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A Christmas and New Year Wish for Malaysia

My X’mas and New Year wish for Malaysia is a simple one: that Malaysians of all races stay together and not be divided or split up into the separate racial and religious compartments that our enemies and detractors would like to see happen.

These enemies do not come from abroad or are armed with guns and rockets. They are deep within our society and use the tools of propaganda and political rhetoric to achieve their aims. They include  diehard extremists such as Isma and Perkasa who are easy to identify. They also include political opportunists at all levels who will bend with the wind simply to realize their political ambitions and agenda.

Top of the list of political opportunists or “pemimpin lallang” must now be Dr. Mahathir. When he advanced the concept of “Vision 2020” to unite the nation 30 years ago, he was rightly hailed as a visionary. Today, he has abandoned that vision, ridiculed the 1Malaysia concept developed by Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Razak to bring Malaysians together, and  gone on a one man nut case campaign to convince UMNO members and the Malay community that they are beggars in the political dynamics of the country.

What a load of rubbish from our former Prime Minister. But it seems to be resonating in the Malay community with Minister of Tourism, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and other prominent UMNO leaders echoing that view. The truth is that election results since 1957 have always shown that Malays, like all other communities, have never voted for one party en bloc but have split their preference according to the candidates and parties.  Since 2008, there has now been a swing of Malay and non-Malay votes formerly regarded as UMNO and Barisan’s fixed deposit votes towards the opposition parties.

Desperate to counter this trend which will see UMNO out of power in the next elections, Dr. Mahathir is throwing caution to the wind and engaging in unprecedented fear mongering. We all know that Dr. Mahathir’s good name in Malaysian history is mainly dependent on UMNO’s hold on power.

What Will Happen When Pakatan Takes Over

The day that Pakatan takes over in Putrajaya will see not only a new era in Malaysian politics. It will also see the books on crimes and acts against the nation and the people hidden from the public for so long finally opened up. In the re-writing of Malaysia’s history that will follow, Dr. Mahathir’s   political dishonesty, chicanery, deceitfulness, hypocrisy, double-dealing and unscrupulousness will be there for everyone to see.

All the bailouts, cronyism, rent-seeking, nepotism, scandals, skeletons in the cupboard and other dirty laundry committed during Dr. Mahathir’s rule will be revisited. This time, they will not simply appear in the internet media. They will be out in the open with no Utusan Malaysia, TV3, the Star, Radio Malaysia, and other sycophants to censor or give him cover.

In authoritarian societies such as Chile, Rumania, Iran, Egypt and others when the strong man leader is toppled, his statue, his portraits, the monuments that the strong man has created are smashed and come crashing down.  Malaysian culture is probably more refined than that.

Tan Sri Ani Arope as Contrast

A few days ago we lost a genuine towering Malay who stood up to Dr. Mahathir when the Economic Planning Unit – apparently under orders from the Prime Minister – was rushed to award sweetheart deals to various independent power producers which adversely affected TNB and the country as a whole.

According to Tan Sri Dr. Arope, “There was no negotiation. Absolutely none. Instead of talking directly with the IPPs, TNB was sitting down with the EPU. And we were harassed, humiliated and talked down every time we went there. After that, my team was disappointed. The EPU just gave us the terms and asked us to agree. I said no way I would. It was all fixed up. They said, this is the price, this is the capacity charge and this is the number of years. They said you just take it and I refused to sign the contracts. And then, I was put out to pasture”

This is how Malaysia’s leaders – whether willing or unwillingly – should go to pasture. By holding on to principles and not abusing the public trust.

According to Tan Sri Ani Arope: “This job is an amanah (trust). You are entrusted with this responsibility and you carry it out to the best of your ability. I do not want somebody to come and urinate on my grave. In the Malay culture, that is about the worst insult they can do to a man,” said the man who was also Malaysia’s first Fulbright Scholar in 1966.

If there were more principled leaders like our late TNB Chairman, I am sure all Malaysian will be enjoying a more united and peaceful X’mas and New Year.

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