We are almost at the half-way mark of the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election campaign.
At the beginning, the AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidates in these two by-elections were the true underdogs.
When I first went to campaign in Kuala Kangsar, I was asked by the press whether the AMANAH/Pakatan Rakyat candidate, nuclear physicist Professor Dr. Ahmad Termizi Ramli would lose his deposit in the by-election.
The situation in both by-elections is now clearer, that in both places, it is a contest between UMNO/BN and AMANAH/PH candidates, as a vote for the PAS candidate in both constituencies would be a wasted vote with no chance whatsoever that the PAS candidate can win in either one of the two constituencies.
In fact, I had said publicly that I expect the PAS candidate in Sungai Besar to lose by some 10,000 votes and in Kuala Kangsar to lose by some 5,000 votes as compared to the votes polled by the PAS candidates in these two constituencies in the 13th General Election in 2013, and no one in the PAS leadership has come forward to contradict me.
I want to make four points tonight:
Firstly, the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections are capable of creating political earthquakes in Malaysia. If Azhar Shukor is elected MP for Sungai Besar and Prof Termizi the MP for Kuala Kangsar on June 18, winning in traditional UMNO strongholds which no UMNO candidate had ever lost in six decades, the message is clear – either Datuk Seri Najib Razak steps down as Prime Minister or UMNO/BN will be defeated in the next 14th General Election.
Secondly, the biggest issue in the two by-elections is none other than Najib’s twin global mega scandals – the RM55 billion 1MDB and the RM4.2 billion “donation” scandals.
I hope that by the end of the two by-election campaigns in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on June 18, we can succeed in sending out the message to all the voters in these two constituencies that corruption is not a “victimless crime”.
In the case of the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 “donation” twin mega scandals, for instance, the real victims are the 30 million Malaysians, who will have to pay through higher taxes like GST and cuts in essential development expenditures whether for education, health or security so that the country can pay the monstrous 1MDB debts.
Thirdly, DAP and Pakatan Harapan are not enemies of ordinary UMNO and PAS members although we disagree with UMNO and PAS leaders. We invite UMNO and PAS members to join in the “Save Malaysia” campaign to stop the country from sliding down the slippery slope of corruption and abuses of power to become a failed state, and in these two by-elections to vote for the AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidates for a better future particularly for our children and children’s children.
Some 70 per cent of MCA’s one million members have lost confidence in the MCA leadership and this was why they voted against MCA and BN candidates in the 13th General Elections, supporting Pakatan Rakyat candidates from DAP, PKR and PAS to join in a national awakening and campaign for political change in Putrajaya.
This is also the case with MIC which claims to have 700,000 card-carrying members, but 75 per cent of the MIC members voted against MIC and BN candidates in the 13th General Election in support of the Pakatan Rakyat candidates.
I urge UMNO and PAS members to do the same, so that the ordinary Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation, can join hands in a “Save Malaysia” campaign. This will be a new politics for Malaysia.
Fourthly, a victory for AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidates in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections will be a powerful signal that Malaysia is ready to become a normal democratic country where the people can change government through the ballot box without this being regarded as a national catastrophe.
The people in the United Kingdom changed the political party in government six times in the past sixty years, and even our neighbours, Indonesia and Philippines, accept the ballot box as the means to change the government without bringing the country to ruin or damnation.
But in Malaysia, we seem to cling to UMNO/Barisan Nasional as the “eternal government” although it has not only become very corrupt, decadent , undemocratic and cut-off from the aspirations of the people, but also betrayed their founding principles in defending the cardinal principles and fundamental features of the Merdeka Constitution about nation-building in the country.
Only a political coalition which represents the diverse races, religions and regions in the country can replace UMNO/Barisan Nasional in Putrajaya – and only Pakatan Harapan and not PAS, whether as adviser to Najib or UMNO, can play this role to usher in political change in Malaysia.
(Speech at the Pakatan Harapan Sungai Besar by-election ceramah in Sungai Besar town on Friday, 10th June 2016 at 11.30 pm)