Many are asking about the future of Malaysia after the two big Barisan Nasional wins in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections a week ago, with the backdrop of the BN landslide victory in the Sarawak State General Election and the previous Teluk Intan by-election.
Is it still possible for Malaysians to hope for political change in Putrajaya at the 14th General Election whether in 2018 or a year earlier in July or August next year or in the near future?
Let us have a reality check as we have travelled quite a political distance in Malaysia. Only eight years ago, before the 2008 General Election, if any Malaysian was asked if it was possible foresee a change of Federal Government, the answer would be an unanimous and and unambiguous “No”.
But the “political tsunami” of the 2008 General Election had completely changed the political landscape, and what had been “unthinkable” and “impossible” had been transformed into a “thinkable”, “possible” and “achievable”, and the question of a change of Federal Government has taken the quantum leap from “whether” to “when” and “how”.
The 2013 General Election was fought on the platform of a change of Federal Government, and although 53% of the voters voted for change, victory was denied them because of the undemocratic electoral system which allowed Datuk Najib Razak to become the nation’s first minority Prime Minister by winning 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats though only securing a minority of 47% of the popular vote.
Malaysia is now an extraordinary paradox – on the one hand, Najib Razak an increasingly more powerful and unshakeable Prime Minister of Malaysia inside the country , while internationally he is under increasing siege perceived as corrupt, haunted and hounded by the RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal (which contained within it the RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal) which is being investigated by seven other countries.
Is it possible to resolve this paradox of a Prime Minister of Malaysia who seems to be getting stronger in the country while at the same time under increasing siege in the world stage as a corrupt political leader, dragging down the good name and standing of the country in gaining notoriety as one of the world’s top countries for global corruption.
We can ignore this paradox if we can isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, but as we are in a global society and our economy is greatly dependant on the world economy, we cannot pretend that this does not present Malaysia with a grave national crisis with global repercussions.
The incendiary and seditious statement on “kafir harbi” by the Mufti of Pahang, which had never been uttered by any state mufti in 59 years of the nation’s history since Merdeka in 1957 and 53 years of formation of Malaysia since 1963, should be a warning signal that Malaysia is falling dangerously down the slippery slope of a fractured and failed state, and why it is urgent and imperative to save Malaysia from the fate of a fractured, failed and rogue state.
UMNO/BN must be voted out of Putrajaya at least once if Malaysia is to become a normal democratic country and break the present national trajectory trending down the slippery slope towards a fractured, failed and rogue state.
Malaysia has yet to become a normal democratic country where voters can change the party or political coalition in government peacefully and democratically through the ballot box like other mature democracies without inviting national catastrophes.
In the past 60 years, there had been six democratic and peaceful changes of government in the Untied Kingdom, but not a single time in Malaysia. Even Philippines and Indonesia have more democratic traditions and practices than Malaysia, as Filipinos and Indonesians can use the ballot box to change the party or political coalition in power without any national disaster or calamities.
The UMNO/BN coalition must lose the Federal government at least once if the present national trajectory towards a fractured, failed and rogue state is to be stopped.
No country in the world can become a great nation if globally it is regarded as an increasingly corrupt and dictatorial regime while at home it tightens its grip on power controls to allow for rampant corruption and widespread abuses of power.
Nobody wants UMNO to be destroyed, and I do not believe that UMNO is so frail and faulty that if it is evicted from Putrajaya in a general election, UMNO will perish and die.
On the contrary, I believe UMNO will have the vitality and resilience to reform and renew itself when it is out in the political wilderness to transform itself from a party serving the interests of UMNO leaders and their cronies into a a party genuinely dedicated to the welfare of the three million UMNO members, the Malays and Malaysians at large.
This is a route which had been taken by other political parties or coalitions in other countries which had been ousted from political power after decades in government as the party which had brought about the nation’s independence or founding, like Taiwan, South Korea and India, and there is no reason why UMNO is incapable of reform and renewal like the Kuomintang of Taiwan or Congress Party of India.
If UMNO Is defeated once in national elections, it will be great national service for it will enable Malaysia to become normal democratic country, end the national trajectory trending down the slippery slope towards a fractured, failed and rogue state while allowing UMNO to renew and reform itself to be more democratic and competitive to regain national power in future general elections.
If Malaysia is to become a normal democratic nation, we must debunk the various political myths which had allowed the politics of race to dominate the politics in the land since Merdeka.
The myths that the Chinese in Malaysia will perish if MCA is defeatedly badly and that the Indians in Malaysia will suffer if the MIC is given an electoral beating in general elections have been debunked in the 13th General Election.
But the evil sway of the politics of communalism will not end unless the third myth that Malays will lose political power and become strangers in their own land if UMNO is defeated is also exposed and debunked.
Only five days ago, the former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad was trotted out to repeat the canard that if UMNO is defeated, Malays will lose political power which they cannot recover in the future.
This is a double lie, for the Malays will not lose political power if UMNO is evicted from Putrajaya, so gh question of the Malays recovering political power never arises.
The former Chief Justice cannot answer the two questions which had been posed by the National Laureate Pak Samad to expose the lie of such a political myth, viz:
“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malay for over five decades?
“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”
The demographic reality is the surest guarantee that the Malays will not lose political power whatever happens to Najib or to UMNO in the next general election, as the Malays in Malaysia will continue to exercise political power in Malaysia as there is no way they will lose political power.
In 1970 Malaysia’s population comprised 44.32% Malays, 34.34% Chinese, 8.99% Indians, 11.89% non-Malay Bumiputeras, 0.67% others.
In 2010, the percentage of Malays in the Malaysian population increased to 55.07%, Chinese reduced to 24.34%, Indians dropped to 7.35%, non-Malay Bumiputeras maintained at 11.94% and 1.3% others.
During the 13th general election, 52.63% of the voters were Malays, 29.68% Chinese, 7.31% Indians, 8.96% non-Malay Bumiputeras and 1.43% others.
Out of the 165 Parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, 114 are Malay majority seats representing some 70%, 22 Chinese majority seats (13%) and 29 mixed seats. There is not a single Indian majority seat.
With the triple factors establishing overwhelming Malay predominance in the Malaysian political scene – the demographic make-up of the general population, the electorate and the parliamentary constituencies – can Tun Abdul Hamid explain how the Malays will lose political power if UMNO is defeated in a general eleciton?
When the political myth that UMNO is the protector of the Malays are debunked, just like the myths that MCA is the protector of the Chinese and MIC the protector of the Indians had been debunked, then Malaysia will have liberated itself from the excesses of the politics of race and embark on the new Malaysian politics based on issues, whether Malaysia can end its trajectory towards a fractured, failed and rogue state to find a new direction to fulfil Malaysia’s destiny as a show-case as to how a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society could succeed as a united, harmonious, tolerant, democratic, progressive and prosperous nation in a very divided and troubled world.
(Speech at the DAP Pekan Nenas kopitiam ceramah in Pekan Nenas on Sunday, 26th June 2016)