Malaysia is at the crossroads – to move forward to be a top world-class nation with an inclusive nation-building policy leveraging on the best qualities of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures or to be relegated to the trajectory towards a failed state obsessed by divisive and intolerant race and religious politics.
This challenge to Malaysian nation-building was highlighted by two recent events – firstly, the formal union of UMNO and PAS and secondly, the first post-14GE Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting after it had been reduced from 14 to three communal-based political parties, which decided that there was no consensus to dissolve Barisan Nasional.
The last few months have seen an intensification of the toxicity and viciousness of the politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion in the country, which were first used in the 14th General Election campaign with three-fold objective:
In the first four months after the historic decision of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, the UMNO strategists, propagandists and cybertroopers were reeling from the unexpected electoral defeat, and reflected by the results of the first three by-elections after the 14th General Election – Sungai Kadis, Seri Setia and Balakong state assembly constituencies in Selangor.
But the three by-elections saw tentative efforts to build not only a firmer UMNO-Selangor compact, but the involvement of MCA and MIC as well.
The Port Dickson parliamentary by-election on October 13, 2018, with the eighth-Prime Minister-designate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the Pakatan candidate was a sequel to the historic 14th General Election victory, as it was a battle of the future versus the past as the second step in the struggle of a New Malaysia to be born to give Malaysians a second chance to reset nation-building policies.
It was occasion for the voters to deliberate what would have become of Malaysia if former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had been right about the outcome of the 14th General Election, when he was so sure not only of winning big, but even to recapture two-thirds parliamentary majority which UMNO/BN lost a decade ago in the 12th General Election in 2008.
No doubt, if Najib had won, Malaysia would have rushed headlong in the trajectory towards a rogue democracy, a kakistocracy where Cabinet Ministers cannot differentiate between turtle eggs from ordinary eggs, a global kleptocracy and a rogue state where the No. 1 law officer of the state was none other than the No. 1 outlaw in the state – designated “MO1” by the United States Department of Justice!
Fortunately, Anwar won handsomely.
In the subsequent fifth and sixth by-elections, in Cameron Highlands by-election in January and Semenyih on March 2, the UMNO/PAS strategists, propagandists and cybertoopers seemed to found the magic formula to unleash the most vicious and toxic politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion to incite and create suspicion, distrust, fear and hatred between Malays and non-Malays, and between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The choice before Malaysians is crystal clear – succumb to the toxic and vicious politics of lies, fear, hate, race and religion where race suspects another race and religion distrusts another religion or recognise our common identity as Malaysians to leverage on the best qualities of our diverse races, religions, languages and cultures while accepting our the differences in our diverse ethnicities, not as a weakness or liabilities but as strength and assets.
I have confidence and faith that the majority of Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, want an inclusive country for Malaysia to be top world-class nation to compete with the rest of the world instead of becoming a divisive failed state, torn asunder by the toxic and vicious politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion.