The outcome of the UMNO General Assembly over the weekend is that the Prime Minister and UMNO President Datuk Seri Najib Razak has emerged stronger while UMNO has become weaker.
This is good for Pakatan Harapan for the 14th General Election but not good for Malaysia in the next 30 months as the country stumbles from one crisis to another under a government paralysed by crippling denial syndrome and an administration which is fractured, inept and cut off from the realities on the ground.
This is why the UMNO General Assembly completely ignored four of the five biggest political and socio-economic scandals in the country this year – Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals; the undemocratic and unconstitutional National Security Council Bill which usurps the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet and 13 State Governments; and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) adding to the hardships of low-income Malaysians, already sandwiched between rising costs of living and falling incomes.
On the fifth biggest scandal in the country, there was even an attempt at the UMNO General Assembly to hijack public funds to come out with a publication to glorify the Sept. 16 “Red Shirts” rally in Kuala Lumpur which turned the 2015 Malaysia Day into a “black-lettered” day full of negative vibes of inter-racial disunity, division and disharmony when it should be a day to celebrate the unity, union and harmony of Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region!
Having taken the country for a ride for two months promising to answer all questions about the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal and reneging on this undertaking on the last day of Parliament on Dec. 3, what did Najib say about the RM2.6 billion issue at the UMNO General Assembly?
One miserable reference that the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi had “answered” the issue in Parliament, when Zahid never answered anything in his three-minute Ministerial Non-Statement on Dec. 3!
What was worse, Zahid opened up a new can of worms when he told the pro-UMNO news portal Agenda Daily on 9th December that it was not an individual but the leadership of a government in the Middle East who gave the RM2.6 billion “donation” – “Penderma RM2.6 billion itu bukanlah individu dalam ertikata seorang. Ia adalah pimpinan sebuah kerajaan.”
This is a completely new twist to the donor of the RM2.6 billion “donation” after more than five months – that the donor is not an individual but “leadership of a government”.
Why was this “revelation” never pursued at the UMNO General Assembly, why this fear by UMNO delegates to show interest, concern or even outrage at the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal?
Three questions immediately crop up:
Firstly, why the twist and turn as to who is the donor instead of telling the truth outright. There is now also the controversy whether there is only one donor or more than one donor for the RM2.6 billion “donation”.
Secondly, is the story about who is the “donor” being changed because the claim that it came from one individual lacks credibility?
Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir has described the claim that the RM2.6 billion came from an individual was “bullshit”, saying that the whole world had a good laugh at the explanation which the majority of Malaysians did not buy.
He said only a “crazy Arab” would part with RM2.6 billion for nothing.
He recounted how when he was Prime Minister, he had written to the Arab nations for donation for Islamic educational institutions but he could not raise even a single dollar from them for the Malaysian International Islamic University or for the Oxford Islamic Centre.
Is this the reason for the attempted change in the story of the donor from an individual to a “leadership of a government”.
Thirdly, this new twist and alteration to the story of an Arab individual as the donor to a “leadership of a government” poses new problems – for if true, this would mean that for the first time in Malaysian history, a foreign government had been allowed to interfere in the general election process, involving an astronomical sum of money which is more than 26 times the total amount that is legally permissible to be spent in elections by all the 222 Parliamentary and 505 State Assembly candidates of the ruling coalition!
Which country donated RM2.6 billion to the UMNO/BN coffers and was allowed to interfere with the 13th General Election?
Is this the reason why Najib could continue to run the Federal Government, even though as the first minority Prime Minister in Malaysian history, or he would have been in the Opposition benches with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister?
When DAP became the favourite punching bag in the UMNO General Assembly, it is because Najib and UMNO leaders want the Malays to hate and fear the DAP.
There is no basis for the Malays to hate the DAP, for it is a downright lie that DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam. DAP was founded by Malaysians in 1966 by patriotic and multiracial group of Malaysians in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream, not a Chinese Dream, a Malay Dream, an Indian Dream, an Iban Dream or an Kadazan Dream.
We in the DAP do not want a Chinese Malaysia, an Indian Malaysia, a Kadazan Malaysia, an Iban Malaysia or a Malay Malaysia – but a Malaysia where all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, can feel proud of common efforts to build a new and overarching Malaysian national identity which rises above race, religion, culture, language or region.
This is why no person can qualify to be a Malaysian or be a Malaysian nationalist and patriot if he or she hates or is anti any other race, religion, culture or language in the country.
But why do UMNO and UMNO leaders want Malays to fear the DAP?
This is in fact a back-handed compliment and acknowledgement by UMNO that the DAP is competing with UMNO for the hearts and minds of Malays – as part of the DAP vision of reaching out to all Malaysians with our message of a Malaysian Dream, regardless of race, religion or region.
Let me challenge Najib to a contest to win the hearts and minds, not only of the Malays, but also of all Malaysians.
Although DAP is open to all Malaysians, there is a need for DAP to shed its Chinese or non-Malay image and reach out to all – to Malays, Kadazans, Ibans and Orang Asli.
UMNO is now exclusively restricted only to Malays. It should heed the proposal by the founding UMNO President, Dato Onn Jaafar 65 years ago in 1950 that UMNO open its doors to non-Malays to build a united nation.
Let UMNO open its doors to non-Malays to reach out to all non-Malays, while DAP shed its Chinese or non-Malay image to reach out to Malays, Kadazans, Ibans and Orang Asli – and let such a healthy and benign competition help bring forward the achievement of the Malaysian Dream, whether 1Malaysia or Bangsa Malaysia.
Are the UMNO leaders prepared to have such a competition with DAP to win the hearts and minds of all Malaysians, and not just for one race or one group in the country?
(Speech to the DAP Sekolah Demokrasi at Mandarin Court Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 13th December 2015 at 12 noon)