After 27 years of imprisonment at Robbens Island, Pollsmoor and Victor Verster Prisons, Nelson Mandela emerged from 10,000 days of incarceration urging that “all those of us who are hostages of the past must transform ourselves into new men and women who shall be fitting instruments for the creation of the glorious new South Africa which is possible and necessary to realise”.
These words by Nelson Mandela bear pondering and reflection by Malaysians at this juncture of Malaysia’s national development.
Hishammuddin Rais said he had been talking for a year about the need for a United Front to combine all forces to bring about changes in the country.
I myself have been talking for over two years about the need to Save Malaysia, and in March last year, I had zeroed on the need for a Save Malaysia Coalition to bridge the racial, religious, regional and political divides in the country.
The ideas about the need to Save Malaysia have been in the air for quite some time, for the country had been in serious straits after the 13th General Elections, with increasing complexity and intensity in the multitude of political, economic, good governance and nation-building crises building up in the country.
What made the March 4th gathering of 45 political and civil society leaders who signed and proclaimed the Save Malaysia Citizens’ Declaration is that it was the first time that the political divide had been bridged, for previous efforts whether Gagasan Rakyat in 1990, Barisan Alternative in 1999, Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 and most recently, Pakatan Harapan, were completely opposition efforts without participation or involvement of political leaders from government parties.
This is what made the momentous difference between the Save Malaysia Citizens’ Declaration of March 4, 2016 with all earlier similar efforts.
I have visited 97 parliamentary constituencies since my six-month suspension from Parliament on Oct. 22, 2015 for demanding answers to the simple questions as to the source, the donor or donors, of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts before the 13th General Election in May 2013 and where the astronomical sums have gone to.
I wanted public feedback whether Malaysians agree that the Prime Minister should stop his tactics of procrastination and denial but should answer directly the teeming questions asked by the public and the world about Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.
In the past two weeks since March 4, in the 17 parliamentary constituencies in Kelantan, Kedah, Perlis and Pahang, I had also sought public feedback on the historic national development on March 4, the Citizens’ Declaration to Save Malaysia.
I can report that in my visits to 17 parliamentary constituencies in the past two weeks, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians want firstly, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to give full and satisfactory accounting and stop running and hiding from the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion political donation twin mega scandals; and secondly, strong support for the Save Malaysia Citizens’ Declaration.
Malaysia is at the crossroads.
The Save Malaysia Citizens’ Declaration must not stay as a campaign by 45 political and civil society leaders Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down as Prime Minister as well as meaningful democratic and institutional reforms, but must become a nation-wide campaign by Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region, politics, age or gender to save the country from hurtling down the slope towards a failed and a rogue state.
We want the early promises when the nation achieved Independence half a century ago that Malaysia could become a world-class nation with political, economic, educational, good governance and nation-building accomplishments come to fruition.
The Citizens’ Declaration is a “work in progress” by patriotic Malaysians to Save Malaysia. It is going to be long, grueling and arduous task which can only succeed with support from overwhelming majority of Malaysians transcending race, religion, region and politics.
(Speech at the forum “Deklarasi Rakyat – Mengapa?” held at PJ Library on Wednesday, 23rd March 2016 at 9 pm)