he made in the MOU the BN signed with Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia (PHB) before the 13GE, clearly a message that Najib will not honour his commitment to provide a fair deal to minority communities. This is a great blow to any serious talk of “national reconciliation”.
5. The vicious, malevolent and hate-filled reactions to the proposal by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup on Feb. 22 for the omission of the “race” category in all official forms in the country as a major step towards creating a single national identity – like the vitriolic article by Utusan Malaysia (official UMNO newspaper) editor Datuk Zaini Hassan warning that Joseph Kurup’s suggestion was the first step to convince Malays to surrender their bumiputera status and other privileges afforded to the community.
Since the 13th General Elections on May 5 last year, the country has been confronted by a sextuplet of national crisis, viz:
Firstly, the crisis of nation building and national unity highlighted by the worst racial and religious polarisation in the nation’s history. It is sad that up to now, the Cabinet has failed to re-affirm the 10-Point Solution endorsed by the Cabinet in April 2011 to resolve the Bible controversy, with the Deputy Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet openly breaking ranks with the 10-Point Solution.
Secondly, the deepening economic crisis caused by the series of price hikes and looming avalanche of more price hikes in the coming weeks and months culminating in the introduction of the GST at six per cent in April 2015;
Thirdly, the crisis on the corruption front with no signs that there will be a serious campaign to fight “grand corruption” and end the colossal waste, extravagance and misuse of public funds.
Last week, when Najib said he was “prepared to put the nation’s long-term interest before his short-term popularity”, he about “decades” before his anti-corruption efforts could bear fruit –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?
Fourthly, the crisis of deteriorating national educational standards to the extent that both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have studiously avoided talking for even once about Malaysia’s poor performance in 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA.
Whether at the primary, secondary or tertiary levels, Malaysia’s educational system is performing dismally.
Dare the Education Minister Muhyiddin make a Ministerial statement in Parliament to explain why Singapore can get two universities for four consecutive years into the Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities World Reputation Rankings and THE World University Rankings for Top 400 but not a single one from Malaysia?
Fifthly, the crisis of security and safety of citizens, investors and tourists as the police has still to transform itself into an efficient, independent, professional world-class police service dedicated to “democratic policing” and not just “regime-protection” even if it means gross violation of international human rights norms and standards.
The killing of one police corporal Kpl Raja Aizam Raja Mohd and the wounding of another, Kpl Mohd Aidil Mustafa by illegal foreigners in Klang early this month in facty mark a new phase of the Malaysian security situation – not only ordinary Malaysians but even police do not feel safe in their own country!
Sixthly, Malaysia’s return 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 to Anwar and Karpal, where the judiciary became the tools of the Executive to carry out its dirty work of disqualifying Pakatan Rakyat leaders from the elected legislatures of the country, whether Parliament or the Selangor State Assembly, have brought back the the nightmare of the judiciary of disrepute of the late eighties and nineties.
The Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria has denied that the judiciary has regressed to its compromised past as in the late eighties and the nineties.
What else do we expect Tun Arifin to say? Did the Lord President and later Chief Justice of the Federal Court of the “Dark Ages” of the Malaysian judiciary, Tun Hamid and the Tun Eusoff Chin admit their guilt of presiding over discredited, disreputable and compromised judiciary during their time?
Is Najib prepared to work with the Pakatan Rakyat on a National Reconciliation Plan to address to resolve this sextuplet of national crisis?
From the recent persecutions of Anwar and Karpal, the answer seems to be in the negative.