Deepavali is the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair.
This year, Malaysians observe one of the darkest Deepavali in modern Malaysian history and all Malaysians of good sense of good will, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, should be the beacon of light to save Malaysia from the darkness of kleptocracy, injustice and the politics of lies.
It is sad that in this year’s Deepavali, the week started with the tragic fire at the Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA) in Johor Baru, which claimed the lives of six Malaysians seeking a new lease of life at the ICU ward.
The tragic incident at HSA where six patients who sought a new lease of life at the ICU met death instead because of systemic, infrastructure and human failure and negligence should never have been allowed to happen, and it is even more shocking for Malaysians to learn that HSA does not have a fire safety certificate, that the hospital had not conducted a fire drill for its staff for at least two years since 2014, that some 10 days before Tuesday’s blaze that killed six and injured 11 others, that there was a small fire at the ICU and worst of all, that there had been more than seven fires at the hospital in the past four years.
The six ICU deaths in the HSA fire should not die in vain, and this is why there should not only be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the HSA fire, but the inquiry should be extended to include into the history of fire prevention efforts at HSA and to all hospitals in the country to ensure that there would be no recurrence of the tragic HSA fire in other hospitals where patients who seek a new lease of life in ICUs are killed by systemic, maintenance, infrastructure or human failures and negligence.
If heads should roll because of the HSA fire, killing six and injuring 11, putting at risk the life and limb of patients, doctors, nurses, the hospital and medical staffs, then let heads roll!
This is not the only dark spot in the national landscape.
For over three months, Malaysia ascended the international totem pole of a global kleptocracy, with incessant negative reporting in other countries about the international 1MDB money-laundering, producing for the first time in Malaysia history, corruption fugitives hiding from the long arms of the law of various countries.
Malaysians have never been so ashamed to identify themselves as Malaysians internationally, because of the infamy and ignominy of Malaysia’s unrebutted epithet of of global kleptocracy.
It is a reflection of the growing darkness in the national landscape that Parliament could meet for two weeks under the great pretence that Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy for being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy does not exist.
Is the government turning its inability to refute the shame of a global kleptocracy into a virtue that such an international infamy and ignominy does not exist?
Will the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the UMNO/BN Ministers and MPs continue in the next four weeks’ of the budget Parliament to pretend that Malaysia’s infamy as a global kleptocracy does not exist, and continue to pretend that there is no need to refute such infamy?
Another darkness descended on Malaysia in the budget speech of the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak last Friday.
Without any explanation or justification, Najib as good as repudiated Vision 2020 when he announced Vision 2050 or TN2050 (Transformasi Nasional 2050).
For three decades, Vision 2020 was the beacon of light to illuminate Malaysia’s struggle and progress to a fully developed, democratic and united plural society.
The whole country was cast into the valley of darkness when Najib repudiated Vision 2020 four years before the target date, and substituted instead Vision 2050 or TN 2050 in another 36 years’ time.
Why has Najib repudiated Vision 2020 which had been the national lodestone for three Prime Ministers through three decades, including Najib himself.
The 11th Malaysia Plan in 2010 was presented by Najib as the final five-year plan to achieve Vision 2020 and the 2016 Budget was announced by Najib as the “last lap” to achieve Vision 2020.
Suddenly, all these national efforts and vision have gone to nought.
Malaysians must be reminded that the darkest hourt is just before dawn.
If light is to triumph over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair, Malaysians must courageously and steadfastly unite against the dark and evil forces of kleptocracy and injustices and in particular the despicable and reprehensible politics of lies and falsehoods to poison national discourses and relations among Malaysians.
I wish all Malaysians Selamat Deepavali with these sober and sombre thoughts.
(Deepavali Message in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 28th October 2016)