Malaysians have been hit by the twin disaster of two disappearances.
The first is the 115-day disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370.
Despite the world’s largest and longest land, sea and under-sea search, not only is there no wreckage or debris of the aircraft with 239 passengers and crew on board after nearly four months of search, there is even controversy as to the aircraft’s flight-path and its final destination.
The latest 55-page report released by the Australian Transport Safety Board last Thursday postulated that the MH 370 flight was on autopilot with the passengers and crew having died from suffocation, with the plane likely crashed farther south into the Indian Ocean than previously thought – a distance of some 5,000 kilometres.
The idea of a “ghost plane” for a whole stretch of journey completely on autopilot as far as Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi (3,831), Kabul (4,838 km), Beijing (4,335 km), Seoul (4,662km), Tokyo (5,315 km) or Perth (4,162 km) simply boggles the mind.
But even worse than the 115-day disappearance of the MH370 Boeing 777 is the 422-day disappearance of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was conspicuously absent to provide the hands-on leadership and direction on major issues affecting the country in the past 14 months.
Najib appears to have set Malaysia on autopilot, coasting through not only an utterly shambolic administration and the nation’s most polarized period because of race and religion, allowing extremists and agent provocateurs to trample on the sensitivities of a plural society and to provoke breaches of the peace to cause a racial and religious conflagration with the relentless escalation of dangerous and irresponsible incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tensions.
It would appear that extremist and intolerant groups have not only been given immunity and impunity to continuously up the ante to incite racial and religious hatred, tension and conflict, but to re-cycle the threat of May 13 riots.
Such a May 13 threat was made last Friday, questioning whether those who commented against the Federal Court ruling on the Allah issue wanted another May-13 riots.
About six months ago in January, such an May 13 threat was issued in a protest by UMNO Penang and its allies on an issue which had nothing to do with the DAP, asking “Does DAP want another May 13” accompanied by other inflammatory and incendiary banners like “Because of DAP leaders’ mouth, May 13, 1969 happened…Want some more?”, “ABCD – Asal Bukan Cina DAP” and “DAP is the enemy of Islam”.
It is a tribute to the rationality, soberness and maturity of the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, proving that they are moderates and real Malaysian patriots who want peace and harmony in our plural society, and who are not easily influenced by the irresponsible, extremist and intolerant groups in our society who want to start a racial conflict or even a religious war in our country.
Will the first expanded Cabinet meeting tomorrow mark the end of 14-month Najib administration on autopilot since 13GE last May and send out a clear and unmistakable message to end the drift and loss of leadership and direction to create an united, harmonious, just, competitive and great Malaysian nation?
Many Malaysian patriots and nationalists, who pride themselves as being Malaysians than just being Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans, had restless or even sleepless nights in the past 14 months wondering and worrying about the future of the country as it has been on auto-pilot completely bereft of leadership and direction since the general elections in May last year.
Najib has even given up propounding his signature policy of an inclusive 1Malaysia where Malaysians regard themselves as Malaysians first and their race, religion, region and socio-economic status second.
His international initiative of “Global Movement of Moderates”, whose credibility had been undermined by his government’s empowering and outsourcing of extremist and intolerant demands completely antithetical to the 1Malaysia concept and repudiation of the message of moderation, harmony and co-existence underlying the “Global Movement of Moderates” campaign, is now even more suspect with his recent glorification of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants and terrorists at a UMNO function.
Can Malaysians expect a new proactive nation-building policy beginning with the first meeting of the expanded Cabinet tomorrow, such reaffirming that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the religion of the Federation and taking a firm stand against the “May 13” threat coming out of the closet every half-a-year to incite and racialise issues which have nothing to do with race but is about the unhappiness of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans about the government’s abuses of power, arrogance and indifference to the people’s sufferings whether as a result of price hikes or the absence of clean, efficient and good governance.
Lim Kit Siang