The battle of Gelang Patah is not just a battle for Lim Kit Siang, DAP or Pakatan Rakyat.
It is a battle for all Malaysians, the nation as well as future generations, with two portentous, unprecedented and far-reaching meaning and significance.
Firstly, the battle of Gelang Patah is to launch off a political tsunami in the 13th general elections from the south spreading all over the country, crossing the South China Sea to Sabah and Sarawak, to complete the unfinished business of the “political tsunami” of the 2008 general elections which saw the fall of Umno/Barisan Nasional in five states and the deprivation of the UMNO/BN two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in Malaysian history.
The 2008 “political tsunami” emanated from the north in Penang, Kedah and Kelantan coming down south to Perak (although in less than a year there was an undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional “power grab” orchestrated by Datuk Seri Najib Razak and which await a restoration of Pakatan Rakyat Perak State government in the 13GE) and Selangor, fizzling out in Negri Sembilan and leaving the three fixed deposit states of Johore, Sabah and Sarawak virtually untouched.
However, the 2008 “political tsunami” has brought about a tectonic shift in the political landscape, as only five years ago it was completely unthinkable and impossible for anyone to hope or dream that there could be a change of federal government through the ballot box.
Now, such a democratic alternation of power, first time in the 56-year history of Malaysia, is not only thinkable, possible but even probable, which is why the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agonised for the past four years as to when to dissolve Parliament to hold the 13GE, as for the first time in Malaysian electoral history, the incumbent UMNO/BN government could be voted out of office and replaced by Pakatan Rakyat.
However, if the “political tsunami” of 2008 has yet to reach its full capacity to climax with the first peaceful and democratic change of Federal government in the 13th general elections, Pakatan Rakyat must make a significant breakthrough in the three “fixed deposits states” of Johore, Sabah and Sarawak which have a total of 83 parliamentary seats by winning more than a third of the seats – or better still, some 40 per cent of the total number of parliamentary seats in the three states, i.e. 33 parliamentary constituencies.
Then Pakatan Rakyat will be on the way to Pakatan Rakyat to form a new Federal Government and appoint the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
However, there is also a second unique significance of the Battle of Gelang Patah – the fulfilment of the Malaysian Dream.
I have a Malaysian Dream, which I am sure, is shared by Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or time.
The Malaysian Dream envisions a plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences as the common grounds binding them as one citizenship exceed the differences that divide them because of their ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural divisions.
In this Malaysian Dream, we all owe undivided loyalty to the country, we share in one motherland and we come together as one people to develop the greatness of the country deriving from the best from the diverse races, religions and cultures which have made a home in Malaysia so that Malaysia can become one of the leading nations of the world in all fields of human endeavour.
This Malaysian Dream does not exist only today. It had existed even before the founding of Malaya and Malaysia.
Let the Battle of Gelang Patah fulfil the Malaysian Dream of a united multiracial Malaysian people rising above race which was envisioned by the great Johore Malay leader and founding UMNO President Datuk Onn Jaffar six decades ago.
Although Onn was founder President of UMNO, he became increasingly dissatisfied with UMNO’s racist and communalist polices, leading him in 1951 to call on UMNO to open up membership to all Malayans as well as proposing that UMNO should be renamed as the United Malayans National Organisation.
When his recommendations went unheeded, Onn Jafaar left UMNO on August 26, 1951 to form the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP).
Onn’s son, Tun Hussein Onn, shared in this Malaysian Dream, although I do not know whether Onn’s grandon, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, the current Home Minister, agreed with his father and grandfather in this Malaysian Dream.
Sixty-two years after Onn’s call for the opening up of UMNO to non-Malay members and to change UMNO to mean United Malayans National Organisation, it is most fitting and proper that the banner of a Malaysian Dream of all visionary and patriotic Malaysians down the ages be re-hoisted to seek support and endorsement from the people of Gelang Patah, Johore and Malaysia in the 13th general elections.