Today is special for two reasons.
Firstly, it is Duanwu Festival, which the Chinese celebrate with zongzi or dumpling. It commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan 2,355 years ago in ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty, for his sacrifices in his principled stand against corruption and abuses of power.
Malaysia is today mired in the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, with new exposes almost everyday highlighting the lack of good governance, accountability and transparency in an administration which had at first boasted about National Transformation Programme and commitment to combat corruption and abuses of power in high political places.
The latest chapter in the 1MDB scandal is the Wall Street Journal expose yesterday alleging that the 1MDB funds running into billions of ringgit were used to bank-roll Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib’s 13th General Election campaign.
Najib’s extraordinary and ominous silence, coupled with the failure by the Prime Minister either to announce his readiness to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to undergo full investigation on the Wall Street Journal allegations or institution of legal suit against Wall Street Journal for defamation signify that Najib does not lead a Nothing2Hide administration as he seems to have a lot of things to hide.
If Qu Yuan had been alive today, he would be in the forefront against such government abuses regardless of the cost to his life and future.
Secondly, the Duanwu Festival is also a Double Fifth Festival falling on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese traditional lunar calender.
It is a reminder that two years ago, on May 5, 2013 under the Gregorian calender, Malaysians went to the 13th general elections in the hope that there could be a change of federal government for the first time in the nation’s history, and how the majority of Malaysians were cheated of such a political change for although 55% of the electorate voted for Pakatan Rakyat and for change, the undemocratic nature of the system ensured that Najib continues as the Prime Minister of the first minority government in Malaysian history.
The question many are asking is whether the hopes of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, gender or age for political change in the 13th General Elections are still relevant and in particular, whether they are achievable in the 14th GE.
This is the greatest challenge facing Malaysians rooting for political change in the 13GE – whether their hopes for change and support for the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework in the 13th GE remains valid, relevant and achievable in the 14th General Elections when there is no Pakatan Rakyat.
I am reminded of the challenge of Johor in the last general elections, when Johor was regarded as an impregnable “fixed deposit” state of UMNO/BN, and there were widespread concerns that I myself would not get elected in Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency in the last general elections, when I left the safe seat of Ipoh Timor parliamentary constituency for the “dangerous” Gelang Patah to spearhead a major political change in the Umno/BN fortress state.
The 13th General Elections produced the sensational result in Johor where DAP won 13 of the 14 State Assembly seats contested, and Pakatan Rakyat won 18 state assembly seats (one short of denying UMNO/BN two-thirds majority in the State Assembly) and five PR parliamentary seats.
What is in store for Johore in the 14th General Elections? Will Johor revert to become an UMNO/BN fortress state?
I do not think so.
Johor was the weakest state of PAS in Peninsular Malaysia, but it succeeded in making a major breakthrough winning four state assembly seats.
I do not believe this was because the voters in Johore, especially the Malays, want an Islamic State or hudud implementation in Johor but because of their revulsion of the politics of corruption, abuses of power and self-interests by UMNO/BN.
What the Johor voters, whether Malays or non-Malays, wanted in the 13th General Elections was first and foremost good governance, a good and just government which can assure the people a prosperous economy, good jobs, good schools, good hospitals, efficient transportation system and safe and secure environment for their family and themselves.
I believe these will remain the foremost concerns of the voters whether in Johor or other states in Malaysia in the 14th General Elections.
For this reason, I also believe that the hopes for achievement of PR Common Policy Objectives without PR in 14GE is not impossible as UMNO/BN is in self-confessed terminal stages from being in “wad biasa”, “wad kecemasan”, “ICU’ and “tanah kubur”.
Recently, Biro Tatanegara, which is under the Prime Minister’s office, asked participants very revealing question – “Pada pandangan anda di manakah kedudukjan Barisan Nasional masa kini?”, and the four boxes for answer are “BN – Wad Biasa”, “BN – Wad Kecemasan”, “BN – ICU” and “BN – Tanah Kubur”.
This is most eloquent in revealing the mind and thinking of the UMNO/BN strategists – and why they are doing their utmost to create division and splits in Pakatan Rakyat and PAS.
(Speech at ceramah kopitiam DAP in Senai on Saturday, 20th June 2015 11 am)