(2016 New Year Message on 31.12.2015)
Twenty-eight years ago, many DAP leaders and Members of Parliament, including the late Karpal Singh and P. Patto, the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, the Deputy Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw and I were incarcerated under the infamous Internal Security Act in Kamunting because we opposed the “shits” (to use the colourful vocabulary of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi) of the lopsided highway privatisation contract which the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad wanted to impose not only on Malaysians but future generations as well.
Today, while railing against these “shits” of the past UMNO administrations, of which the present top UMNO leader were themselves party to but had done nothing to ameliorate, the incumbent UMNO leadership is trying to impose even worse “shits” on the present and future generations of Malaysians through major betrayals of trust like the RM2.6 billion “donation” and the RM55 billion 1MBD twin mega scandals.
To fight the worse “shits” of the present, all forces and contributions are welcome, including those who were responsible for the “shits” of the past, like Tun Mahathir Mohamad.
The year 2015 had indeed been an “annus horribilis” for Malaysia.
Even up to the last few days of the year, Malaysia has not been spared from being haunted and hounded from five Najib government scandals of the year, viz
1.The scandal of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts.
2. The RM55 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 and paved the way for a Prime Ministerial dictatorship.
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.
5. Worst racial and religious polarisation in nation’s history, highlighted by the divisive, racist and chauvinist Red Shirts Rally on Sept. 16; the appointment as new CEO of Global Movement of Moderates a person who should be the last Malaysian to be associated with any notion of “moderation” and yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision by 2-1 rejecting the high-profile and long-standing legal challenge of Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi to reverse the unilateral religious conversion of her three children by her former husband after he embraced Islam.
In the sixth decade of our nationhood since the achievement of Merdeka in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Malaysia has lost its way.
I still remember the heady days of Merdeka in 1957, when I was in secondary school, when the people in the country had high hopes and ambitions.
When Malaysia was formed 52 years ago in 1963, our country was second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development, prosperity and per capita income, wealthier than other Asian countries including South Korea and Taiwan which were poorer and more backward at the time.
But over the decades, Malaysia lost out in the race of economic competitiveness and educational excellence and by the nineties, Malaysia had been left behind with the emergence of the Asian economic tigers comprising Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan while Malaysia could only aspire to be the next Asian tiger.
But these hopes of Malaysia to become the next economic tiger were never realised with the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s – and today, Malaysia is even further behind the economic tigers as well as risk being taken over by other countries both in Asia, Africa and South America.
Today, bogged down with a multitude of crises which had been described as the coming of a “perfect storm” to hit the country, Malaysians have lost the self-confidence to re-make the world that they had displayed in earlier decades.
Malaysia must get out of this rut we have been stuck in the past few years, which the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals (with the latest bombshell from Wall Street Journal two days ago) have combined to pull us down deeper and deeper into the abyss.
Malaysians must find and restore our self-confidence to compete with the rest and the best in the world. We must rediscover our greatness as Malaysians.
The time has come for a realignment of progressive political forces to save Malaysia and to keep faith with the vision of an united, inclusive, moderate, democratic and prosperous Malaysia
The resolution of the five Najib government scandals of the year should be a starting point for the re-alignment of progressive political forces in Malaysia.