Many questions have been asked following the 304 Citizens’ Declaration (March 4) signed and proclaimed by 45 political and civil society leaders, including the country’s longest-serving former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Cabinet Ministers and former UMNO stalwarts crossing the political divide in bringing together DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara leaders in their personal capacities.
Some of these questions include:
• Who will be the Prime Minister after Najib?
• Is Mahathir the puppet of Lim Kit Siang or Lim Kit Siang the puppet of Mahathir?
• Will Mahathir or Kit Siang benefit most from the Citizens’ Declaration?
• Will the Citizens’ Declaration be UMNO’s salvation?
• Is there a guarantee of success in the Citizens’ Declaration and Save Malaysia campaign?
There are no sure and clear answers to the teeming questions thrown up by the unprecedented and historic Citizens’ Declaration, but there are certain facts that should be put straight.
The Citizens’ Declaration to Save Malaysia is not about Mahathir or myself but about how to save Malaysia from hurtling down the slippery slope of a failed state where Malaysia is unable to fulfil our political, economic, educational and nation-building potential as a global example of a successful plural nation and from being a rogue state where the democratic doctrine of separation of powers, the rule of law and constitutional guarantees of fundamental liberties are subverted and rendered meaningless.
It is ludicrous for anyone to suggest even for a second that I am Mahathir’s puppet or Mahathir is my puppet for signing the Citizens’ Declaration to Save Malaysia, or to ask as to whether Mahathir or myself would benefit most – queries which would not enter the mind of the overwhelming majority of thinking and rational Malaysians who love this country.
Those who want to know who will be the Prime Minister after Najib are putting the cart before the horse, as Najib does not appear to be on the verge of stepping down as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister in the same way Tun Abdullah stepped down as Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister after pressures mounted for him to relinquish to premiership.
In fact, Najib seems to be even stronger and more entrenched in Putrajaya after the 304 Citizens’ Declaration – the paradox of being the weakest Prime Minister but strongest UMNO President!
It is the greatest naivety for anyone to think that there are those among the 45 signatories of the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia who believed that on the day after the signing of the Citizens’ Declaration on March 4, 2016 that Najib Razak would be toppled as Prime Minister.
The road to fundamental political changes in Malaysia is going to be a long and arduous one, with the Citizen’s Declaration on March 4 only the first step.
Malaysia is in uncharted political waters and we can only take the political tests and challenges we have assumed with the signing and proclamation of the Citizen’s Declaration on March 4 one step at a time, fully putting national interests above all racial, religious, regional, party and individual interests.
As stated in the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia, the signatories are fully aware that leadership change must be accompanied by democratic and institutional changes or the country would be back to square one.
In the sixth decade of nationhood, Malaysia is very sick in all sectors of human endeavour, whether in politics, economics, education, human rights, environment, good governance, nation building or even in the field of sports – which is why the film “Ola Bola” evoked so much mixed national feelings.
The Chinese saying “Mo zhe shi tou gua he” or “cross the river by groping the stone under foot ”is one approach of the Save Malaysia campaign launched by Citizens’ Declaration of March 4, 2016.
“Mo zhe shi tou gua he” has been described as the pragmatic approach favoured by the architect of China’s reforms Deng Xiaoping, where there is no explicit grand strategy nor ambitious systematic programme.
A commentator of The Malaysia Insider which ceased operations at midnight last night, Rama Ramanathan, in his article “A Chinese view of the Citizens’ Declaration” on March 10, also referred to this “Mo zhe shi tou gua he” approach, where he said:
“It is often not possible to see everything that’s ahead. That doesn’t mean you just rant or twiddle your thumbs. It means you take risks and you accept that you may miscalculate and have to take a step backward and try a different approach.
“The Citizens’ Declaration could be a tipping point in our nation: the point at which a series of small changes or incidents cause a larger, more important change.”
What all patriotic Malaysians should do now is to transcend the political, racial, religious and regional divides to ensure that the Citizens’ Declaration is the tipping point to Save Malaysia from becoming a failed and a rogue state.
(Speech at the special briefing for DAP state and branch leaders in Federal Territory and Selangor held at DAP Hqrs in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, March 14 at 8 pm)