Although UMNO leaders put up a bold external front and feigned indifference and even contempt for the new political party being formed by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, there is no doubt that they are quaking internally.
This is not without basis as illustrated by today’s developments in Johor UMNO, where two Johor UMNO veterans quit the party – the Gelang Patah UMNO permanent chairperson and former State Assemblyman Baharom Abdul Ghani and the Kulai UMNO deputy chief, Tosrin Jarvanti – at their respective UMNO division annual meetings on the ground that UMNO has deviated from its political struggle and could not be salvaged any more as it had become the property of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Equally eloquent are the speeches early today by two UMNO Ministers at the various UMNO divisional meetings in the country which show that UMNO leaders are jittery and some panic-stricken about political developments in Malaysia, particularly in UMNO – the quite hysterical speech by UMNO Supreme Council member and Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who said that UMNO members should torpedo Mahathir’s boat before he sinks UMNO and the speech by the UMNO Youth Leader, Khairy Jamaluddin beseeching UMNO member to remain loyal to the party and cannot be fence-sitters.
The historic meeting between Mahathir and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the first in 18 years, has added to the sense of gloom and doom among UMNO membership, despite the brave front put up by some UMNO leaders – like the UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan who said that “Mahathir can have Anwar, UMNO has the rakyat” and the outburst of the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Syed Keruak who likened “Mahathir’s kiss is a kiss of death”.
This sense of gloom and doom is best reflected by the implicit admission by Ismail Sabri that Mahathir’s new party had the potential and capability to “sink UMNO”!
It is a political tragedy in Malaysia that are political leaders who would have no qualms to resort to the politics of extremism, whether racial or religious, to cling on to power, however irrational and ridiculous their allegations.
The DAP had been accused of being anti-Malay or anti-Islam when DAP is a party for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, as we want to win the support of all Malaysians to build a Malaysia all citizens can feel proud, whether inside the country or internationally.
DAP has also been accused of being the political puppet-master which had at one time made PKR, PAS, Amanah and now Mahathir and Muhyiddin as our stooges.
These are ludicrous and baseless charges and time will prove that there is no basis in them, as DAP leaders, members and supporters are Malaysian patriots who want to co-operate with other Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, to save Malaysia from becoming a failed state and the international infamy of an overnight global kleptocracy.
The issues of integrity, human rights and good governance are not racial or religious issues, and I am glad that this is recognised by more and more Malaysians.
Even the former Chief Justice, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad who had not proved himself to be a model Malaysian citizen had realised this when he wrote the following on his website a week ago:
“Semenjak Merdeka, tidak ada satu tahun di mana kita menyambut kemerdekaan dalam keadaan negara seperti tahun ini, di mana pemimpin-pemimpin Kerajaan menghadapi krisis integriti yang paling serius dan imej yang paling teruk. Sebabnya boleh disimpulkan dengan satu perkataan: rasuah.
“Umumnya, pemimpin-pemimpin politik sudah tidak boleh hendak dihormati dan diteladani untuk tujuan yang baik lagi. Selain daripada mereka disorak (cheered) oleh penyokong-penyokong mereka yang berkepentingan, yang mengharapkan sesuatu habuan atau yang tidak tahu dan terikut-ikut, paling tinggi, mereka hanya ditolerated oleh pegawai-pegawai awam yang berkerja di bawah mereka dan tiada pilihan. Dalam keadaan itu, kita lihat, masa depan negara menurun dan menurun.”
The future of Malaysia lies in the ability of the majority of Malaysians to realise that Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, share a common future destiny and that issues like corruption, human rights and good governance must not be seen through racial or religious tinted glasses but from the perspectives of a Malaysian citizen.
For instance, only those who are not patriotic and do not love Malaysia are prepared to allow Malaysia to suffer the ignominy of being regarded in international circles as an overnight global kleptocracy.
DAP is prepared to work and co-operate with all Malaysians , including current and former UMNO members, and Malaysian organisations, whether political, civic, religious or commercial to take a common patriotic stand in a national and international campaign to defend the international good name and reputation of Malaysia and to purge and cleanse Malaysia of the international indictment of an overnight global kleptocracy.
This is the greatest challenge of Malaysians today – whether we are prepared to rise above all political differences to defend the nation’s dignity and prestige to purge and cleanse Malaysia of the international infamy of an overnight global kleptocracy.
(Speech at the Pesta Tanglung Taman Sri Pulai, Gelang Patah on Saturday, 10th September 2016 at 9 pm)