Malaysia will not be in the throes of a bumper political, economic and leadership confidence crisis if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the Prime Minister of Malaysia today.
Firstly, there will not be a 1MDB crisis, which for the past five years, had sapped national and international confidence in the economic and investment climate in Malaysia.
Secondly, there will not be the scandal of RM2.6 billion deposited into the personal banking accounts of the Prime Minister, whether from 1MDB or any other source, as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 has made it very clear that the definition of gratification in the Act included donations and that any form of gratification was presumed to have been corruptly received, unless proven otherwise.
Thirdly, there will not be the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which has caused great economic hardships to the people, small businesses and traders, causing Hari Raya sales this year to drop by some 50% and even the closure of shops and businesses.
Fourthly, economic confidence would not have nosedived causing the Malaysian ringgit to slump to its weakest in 17 years since 1998, tumbling 11 percent against the dollar, the biggest decline among Asian currencies. The devaluation of the Malaysian ringgit from 3.80 to 3.90 against the US dollar occurred in just one month. At this rate of devaluation, the ringgit will break the level of RM4 to the US dollar in September or horror of horrors, before the 58th Merdeka Day anniversary on August 31!
Fifthly, the economic crisis will not have reached the dire straits where Malaysia’s foreign-exchange reserves dropped below US$100 billion (RM392 billion) for the first time since 2010.
Sixthly, the government and the country will never be so fractured and divided that the people and the world saw the “nine-day madness in Putrajaya” with the “war” between the Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) with the latter forced to hold a prayer session to intercede for divine intervention to protect MACC staff from the Police!
We can go on and on as the list will be a long one – including the start of serious political, economic, educational and nation-building reforms to combat corruption, restore the rule of law, uphold the independence and integrity of national institutions, support free press, entrench good governance – all of which will help restore Malaysia international competitiveness and reputation.
It is therefore a great loss to the people and nation of Malaysia that Anwar Ibrahim is not the Prime Minister of the country, but languishing in the Sungai Buloh prison!
The present government suffers from a monumental denial syndrome refusing to admit that the country is facing the nation’s worst and a multiple crisis of confidence.
It is therefore refreshing that there is at least one Minister who is beginning to see the light, and who warned that Umno must not avoid dealing with the “crisis of confidence” caused by ongoing issues or Umno will lose support in the next general election.
At the 9th Malaysian Student Leader’s Summit, UMNO Youth leader and Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin warned that the crisis of confidence is just among the triple threat Umno is currently facing, which also includes trust deficit and a perception problem.
The pertinent question which Khairy posed was: “Either you fix the message or messenger. Is it the message that people don’t trust, or is it the messenger?”
In the 13th General Election, Anwar was Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Although Pakatan Rakyat is dead and buried, Anwar is still the candidate as Prime Minister as the new Pakatan Rakyat, whether PR Baru, PR 2.0 or Harapan Rakyat or any other name to be decided upon after the formation of the new Islamist Party arising from Gerakan Harapan Baru, will continue to support Anwar as the Prime Minister-designate in the 14th General Election.
(Speech at the Penang Chief Minister’s Hari Raya Open House at Sebarang Perai Arena, Penang on Sunday, 9th August 2015 at 9 pm)