There are three questions which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najb Razak should explain to the Malaysian Diaspora during his 10-day visit to the United Nations and New York.
Najib will be having high-tea with the Malaysian diaspora at the Malaysian Permanent Representative Office in New York as part of the government’s outreach programme with overseas Malaysians who are residing, studying and working in the United States.
These three questions are highlighted by Malaysian patriot and leading NGO and human rights advocate, Zainah Anwar in her article in her regular column in Star newspaper entitled “Questions to ponder” on July 26, 2015.
I recently read Zainah’s original and unedited article, which posed these three questions in an even more succinct and eloquent manner.
Zainah started her article worrying about the nation’s future, and the opening paragraphs in her original and unedited article were as follows:
“I am beginning to feel as if this country and its rakyat are being crushed and pummelled by wrecking balls. The wrecking ball of race and religion, of insatiable greed, of desperation to stay in power, of never-ending sense of entitlements, of unpunished crimes and abuses, of ideology over rational thinking, justice, and fair play.
“These concerns are nothing new. What’s new is the breathtaking scale, the endlessness of it all, and the shamelessness with which the perpetrators display their unscrupulous, destructive and criminal behaviour, in words and deeds.
“The seeds of this rot were sown a long time ago. A party that has been in dominant power for over 50 years breeds its own seeds of destruction. For too long, too many of its leaders and party apparatchiks have been getting away with all manner of transgressions that they believe they are immune to any form of retribution.”
Zainah said she was in Geneva in early July and “UN officials and activists I met were all asking what was happening to Malaysia”.
“How did things get this bad? We were once a model country that others looked up to as a prosperous, progressive, politically stable, multi-ethnic society. We are after all a high middle-income developing country, not a basket case.
“Now we are looking more and more like another banana republic, with scandals galore making global headlines. The deep concern many feel that these wrecking balls could lead to an implosion of everything that we have built over the decades is real. And what is scary is that there are people who are priming for trouble to break.”
This was an article that appeared at tne end of July. The two months that have since elapsed, August and September, have deepened these concerns about Malaysia transforming from a global model state to becoming a basket case – the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Perhimpunan Maruah Melayu rally, the abortive Sept. 26 Red Shirts “riots” in Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur and the immunity enjoyed by those who openly stoked or incited racial hatred, tension, fear and conflict.
Zainah was prescient when she predicted at the end of July that the deliberately-manufactured Low Yat racial tension and conflict “will not be the last in their scheme of things”.
“All those who exploited the situation by making hate speech to manufacture racial conflict must be charged for their role in inciting violence. Lessons must be learnt fast if we want to stop those determined to destroy the country in order to remain in power and preserve what they believe are their lifetime entitlements – on nothing but the basis of birth.
“As desperation over the inevitable closing chapter sets in, there will be more attempts to ignite fires of racial conflict. The truth is the ruling elite is becoming more and more beleaguered – under the weight and scope of the 1 MDB scandal, plummeting popularity and legitimacy to govern, and finding itself devoid of new blood, new ideas; and certainly bereft of courage and will to bring the transformation needed to win back public support.
“It is then much easier to dive into its old bag of tricks. Let’s manufacture more threats to add to the standard ‘Malays under threat’, ‘Islam under threat’. Now its ‘national security under threat’ as more and more damning evidence of mind-blowing brazen sleaze and corruption among the very powerful is revealed.
“Who is really threatening whose survival? And what has happened to the warnings given at the UMNO General Assembly last year that UMNO must ‘change or be dead’? It looks like the choice UMNO has made is very clear. It is committing hara-kiri. So stop manufacturing enemies elsewhere.
“Unless a new breed of young far-sighted leaders come forward with the will and courage to change the system – political and economic – to become more inclusive, more just, more honest, more transparent, we are really seeing the end of a long era in Malaysian politics.”
Zainah concluded her article asking half-a-dozen “hard questions”, viz:
“Why after decades of rigorous development planning, 40% of Malaysian households earn only about RM1,847 a month?
“Why after more than four decades of the NEP, 75.5% of those at the bottom are Bumiputeras?
“Why in spite of the billions poured into education and boarding schools, 64.3% of the Bumiputera workforce have only SPM qualifications?
“Why some 90% of the unemployable university graduates are Bumiputra?
“Why of the $54 billion worth of shares pumped to Bumiputera individuals and institutions between 1984 and 2005, only $2 billion remained in Bumiputera hands today?
“And why oh why should the Bumiputeras continue to raise a begging bowl and ask for more of the same kind of handouts from the same ruling elite? The bottom 40% get crumbs, while the cronies laugh their way to the bank.”
Najib should answer these six “hard questions” when he meets the Malaysian diaspora in New York as well as specifically the three questions of:
1. Are the Malays in Malaysia under threat?
2. Is Islam in Malaysia under threat?
3. How did Malaysia fall from the global pedestal of a model prosperous, progressive plural nation to descend to the pit of banana republics characterized by rogue and broken states and what is the national salvation for Malaysia?