Malaysia is indeed in “No Man’s Land”, never before have the nation been so sick and wracked by so many crises, whether the RM42 billion 1MDB financial scandal; the 6% GST imposed on April 1; the worst racial and religious polarisation in the nation’s history with the unprecedented rise of extremism and intolerance as illustrated by the “cross” incident at Taman Medan in Selangor; the loss of national and international confidence in the Prime Minister; major crisis in the two major political coalitions – Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat; and above all, the future and survival of the Merdeka Constitution of 1957 and the Malaysian federation formed in 1963!
For the first time in the nation’s history, there is open speculation as to who should be the new Prime Minister of Malaysia – by-passing not only the incumbent Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak but also the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin!
A former deputy prime minister said UMNO is “imploding” with internal wars tearing the party apart.
Another former UMNO Minister warned of a “Malay tsunami” in the next general election, claiming that Najib’s belief that UMNO warlords are behind him has led him to sign off on unpopular policies which could push the people to turn against him at the polls.
A former law minister has even named UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as the best choice to replace Najib as Prime Minister, by-passing Muhyiddin as “the current number two is unlikely to reform the country and undo what Najib has done in the past few years”.
He believes that if former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir “wants better and more accountable leaders for UMNO in the years to come, and at the same time put an end to systemic corruption and improve the quality of the public institutions”, the choice of successor must be none other than Tengku Razaleigh.
I do not think any one person, and definitely not Mahathir, who must bear the greatest responsibility for many of the woes and troubles the country is facing today, should decide who should be the new Prime Minister after Najib.
When I told Malaysian students in Alexandria ten days ago during the DAP MPs’ fact-finding visit to Jordan and Egypt, that I am prepared to work with Mahathir, I was referring specifically to a “Save Malaysia” agenda as I have no interest in a “Save UMNO” or “Save Najib” agenda.
In fact, there is nothing for me to work with Mahathir or anyone else as far as “Save Umno” or “Save Najib” is concerned, as UMNO is an incorrigible party set in the ways of money politics and abuses of power, and the greatest contribution UMNO can make to the healthy development of democratic politics and Malaysian nation-building is for UMNO to go into the Opposition benches to allow Malaysia to become a normal democratic country where the transition of power from one political coalition to another is not regarded as a national catastrophe but a necessary rite of passage from a country to graduate to become a normal democracy.
I told Malaysian students in Alexandria that the focus of the present must be unwaveringly to “Save Malaysia” from the present roller-coaster policies which threaten to plunge Malaysia down the slippery slope, whether in nation-building, politics, economics, education or other aspects of national life to that of a “failed state”.
For this formidable task, we must be prepared to put our differences in the past to one side and concentrate all our energies on one common agenda, to save Malaysia from all centrifugal forces threatening to tear the country asunder.
What is the solution to the present impasse and multiple crises facing the country?
Either the country holds a snap general election or the present batch of 222 MPs elected in the 13th General Election on May 5, 2013 should rise above party affiliation to elect a “Save Malaysia” Prime Minister who is committed to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation as Malaysia’s way of life and model to the world.
All Malaysians must embrace the “Save Malaysia” agenda, and unless a snap general election is held to elect a new Parliament and a new Government, the present batch of 222 MPs elected in 2013, regardless of race, religion and party affiliation should elect a new Prime Minister and support a new Grand Coalition in Putrajaya in the next 24-30 months which is post-BN, post-PR to “Save Malaysia” to set the country clearly on the course to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation as Malaysia’s way of life and as a model to the world.
I had said that the Prime Minister of such a “Save Malaysia” Grand Coalition can come from either side of the present political divide of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, can be from Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak or Sabah and can be a man or a woman – someone who can win the confidence of the current batch of 222 MPs leading a national agenda of “Save Malaysia” to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation as Malaysia’s way of life and as a model to the world.
I had in fact named several names, from Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah among the present batch of 222 MPs who could be considered as possibilities as Prime Minister material of such a “Save Malaysia” Grand Coalition – and Tengku Razaleigh was one of them.
More important than who is to be the Prime Minister after Najib, however, is a national consensus on the “Save Malaysia” agenda, which should form the common policy framework for the post-BN, post-PR Grand Coalition Government for the next 24-30 months before the 14th General Election, to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation, which must usher in reforms in the political, economic, educational and nation-building policies, declare war on corruption and abuses of power, restore democracy, uphold human rights and return to Malaysians the pride of being a Malaysian who can stand tall in the world not only because of our vision but also for our national achievements and commitment to excellence in all fields of human endeavour.
Are Malaysians capable of rising to the unprecedented challenges and perils of the country, not only to envisage but to achieve, a new political construct to “Save Malaysia” with a post-BN, post-PR Grand Coalition in the next 24-30 months?
(Speech at a kopitiam ceramah in Pengkalan Rinting, Johor Baru on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 9 pm)