Call for a national roundtable conference of eminent citizens, community and religious elders, political and civil society leaders to brainstorm to search for an exit for the country’s unprecedented quandary and to restore Malaysians’ lost self-confidence to compete with the best in the world

I thank the people of Sabah who have shown unstintingly their support for the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang and Mana RM2.6 billion?” campaign in the past two days during our tour of Tenom, Keningau, Kudat and Kota Kinabalu, continuing tomorrow to Tuaran and Sandakan.

The “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang and Mana RM2.6 billion?” campaign is not about me, but the future of 3.3 million Sabahans and 30 million Malaysians – whether Sabahans and Malaysians have the right to demand that their elected representatives raise the issues that matter to the people in Parliament and the State Assemblies, like Prime Minister’s Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and the RM50 billion l1MDB twin mega scandals.

Malaysia is now in unprecedented times and we are in fact in “no man’s land” in terms of our political and nation-building experience.

There have been many strange goings-on in our country in the past year demonstrating that what we see openly and publicly may not reflect the many powerful under-currents flowing below the surface in our political society. Appearance is not the reality, as things may not be what they seem on surface.

I will give three illustrations.

On Monday, 16th November, when Parliament reconvenes after the Deepavali break this week, Parliament will vote on Najib’s 2016 Budget after the final day of the three-day Ministerial winding-up.

If Najib’s 2016 Budget is rejected by Parliament on Monday, then Najib will have to step down as Prime Minister as his most important policy and measure of the year would have been defeated by Members of Parliament and the country will be poised to have a new and seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Is this likely?

From the present political scenario, this will not happen as I do not see any possibility of some 40 UMNO/BN Members of Parliament crossing the floor on Monday to join the 71 Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament from DAP, PKR and AMANAH (minus my one vote as I have been suspended from Parliament for six months) to vote down Najib’s 2016 Budget. PAS has already declared that its Members of Parliament will not vote against Najib’s 2016 Budget.

This is not because there are no UMNO/BN Members of Parliament who are very disappointed by Najib’s 2016 Budget, especially in totally ignoring the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals which have have such calamitous disasters for the Malaysian economy as seen in the multiple collapse in the value of the Malaysian ringgit, the stock market, the country’s international reserves as well as foreign capital flight and loss of confidence of foreign investors in Malaysia as a haven for their investments.

But do not expect UMNO/BN MPs to break ranks in ones, twos or threes, which will subject them to immediate party disciplinary action, but things may be different if there is confidence and assurance that some 40 UMNO/BN MPs will “strike” at one go to show their lack of confidence in the Najib leadership. I do not see this happening this coming Monday.

But this possibility should drive home to the people of Sabah and Sarawak their “kingmaker” role in deciding the Prime Minister and who forms the Federal Government in Putrajaya, for 47 BN MPs in Sabah (22) and Sarawak (25) can decide whether Najib continues as Prime Minister and who constitutes the Federal Government in Putrajaya.

Furthermore, this also means that Najib is not all that powerful as he seems to be.

In fact, for the first time in the nation’s history, Malay voter support for Najib’s government has fallen below 50 per cent, which had never happened to previous Prime Ministers.

A recent poll in August showed that Najib’s government had only support of 31 per cent of Malay voters, 23 per cent of Malaysian voters and 5 per cent of Chinese voters.

With these dismal popularity figures, Najib’s position as UMNO President and Prime Minister cannot be all that invincible and unshakeable – which is why we see the silent war of UMNO’s 300 chieftains most of whom are in Najib’s pockets versus the three million UMNO members who want to see an improvement in UMNO’s political stocks among the people and have no vested interests in Najib’s continued premiership.

This brings me to the second illustration.

With the plummeting of Najib’s popularity rating, not only among Malaysian voters but also among Malay voters, UMNO propagandists and cybertroopers have intensified playing the race and religious cards, especially their lies and falsehoods that the Malays and Islam are under unprecedented threat particularly from DAP, which is supposed to be the personification of Chinese chauvinism and everything anti-Islam.

This is a not only a dastardly lie but a great disservice to Malaysian plural nation-building.

The DAP was formed not to fight for one race or religion, but for the welfare of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.

This was why from the very first general election contested by the DAP in 1969 and through all the 11 general elections fought by DAP from 1969 to 2013, DAP had always presented a multi-ethnic and multi-religious slate of candidates.

Down th decades, DAP have had MPs and State Assembly representatives from all ethnic groups and religions.

DAP does not want to be the voice of the Chinese only, but of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Orang Asli, whether Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Taoists or Sikhs.

It is not only ironic but highlights the treachery and the pernicious evil of irresponsible Malaysian politics that when the DAP is doing our utmost in the party history in the past few years to be more Malaysian by reaching out to all sectors of Malaysian society, particularly the Malays in Peninsular Malaysia, the Kadazan-Dusun-Muruts in Sabah and the Dayaks in Sarawak (such as through on Impian Sabah, Impian Sarawak, Impian Kelantan, Impian Johor and Impian Kedah/Perlis programmes), UMNO/BN propagandists and cybertroopers are working overtime to try to demonise the DAP as the Great Chinese Chauvinist and Anti-Islam Partty!

Let me reiterate, DAP is not a Chinese and anti-Islam party, but a Malaysian party to represent all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Orang Asli, or whether Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Taoists or Sikhs.

My third illustration is even more mind-boggling. UMNO/BN propagandists and cybertroopers are now accusing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as the fourth member in Pakatan Harapan, together with DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara, to oust UMNO/BN from Putrajaya.

I am even accused of forgetting about the unresolved deaths of Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbani Mohamad in MACC for the sake of Pakatan Harapan.

These are a pack of lies, but it highlights the unprecedented fracture of Najib’s government, where the right hand suspects the left hand and one enforcement agency distrusts another, which saw their worst exhibition with the sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail as Attorney-General and the “dissolution” of the multi-agency Special Task Force on 1MDB on July 29.

In the sixth decade of our nationhood since the achievement of Merdeka in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Malaysia has lost its way.

I still remember the heady days of Merdeka in 1957, when I was in secondary school, when the people in the country had high hopes and ambitions.

When Malaysia was formed 52 years ago in 1963, our country was second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development, prosperity and per capita income, wealthier than other Asian countries including South Korea and Taiwan which were poorer and more backward at the time.

But over the decades, Malaysia lost out in the race of economic competitiveness and educational excellence and by the nineties, Malaysia had been left behind with the emergence of the Asian economic tigers comprising Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan while Malaysia could only aspire to be the next Asian tiger.

But these hopes of Malaysia to become the next economic tiger were never realised with the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s – and today, Malaysia is even further behind the economic tigers as well as risk being taken over by other countries both in Asia and Africa.

Today, bogged down with a multitude of crises which had been described as the coming of a “perfect storm” to hit the country, Malaysians have lost the self-confidence to re-make the world that they had displayed in earlier decades.

Malaysia must get out of this rut we have been stuck in the past few years, which the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals have combined to pull us down deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Malaysians must find and restore our self-confidence to compete with the rest and the best in the world. We must rediscover our greatness as Malaysians.

The formal political parties in the governing coalition have failed the nation and cannot get Malaysia out of this rut as they are the ones responsible for the nation stuck in this deep abyss.

What is needed is a new start for the nation, and for this reason, I call ror a national roundtable conference of eminent citizens, community and religious elders, political and civil society leaders to brainstorm to search for an exit for the country’s unprecedented quandary and to restore Malaysians’ lost self-confidence to compete with the best in the world.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah