PAS leaders cannot be more wrong, as it is the responsibility of all Malaysian parties in Pakatan Harapan coalition to champion the Muslim/Malay and non-Muslim/non-Malay agendas to demonstrate that Malaysian nation-building is not a zero-sum game

During the nine-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Qingdao – with a two-hour transit in Fuzhou – for my week-long visit to China, my thoughts were on the political upheavals and convulsions in Malaysia, seven months after the historic decision of Malaysian voters in the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018.

Very few had expected the great political change to take place on May 9, 2018 – in fact, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak not only expected to win the mandate to be re-elected as Prime Minister, he was sure that the UMNO/Barisan Nasional coalition would be returned to Putrajaya with a two-thirds parliamentary majority which had been lost for a decade since 2008.

But now, it would appear that almost everyone expects the ills, faults and wrongs of the past six decades of UMNO/Barisan Nasional rule to be fixed, if not in 100 days, then in two or five years – which is impossible, as the mission to establish a New Malaysia will take more than a one five-year general election cycle but would take a decade or two!

What is important is that Malaysia had a chance to make the critical shift to re-set nation-building policies to save Malaysia from the trajectory towards a sham democracy, kakistocracy, divided nation, failed state and global kleptocracy to restore Malaysia as a world top-class nation and a Tiger Economy which is united, harmonious, democratic, just and which respects the rule of law and good governance.

Just as not many had expected a historic change on May 9, 2018, many had not expected the Pakatan Harapan coalition government to last – least of all, the smooth transition of the Pakatan Harapan time-table for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to take over as the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia from Dr. Mahathir Mohamad during the mid-term.

Initially, UMNO leadership had banked on Pakatan Harapan government to implode and disintegrate in two years – but this timetable of early doom had subsequently been revised to five years, expecting the Pakatan Harapan coalition to collapse in the next 15th General Election.

However, before the duration of five years, UMNO had imploded first, with UMNO losing 18 of the 54 MPs elected on May 9, and with as many as another score set to leave, which will be another UMNO history in 69 years – reducing UMNO to the regional status of PAS or even in having fewer parliamentary seats than PAS. From the height of UMNO MPs comprising 56.7% of all MPs in 1964 and 49.7% of all MPs in 2004, will UMNO end up with less than 10 per cent of the total number of 222 MPs in Parliament?

This may be the reason why PAS is already laying claim to be the only party to fight for the Malay-Muslim agenda, with the PAS Secretary-General Takiyuddin Hassan declaring:

"Last time, it was Umno which fought for the Malay-Muslim agenda, as it was the government, and it also had the strength (in terms of resources and numbers).

"Now, it is no longer the government, and it is bleeding MPs and lawmakers, causing the party's very structure to collapse."

But the PAS leaders cannot be more wrong as PAS must not have the monopoly to champion the Malay-Muslim agenda in Malaysia.

This is because in a New Malaysia, it is the responsibility of all Malaysian political parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition, whether PKR, Bersatu, Amanah or DAP, to champion the Muslim/Malay and non-Muslim/non-Malay agendas to demonstrate that any viable and successful nation-building in a plural society is not a zero-sum game but a win-win formula for all Malaysians.

We are still feeling the reverberations from the historic decision of May 9, 2018, with the cracking up of UMNO, which for six decades have virtually claimed the divine right to rule Malaysia.

What should be of great concern to Malaysians is the resort to the toxic politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion which culminated in the Anti-ICERD rally of 8th December 2018.

There was both pros and cons to the Anti-ICERD rally – among the pros, the country is moving solidly towards a democratic state where the people can speak and assembly peacefully and in accordance with the law; but among the cons, it is a demonstration of the lengths the practitioners of lies, hate, fear, race and religion are prepared to go to pursue their selfish and petty political interests at the national expense.

I am still waiting for an answer from the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang whether he is launching an international campaign to save Muslims in the world from the Freemason conspiracy, as 99 per cent of the 1.9 billion Muslims in the world are living in 179 countries which have ratified the International Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), including 55 of the 57 member nations of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), such as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Algeria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Is Malaysia to be the saviour of Muslims in the world, including Muslims in the Islamic heartlands centred in Saudi Arabia, or has Malaysia become the laughing-stock of the world, including the Islamic World?

It is fortunate Malaysia made the historic decision for a peaceful and democratic transition of power on May 9, 2018.

As the former New Straits Times editor-in-chief Dr. Munir Majid has written, the “depth and extent of corruption exposed have been nothing short of astounding” since May 9, 2018, but the greatest indictment is Munir’s observation:

“Yet, not all Malaysians are ashamed. Not those who supported Barisan even as evidence mounted of pervasive and systemic corruption. Not those who continue to support Barisan, particularly Umno, even now. Not those who were at the peak down to the foothills of the mountains of corruption that was Malaysia.”

Not in UMNO – as illustrated by the implosion in UMNO. Not in PAS – as illustrated by the alacrity of PAS leaders to take advantage of the UMNO implosion.

The monstrous 1MDB scandal, which cast Malaysia to perdition by being condemned by the world as a global kleptocracy, must be a terrible lesson for all Malaysians, that we must never again allow the nation to be pawned to anyone’s greed for power or wealth and that the interests of all Malaysians of diverse races and religions and future generations must always take higher priority than the interest of one man or group of persons, however exalted their position or power.

We are coming to the end of the year, a time for reflection and resolution.

Let all Malaysians reaffirm their commitment to a New Malaysia to save the country from the trajectory of a sham democracy, kakistocracy, a failed state, a divided nation and a global kleptocracy to restore ourselves as a top world-class nation and a tiger economy which is united, harmonious, democratic, just and which upholds the rule of law and good governance.

All Malaysians must develop the Big Picture and Long-Term Perspective with the commitment, stamina and perseverance to stay the struggle to accomplish the mission whether it takes one or two decades.

We need to give time for more Malaysians to come on board the mission to build a New Malaysia – but we cannot retreat from any of our commitments for justice, freedom, democracy, integrity and human dignity for all.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri