The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak gave another beautiful speech yesterday congratulating Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah on his birthday at Istana Negara, the latest in his four-year series of beautiful speeches since he first became Prime Minister in April 2009.
The 13th General Elections on May 5, where he became the first Prime Minister to poll an even worse electoral result than his predecessor when seeking a mandate of his own and scraping through to victory on a minority vote, should be salutary lesson to Najib that it is not good enough to deliver beautiful speeches if he is unwilling or incapable of “ walking the talk” of his many promises and pledges.
In his speech yesterday, Najib said the Barisan Nasional government is “the umbrella of all Malaysians” but in the first month after the 13th General Elections, Najib has yet to prove that he is Prime Minister of 100% Malaysians and not just 47% of the electorate who voted for him and the Barisan Nasional on May 5.
Najib has yet to live down his disastrous judgment immediately after the results of the 13GE by blaming the Chinese tsunami for the outcome, when it was clearly a Malaysian, urban, semi-urban and youth tsunami!
One of the most encouraging and even inspiring aspects of the 13GE is the failure of the race and religious politics and blandishments of the UMNO/BN “War Room” strategy, with Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region, age or gender coming together to support the Pakatan Rakyat call for an end to the politics of race, corruption, cronyism, abuses of power and all forms of injustices.
The beginning of the end of the politics of race is best illustrated in the Gelang Patah constituency, where there was a deliberate and high-level effort to racialise the contest between former Mentri Besar Datuk Ghani Othman and myself by alleging that I wanted to create a “racial confrontation” and that I was seeking to incite the Chinese to hate the Malays.
But this attempt to racialise the Gelang Patah contest and the 13GE failed, as it would not be possible for me to win a majority of over 14,000 votes without Malay voter support.
The Gelang Patah and 13GE election results proved two things: firstly, that more and more Malays support the call for an end of the politics of race, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power; and secondly, the Malays are not so easily deceived by Mahathir and the UMNO/BN propagandists, as they can see that I had not contested in Gelang Patah to knock out Ghani, but it was Ghani who came to contest against me in what was a traditional MCA parliamentary seat.
Unfortunately, the failed attempt to racialise the 13GE has now been followed by a deliberate and systematic attempt to racialise the outcome of the 13GE, as falsely attributing it to a Chinese tsunami instead of an inclusive and statesmanlike response by Najib to convince Malaysians that the BN government is a government of 100% Malaysians and not just 47% of the electorate.
The electoral reform proposed by Najib transferring his office’s responsibility to oversee the Election Commission to a bipartisan parliamentary committee is an admission that the Election Commission is one of the biggest casualties of the 13GE but in the absence of details it is not possible to say whether Najib’s proposal would be adequate to fully restore the people’s confidence in the credibility, integrity and authority of the Election Commission.
I still await Najib’s response to my suggestion yesterday for a completely new slate to restore and command full public confidence in the Election Commission by having a new Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Election Commission. Does Najib agree?
However, the events in the month after the 13GE results do not inspire confidence that Najib is sincere, serious or has the political will to work for national unity and national reconciliation.
In fact, Najib is not even prepared to defend, protect and preserve the constitutional principles and provisions, which is why the scandalous constitutional blunder and farce of having two illegal Ministers and three illegal Deputy Ministers remain unresolved after more than a fortnight.
One of the country’s foremost constitutional lawyers, Tommy Thomas, has succinctly summed up the problem of the two illegal Ministers and three illegal Deputy Ministers thus:
“Under the federal constitution, the sequence is plain and clear: one must first be elected by the people or be appointed to the Senate before one can become a minister; and not the other way.
“If these ministers and deputy ministers have been discharging the functions of their office since May 16, they have been acting unconstitutionally.
“Their appointments cannot be backdated. Neither can their actions be ratified in future. Rather, they have to be appointed to the Senate first, and thereafter required to take their oath of office again before His Majesty.
“The lip-service the government and its officers paid to the federal constitution, which is the supreme law of the land and which overrides all other laws that are inconsistent with it, is again demonstrated by this blatant disregard of something so elementary and so well-established.”
If Najib is unable to uphold clear-cut constitutional principles and provisions like the appointment a person as a Senator before appointment as Minister or Deputy Minister, who can believe in his claims about his commitment to national unity and national reconciliation?
What undermines the credibility of the Najib premiership post-13GE about its commitment to national unity and national reconciliation, for Najib to be Prime Minister of all Malaysians and not just 47% of the electorate, are two recent developments:
Firstly, the continued Umno/BN attempt to racialise and polarize the post-13GE situation in the country, with the unabated spewing of lies and falsehoods in the UMNO/BN owned/controlled media, particularly Utusan, New Straits Times and Berita Harian.
A case in point is the continuing campaign of lies and falsehoods by these Umno/BN media trying to blame the Umno/BN electoral setbacks in the 13GE on the success of a non-existing DAP-funded “Red Bean Army” of some 3,000 cybertroopers, with a budget allegedly ranging from RM100 milllion to RM1billion, to demonise UMNO/BN leaders and destroy Umno/BN in the 13GE.
Although DAP leaders have declared that this is a total figment of imagination of UMNO/BN “War Room”, the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and the police have been roped in to waste limited manpower, public resources and funds to embark on a “wild goose chase” when they should be focusing their attention on keeping Malaysians safe from crime and the fear of crime whether in public places or in the privacy of their homes.
Secondly, more and more government departments and officials are being forced to “play politics” to serve UMNO/BN agenda instead of carrying out their public duties in an efficient, impartial and professional manner without any partisan considerations or interference.
Three recent examples come immediately to mind:
(i) Limited police resources being expended to pursue fictitious, politically-inspired but baseless allegations like the “Red Bean Army” of DAP cybertroopers;
(ii) Unlawfrul threats by the Immigration Director-General to revoke passports of Malaysians abroad for exercising their constitutional right to support the political coalition of their choice during the 13GE;
(iii) The Registrar of Societies making false and baseless allegations against the DAP, clearly to prepare the ground for an offensive against the DAP – including a possible deregistration of DAP – which will make the Home Minister, Zahid Hamidi a “instant hero” in UMNO in the upcoming UMNO party elections.
Najib should realize that these are not actions of a government which is committed to national unity and national reconciliation, as they are totally against what he said in his speech yesterday about creating a better future for all Malaysians:
“We dream of a Malaysia where people of all races and beliefs can live in peace and harmony without any suspicion, a progressive and prosperous Malaysia which has enough for all.”
Is Najib capable of ending these negative and divisive developments in the month after the 13GE which are not conducive to national unity and national reconciliation, or is he completely helpless as there are larger forces at work which is completely beyond his control and charge?