I congratulate PAS Johor for its successful three-day 60th Anniversary Carnival concluding with the ceramah tonight.
For 90 per cent of its 60-year history in the state, PAS Johor faced an uphill battle in the state as Johor had all along been the fixed deposit state and virtually unshakeable fortress of UMNO and Barisan Nasional.
But a political sea change took place in the last 10 per cent of the 60-year history of PAS Johor, which succeeded in achieving a political breakthrough in the 2008 General Elections winning two State Assembly seats which increased to four State Assembly seats in the 2013 general elections last May.
Before 2008, if anybody should ask whether it is possible for the Oposition to win power in the Johor State Government, the answer would be an unanimous and categorical “No”!
But after the 2013 General Elections, if anybody should ask whether it is possible for Pakatan Rakyat to win the Johor State Government in Nusajaya, the answer would be a powerful “Yes” for the majority of thinking people in the State.
This is the extent of the political sea-change which has taken place in the state in the past six years.
Before the 13th General Elections last May, I had said that it would be easier to win Putrajaya than to win Nusajaya. In the event, Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PAS and PKR won 18 out of 56 State Assembly seats – one short of denying BN two-thirds majority in the State Assembly – and five out of 26 Parliamentary seats.
Until the 13th General Elections, UMNO and BN were so arrogant in Johore that their leaders publicly boasted that they would ensure that Johore would be come a zero-opposition state.
Such claim is now history, for in the next and future general elections, what UMNO and BN would be struggling to achieve is not a zero-opposition state, but to save themselves from being toppled from Nusajaya and relegated to an Opposition status in the state.
Johor is now the front-line state in the 14GE as PR victory in both Putrajaya and Nusajaya are now within reach for the first time in nation’s history.
The past one year since the May general elections have seen the country reeling from one national crisis to another – whether it be economic, educational, security, anti-corruption, nation-building, human rights, good governance and in the past month the missing MH370 Boeing 777-200 aircraft disaster with 239 passengers and crew on board and the second kidnapping of tourists in four months in the east coast of Sabah.
It is clear that UMNO and Barisan Nasional could only bring about “national transformation” in words but not in deed, and there is a very bleak future for Malaysia unless there is a change of government.
Pakatan Rakyat stands ready to replace UMNO and Barisan Nasional whether in Putrajaya or in Nusajaya.
The three parties in Pakatan Rakyat – DAP, PAS and PKR – have our differences, for example on the hudud issue between the DAP and PAS, but we have agreed that our common political aims like the pursuit of unity and harmony; the restoration of justice, democracy, human rights, good governance and the rule of law; the establishment of a moral and ethical society where there is no corruption or abuses of power deserve to be given priority attention as compared to our political differences.
The challenge facing the Pakatan Rakyat parties is whether we can unite to save Malaysia from being destroyed by those who are prepared to play the race and religious card to incite racial and religious hatred to further aggravate racial and religious polarization just to perpetuate their selfish vested political interests.
Let the leaders, members and supporters of Pakatan Rakyat, whether PAS, PKR or DAP, prove that we are the true Malaysians as compared to UMNO and Barisan Nasional by steadfastly striving for the rights and interests of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or territory.
(Speech at the Karnival 60 Tahun PAS Negeri Johor ceramah at Parit Tarom, Muar on Saturday, 5th April 2014 at 10 pm)