There is a lot of thunder and lightning on the Malaysian political scene and the country is undergoing unprecedented number of political intrigues and conspiracies.
But they are not wrestling with the most important issue in Malaysia – which is how to establish a government which is dedicated to fulfilling the Malaysian Dream to restore the national aspiration to become a world-class great nation.
When we achieved Merdeka in 1957, our economy, education, judiciary and civil service, and in some sports, were among the best in the world, but the past six decades we have slipped behind one country after another in these fields while Malaysia had become infamous in areas which would have embarrassed our founding fathers – like becoming “kleptocracy at its worst”!
The 14th General Election was a high-water mark in the pursuit of the Malaysian Dream, for it represented a superhuman effort by Malaysians who believe in the Malaysian Dream to roll back decades of regression and imprudent policies and to try to fulfil Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman’s hope that Malaysia can be “a beacon of light in a difficult and distracted world”.
But the hopes and dream of Malaysians for a New Malaysia spelt out in Buku Harapan – the 2018 general election manifesto of Pakatan Harapan coalition – suffered a grievous blow when the Pakatan Harapan Government was toppled by the Sheraton Move conspiracy after 22 months, ushering in a backdoor illegitimate government which suspended Parliament as it was unsure that it could continue to command the support of the majority of MPs in Parliament.
Instead of five years of institutional reforms and political, economic, social and educational changes to strongly anchor Malaysia as a world-class great nation, we were suddenly plunged into a post-PH scenario with the country teetering on the verge of a kakistocracy, while facing the worst racial and religious polarisation after many years of unhampered dissemination of a deluge of fake news, lies, falsehoods and disinformation to drum up fear, distrust and hatred among the diverse races, languages, religions and cultures in the country.
The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, lambasted PAS as “Parti Ajaran Sesat” in the last decade, both when he was in UMNO and Bersatu, but it posed no obstacle to his formation of Perikatan Nasional with PAS.
We have today Cabinet Ministers who reject the basic nation-building principles in the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukun Negara – constitutional monarchy, federalism, Malaysia as a plural society, parliamentary democracy, the separation of powers, the rule of law, good governance, public integrity, respect for human rights, religious freedom and tolerance.
Last week, Indonesia’s Vice President, Ma’ruf Amin – formerly the Supreme Leader of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic organisation – declared that Indonesia is not a Islamic state and reiterated support for Pancasila as the foundational nation-building basis for Indonesia.
Is the PAS President, Hadi Awang, prepared to announce that Malaysia is not an Islamic State and declare support for Rukun Negara as the foundational nation-building principles.
While it is understandable to regard ourselves as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists first and Malaysian second in the early decades of nationhood, will the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin now declare that in 2021, he is Malaysian first and Malay second?
If after six decades of Malaysian nationhood, we continue to subordinate our Malaysian identity and consciousness to other identities and consciousness, (while nobody is suggesting that Malaysians should surrender their other multiple identities) then it is a failure in Malaysian nation-building and nationhood!
This is the substance of the Malaysian Dream.
It is sad and tragic that the various political intrigues and conspiracies in Malaysia are not carried out in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream.
We had a mandate of five years to implement the Pakatan Harapan manifesto and fulfil the Malaysian Dream for a New Malaysia, but this was cut short in 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy which toppled the Pakatan Harapan government and ushered in a backdoor and illegitimate regime.
There is frustration, disappointment and even despair in the land.
Has Malaysia reached a terminal stage where the future is only kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state?
So long as Malaysians do not believe the siren song that any race or religion is facing extinction – as there is no race or religion in Malaysia’s plural society which wants to eliminate another race or religion – and Malaysians regardless of race or religion can focus on the shared middle ground of making Malaysia a world-class great nation which delivers a better quality of life in education, economics, public health, housing and environment to all Malaysians, then the Malaysian Dream is still alive, relevant and pertinent.
The greatest challenge today is how we can rekindle, re-inspire, re-energize and re-motivate hope and inspiration in the Malaysian Dream for the country to be a world-class great nation by ensuring that the 15th General Election is another superhuman effort to fulfil the high but dashed hopes of the 14th General Election for reform and salvation.
But we must learn from the mistakes of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government.
Firstly, the importance of public perception – we must not, for example, convey the perception that we are not serious about our general election promises which happened when the former Prime Minister said that the PH Election Manifesto was not a bible. Even if 80 or 90 per cent of the election pledges had been implemented in the five-year mandate, damage would have been done. It was worse when the five-year tenure of the PH government was cut short in 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy.
Secondly, the Prime Minister and Cabinet must have a Pakatan Harapan coalition mindset and framework. A major Pakatan Harapan mistake in the 22 months of Pakatan Harapan government was that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers did not have a Pakatan Harapann coalition mindset and framework and prepared to be guided by these principles.