This is the 43rd parliamentary constituency I am visiting as part of the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” nation-wide campaign since I was suspended from Parliament on Oct. 22, 2015 for six months – – not because I had stolen, robbed or killed anyone, but because as elected representatives, we have the right and obligation to demand full accountability from the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his RM2.6 billion “donation” and the RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals.
Although it will not be possible for me to visit all the 222 Parliamentary and 576 State Assembly constituencies in the country during the period of my six-month suspension from Parliament, I will try to visit more than 50 per cent of the 222 Parliamentary constituencies in the country by the time I am allowed to return to Parliament – with a strong and unmistakable mandate from Malaysians from all over the country, embracing all races, religions and regions in the country, to demand that Najib must fully account for the twin mega scandals.
Undoubtedly today, one of the greatest concerns in everyone’s minds, even to the Malay Rulers who even issued a rare joint statement on the 1MDB scandal on Oct. 6, are the two questions: where the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts came from, and where they have gone to.
For six weeks during the budget parliamentary meeting, Najib and the Ministers had taken MPs from both sides of the House for a ride, giving the promise that the government would be completely forthcoming and answer all questions relating to the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal on the last day of Parliament, only to renege on the last sitting of Parliament on Dec. 3 with a three-minute Ministerial Non-Statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi disclosing absolutely nothing at all.
Did Najib, Zahid or any government minister offer any apology or express any contrition to Members of Parliament and the nation for the government being caught so red-handed in breaking its promise and breaching its trust to Parliament and the country?
None at all. In fact, the Ministerial benches seem quite proud of such perfidy!
At the UMNO General Assemblies this week, Najib and the UMNO leadership thought they could bury the two scandals once and for all, but both scandals have proved to be very sturdy and viral, with lives of their own, refusing to disappear from the public domain.
In fact, both these scandals had hounded and haunted Najib and the UMNO leadership throughout the UMNO General Assemblies, as they are the major causes of the continuous fall in Najib and the government’s credibility, not only in Malaysia but also world-wide.
From the public support for the “Mana RM2.6 billion?” campaign all over the country, from all Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, Najib should realise that the RM2.6 billion “donation” and the RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals are not just going to go away by Najib pretending that they have ceased to be national issues and concerns.
Najib and his administration must wake up to the fact that the only way these two mega scandals will disappear from the public domain and cease to be issues is for the Prime Minister to give full and satisfactory accounting, in particular where the RM2.6 billion “donation” came from and where they have gone to.
There are five government scandals this year which show that Najib and his government are utterly insensitive to the rights and concerns of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, viz:
1. The scandal of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts;
2. The RM50 billion 1MDB scandal;
3. The National Security Council Bill which usurped the powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet and the 13 State Governments;
4. 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; and
5. The divisive, racist and chauvinist Red Shirts Rally on Sept. 16, in utter contempt for the significance of Sept. 16 as Malaysia Day on the need for all Malaysians to reaffirm their Malaysian identity, unity and patriotism to forge a united nation out of the diverse races, languages, cultures and territories.
It is a crying shame that none of the Members of Parliament of UMNO or Barisan Nasional had dared to raise their voices against anyone of these five political and socio-economic scandals afflicting the country this year, which are in fact good and powerful reasons why Najib and his administration have lost the right and mandate to run the federal government from Putrajaya and the need for a democratic transition of power in the 14th General Election.
Politics in Malaysia today is in a very bleak but fluid situation.
The recent formation of Parti Amanah Negara and Pakatan Harapan have filled a political void and vacuum which have troubled Malaysians who had rooted for a change of government in the 13th General Election, but who were prepared to bravely soldier on into the 14th General Election despite their disappointments – that despite winning 53 per cent of the popular vote, Anwar Ibrahim could not become Prime Minister but Najib could hang on and continue as minority Prime Minister because he controlled 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats as a result of unfair and undemocratic redelineation of parliamentary constituencies.
But they were dismayed by the disunity and eventual demise of Pakatan Rakyat because of the decision of the PAS leadership to renege on the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the consensus principle which had enabled the three PR parties of DAP, PKR and PAS to operate effectively as one coalition.
In retrospect, Pakatan Rakyat’s failure to capture the majority of the parliamentary seats in the 13th General Election may be a blessing in disguise, for Pakatan Rakyat would have faced its first major crisis of survival immediately after the polls even before the first PR Federal Government and Cabinet were formed – as the supreme PAS leader had never agreed to Anwar Ibrahim as the PR choice as Prime Minister of Malaysia, just as he subsequently opposed the appointment of Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ibrahim as the Mentri Besar for Selangor.
Bukit Pasir in Pagoh parliamentary constituency is the last of my six whistlestop visits in one day as part of the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” campaign – the other five stops being Chaah, Labis, Tenang (Labis parliamentary), Batu Anam (Segamat parliamentary), Tangkak (Ledang parliamentary).
It highlights the special importance of Johor as the front-line state in the 14GE battle and the political sea change that has taken place in Johor in the past two general elections.
Before 2008, if anybody should ask whether it is possible for the Oposition to win power in the Johor State Government, the answer would be an unanimous and categorical “No”!
But after the 2013 General Elections, if anybody should ask whether it is possible for the Opposition to win the Johor State Government , the answer would be a powerful “Yes” for the majority of thinking people in the State.
This is the extent of the political sea-change which has taken place in the state in the past seven years.
Before the 13th General Elections in May 2013, I had said that it would be easier to win Putrajaya than to win Nusajaya. In the event, Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PAS and PKR won 18 out of 56 State Assembly seats – one short of denying BN two-thirds majority in the State Assembly – and five out of 26 Parliamentary seats.
Until the 13th General Elections, UMNO and BN were so arrogant in Johor that their leaders publicly boasted that they would ensure that Johor would be come a zero-opposition state.
Such claim is now history, for in the next general election, what UMNO and BN would be struggling to achieve is not a zero-opposition state, but to save themselves from being toppled as the state government in Johor and relegated to an Opposition status in the state.
If Pakatan Harapan can capture the Johor state government in the 14th General Election, how can UMNO and Barisan Nasional prevent Pakatan Harapan from winning Putrajaya and undergoing the first change of Federal government in the country’s history?
This is the magnitude of the political change which is taking place in Malaysia and the enormity of the challenge and tall order facing Pakatan Harapan in the 14th General Election – to achieve not only Federal power but state governments in six states in the country.
(Speech at the last of six-whistlestops-in-one-day “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” nation-wide campaign in Johor in Bukit Pasir, Pagoh on Saturday, 12th December 20145 at 6 pm)