Sarawak general election must prove that the Pakatan Harapan campaign for a world-class great Sarawak and Malaysia for a clean and better future is still the best vision for our children and children’s children and not a “hopeless cause”

Next week, two books on the recent history of Malaysia will hit the bookstores in the country – the first, “Capturing Hope – The Struggle Continues for a New Malaysia” by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will be available tomorrow while the second, “Final Reckoning – An Insider’s View of the Fall of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional Government” by Romen Bose, the former political communications adviser to Najib Razak when he was Prime Minister of Malaysia, which will be available in all bookstores on Tuesday.

Both these books provide an invaluable insight into the past tumultuous decade, both the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government and the Najib government which was toppled by a democratic vote of the people of Malaysia in the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, in particular how Najib averted a plot to arrest him while Prime Minister over the 1MDB scandal at a Cabinet meeting a day earlier by the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Attorney-General Gani Patail in the final “Week of Long Knives” in July 2015.

In his Preface to his book, Tun Mahathir said:

“…the Pakatan Harapan Government was never a hopeless cause. Far from it. To this day, I believe that the Pakatan Harapan Government of 2018-2020, with our policies and commitment to a cleaner, better future, was the right path for Malaysia. And in the short period it governed the country, it did much to reverse the abuses of the kleptocrats.

“We were betrayed.”

This sums up the objective of the Sarawak General Election, which will be a prelude to the 15th national general election next year – that the Pakatan Harapan campaign for a world-class great Sarawak and Malaysia for a clean and better future is still the best vision for our children and children’s children and not a “hopeless cause”!

I know there is a lot of disappointment with the performance of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government in Sarawak and Malaysia because I myself am disappointed with its performance as I believe the Pakatan Harapan government could have done better.

However, it is unfair to judge the Pakatan Harapan government on its 22-month performance before it was toppled by an undemocratic and unconstitutional conspiracy, the Sheraton Move conspiracy, in February 2020 for the Pakatan Harapan government was given a mandate of five years to executive its general election pledges.

The Pakatan Harapan should be judged whether it has failed to implement its election pledges in five years, and not in 22 months when it was trying to find its footing after more than half-a-century of UMNO hegemonic government.

It is even more unfair to accuse the 22-month Pakatan Harapan Government and the DAP of having betrayed our principles and objectives because such allegations are sheer political demonisations and totally untrue.

I met Mahathir in a private meeting in July 2019 where I expressed my concern about the implementation of the Pakatan Harapan election pledges, and he agreed to the establishment of a Pakatan Harapan review committee on the implementation of the Pakatan election pledges.

As the Pakatan Harapan government had 60 months to implement the election manifesto, I was planning to meet the Prime Minister on the issue in the mid-term of the government, but the Pakatan Harapan could not even last half-way to 30 months, as it was toppled undemocratically, unconstitutionally and illegitimately in 22 months in the Sheraton Move conspiracy.

Yesterday, I saw a report quoting a DAP Johore leader, Dr. Boo Cheng Hau as saying that there are voices in DAP calling for Anwar Ibrahim to step down as Opposition Leader as they are eager to return to power and are cosying up to Mahathir hoping to return to power one day.

I do not think Dr. Boo is doing a service to DAP or to himself concocting such baseless stories.

I am one of those responsible for Mahathir’s return to be Prime Minister a second time and I do not see Mahathir becoming a Prime Minister a third time – and I am not aware of any DAP leader “eager to return to power” with Mahathir as the Prime Minister for the third time.

I have become an octogenarian. Mahathir is older – he just celebrated his 96th birthday. I do not see him becoming Prime Minister a third time.

Why is Dr. Boo concocting such a story?

But I agree with Mahathir that the Pakatan Harapan vision was not a hopeless cause, as Pakatan Harapan campaign for a world-class Sarawak and Malaysia which offers a clean and better future for our children and children’s children is the best vision for Sarawak and Malaysia.

For the last half-a-century, we were on a trajectory of a failed state, with one country after another overtaking Malaysia – Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam. The 23-month Covid-19 pandemic must be a wake-up call that we are even losing out to Indonesia.

Instead of being one the world’s better performing nations in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, we proved to be one of the worst performing nations, losing out even to Indonesia in the past four months both in daily increase of Covid-19 cases and daily Covid-19 deaths.

Yesterday, for instance, Malaysia recorded 4,626 new Covid-19 cases and 31 Covid-19 deaths while Indonesia recorded 228 new Covid-19 cases and six (6) Covid-19 deaths.

It is not going to take one or two years or even one or two decades to reverse the trajectory of the past half-a-century to become a world-class great Sarawak and Malaysia, but we owe it to our children and children’s children to make Sarawak and Malaysia world-class great destinations as our objective.

I always believe that there is no reason why Sarawak and Malaysia cannot become world-class great destinations when we are at the confluence of the four great human civilisations – Malay/Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and Western – but the conditions are our ability to leverage on their values and their best virtues instead of surrendering to divisive politics of race and religion and quarrel among ourselves.

What is worse, we became “kleptocracy at its worst” in the past decade and Malaysia has still to prove to the world that there can be no relapse to kleptocracy and rampant corruption in future.

Sarawak and Malaysia must start on a new long-term campaign lasting two or three decades to prove Sarawak and Malaysia can be world-class great achievers and stop being overtaken by other countries but we overtaking them.

Let us start this new journey in the Sarawak state general election on Dec. 18, followed by the 15th General Election next year.

(Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang at a media conference in Sarikei on Sunday, 12th December 2021 ast 11 a.m)

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