Freeing Anwar Ibrahim from Sungai Buloh prison must be top agenda of the “Save Malaysia” Grand Coalition post-BN and post-PR

Seven weeks ago, at the Bukit Bintang DAP anniversary dinner, I threw up the idea of a new coalition government post-BN and post-PR to “Save Malaysia” as Malaysia seemed suddenly in “no man’s land” in over half-a-century of independent nation after Merdeka in 1957 and formation of Malaysia in 1963.

The events of the past 26 days have fortified the need for new thinking, even thinking the unthinkable, about the unprecedented political landscape evolving in the country, for not only are the two political coalition in the country, the ruling Barisan Nasional and the Federal Opposition Pakatan Rakyat, in serious trouble, the very existence of the Malaysian federation has been called into question for the first time since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

The past seven weeks have seen the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak coming under even greater challenge, with the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad leading the attack, raising issues which Pakatan Rakyat leaders have kept in the national forefront all this while, in particular the RM42 billion 1MDB financial scandal, the unanswered question of motive in the Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial, amidst a host of questions about nation-building, good governance, the rule of law; the independence and professionalism of the judiciary, Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission; respect for democracy, human rights and freedom of expression and the press in Malaysia.

Never before has the ruling coalition in Malaysia come under such intense attack – at a time when the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, which had created history in winning the majority of the electorate in the 13th General Elections but denied the majority of the parliamentary seats and therefore the Putrajaya seat of Federal power because of unfair and undemocratic gerrymandering of electoral constituencies, is itself facing an unprecedented crisis!

It is no exaggeration to say that both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are facing a ‘life-and-death crisis, which has mushroomed into a life-and-death crisis for the Malaysian Federation formed in 1963.

It would appear that the cause of this unprecedented crisis for Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat and the Malaysian Federation is over one issue – hudud law and implementation in Malaysia, but deeper study would show it is otherwise.

Pakatan Rakyat is facing a crisis of survival not because of hudud, but whether PAS under its President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is prepared to keep to the solemn promise to be committed to the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the PR consensus operational principle which all the three component parties, DAP, PKR and PAS have sworn would bind them, forming the basis of general election manifestos.

If the PR Common Policy Framework or PR consensus operational principle could be unilaterally destroyed by anyone of the three PR component parties, then the basis for the continuation of PR has ceased to exist.

The greatest challenge facing PR today is whether this PR Common Policy Framework and PR consensus operational principle can be salvaged and restored, or whether PR has just become history!

Similarly, Barisan Nasional is facing a survival crisis, for if the present UMNO leadership is allowed to arbitrarily and even unilaterally jettison the core nation-building principle which had been espoused not only by all the BN component parties but by the first five Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah that hudud laws are against the Malaysian Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and unsuitable for a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation like Malaysia, then the very raison d”’etre for Barisan Nasional is not only dead, the very basis for the formation of Malaysia is also destroyed!

It is in these abnormal political circumstances where the politics of the country seemed to have entered “no man’s land” that I had mooted the idea of a Grand Coalition which is post-BN and post-PR to “Save Malaysia”.

This ‘Grand Coalition is not a ‘”Unity Government” like the UG concept of UMNO and PAS, but a completely different creature altogether.

It is a Grand Coalition of MPs from both sides of the political divide as well as both sides of the South China Sea, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, to defend constitutionalism and rule of law with a new Prime Minister and a new Malaysian Government – going beyond the existing political parties.

The new Prime Minister can come from either side of the political divide who wants to Save Malaysia and defend the Federal Constitution and the rule of law, who can be a man or a woman.

Is this idea of a Grand Coalition, going beyond the existing political parties, a practical and achievable concept.

This is the greatest challenge facing Malaysians today.

For such a Grand Coalition to work, it must meet also other criteria to be a viable and sustainable government, as for instance, being fully inclusive of all Malaysian races, religions and regions, in other words, a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-regional new Malaysian coalition government comprising Muslims and non-Muslims, Malays and non-Malays, and Malaysians from Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.

Furthermore, it must have a visionary and forward-looking programme to restore Malaysia’s greatness and allow Malaysia to punch above its weight in many areas of human endeavour, whether political, economic, social, educational, information technology or environmental – creating a clean, incorruptible government of excellence which upholds the rule of law and human rights.

Undoubtedly, one of the top agendas of the “Save Malaysia” Grand Coalition will be the release of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from Sungai Buloh prison to be back in the mainstream of Malaysian politics.

Recently, the former Information Minister, Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin had an interesting blog where he speculated that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was well aware that he, too, could face jail time if Pakatan Rakyat comes into power.’

This was why Mahathir’”s strenuous urgings for Najib to buck up should not be seen as a personal attack on Najib but a call to action for greater good.

Zainuddin wrote: “Mahathir, seen as the authoritarian, will be arrested first, followed by Najib and others on charges of abuse of power, related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) or other matters.

“So, by making this gentle yet stern reminder, Mahathir is warning not only Najib but also himself. It is a warning meant for the safety of all.”

I do not know what Zainuddin was referring to, as he appeared to be privy to many skeletons in Mahathir””””s cupboard.

But the focus of the present must be unwaveringly to “Save Malaysia” from the present roller-coaster policies which threaten to plunge Malaysia down the slippery slope, whether in nation-building, politics, economics, education or other aspects of national life to that of a “failed state”.

For this formidable task, we must be prepared to put our differences in the past to one side and concentrate all our energies on one common agenda, to save Malaysia from all centrifugal forces to tear the country asunder.

On this agenda, I am prepared even to work with Tun Mahathir to “Save Malaysia”.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah