Will the 14th General Election again fall on May 5 for Malaysians to finally fulfill their Malaysian Dream to have an united, clean, just, forward-looking, progressive and prosperous Malaysia
The Dewan Negara sitting has been moved forward so that it will end on the same day as the Dewan Rakyat on April 5, the latest indication that Parliament will be dissolved after the end of the Parliamentary meeting on April 5.
If Parliament is dissolved on April 6, two possible dates for Polling Day, if the traditional Saturday is observed, will be April 28 or May 5, the latter the same day as the 13th General Election five years ago in 2013.
Johore will be the front-line state in the 14th General Election. Yesterday, at the 52nd DAP anniversary celebrations in Ayer Hitam in Johor, the titanic battle for the parliamentary constituency of Ayer Hitam was launched with the announcement of the DAP-Pakatan Harapan candidate, Liew Chin Tong, the Johore DAP Chairman and current MP for Kluang. He will be contesting against the MCA Deputy President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, who had been three-term MP for Ayer Hitam since 2004.
Although the Liew Chin Tong-Wee Ka Siong electoral battle has captured the imagination of Malaysians, as it is a classic “David vs Goliath”, what is even more significant is not who will eventually triumph as the MP for Ayer Hitam for the 14th Parliament, but the implications of the Ayer Hitam battle.
There is no doubt that if DAP and Pakatan Harapan can win the Ayer Hitam parliamentary constituency, it will have two important implications: firstly, that Pakatan Harapan can form the Federal Government in Putrajaya in the 14th General Election with Tun Mahathir as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister , Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as Deputy Prime Minister and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s eighth Prime Minister; and secondly, that Pakatan Harapan can also form the new Johore State Government in Nusajaya or Iskandar Puteri.
Malaysia will then, after six decades of nation-building, join the rank of normal democracies like India, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and even Indonesia, where voters can peacefully and democratically exercise their constitutional right to change the government whether at the Federal or State level without any threat, dire warning or occurrence of chaos or catastrophe!
Malaysia becoming a and normal and mature democracy is more important from the national historical perspective, even more important than the issue of personalities.
Malaysia has failed Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, since the attainment of Merdeka in 1957.
We have lost our way in the past six decades with countries more economically, educationally and politically backward than Malaysia having overtaken us on all these fronts, becoming not only richer and more developed and prosperous, but more democratic and more respectful of the principles of good governance and the rule of law.
We have fallen down the ladder of nations in human excellence, achievements and accomplishments in the past half century.
This is best illustrated by the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017, where Malaysia plunged to the lowest ranking in 23 years and was ranked No. 62 out of 180 nations.
Economically, we failed to become an Asian dragon while educationally, we lose out not only to the education power-houses of Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan we also lose out to other countries like Kazahtan and Iceland.
But horror of horrors, Malaysia seems heading towards not just towards to 3Is of a global kleptocracy, but reaching greater heights or depths to be a global double kleptocracy.
Can we save Malaysia from the trajectory of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state we heading towards?
The answer is Yes, and the time is the 14th General Election.
I believe every Malaysian, regardless of age, race, religion or region, has a Malaysian Dream for Malaysia to become a world-class nation which could leverage on the best qualities and values of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures which meet in confluence in Malaysia.
But in recent years, with Malaysia becoming overnight a kleptocracy, Malaysians dare not dream the Malaysian Dream, which seems utterly forelorn and hopeless,with the rise of extremism, intolerance and hatred in our public and political arenas.
The formation of Pakatan Harapan, and the opening salvo of the 14th General election battle in Ayer Hitam yesterday is a call to arms to all patriotic Malaysians to dare to dream again the Malaysian Dream and to strive to achieve the great challenge for Malaysia to be a show-case to the world of an united, successful, progressive, prosperous, plural nation of diverse races, religions, languages and cultures.
In my 52 years in political commitment, I have always been guided by three political beliefs, viz;
Firstly, I am in politics because of the Malaysian Dream, which I believe is shared by many Malaysians down the decades who have undivided love and loyalty to Malaysia – to build a nation where all Malaysians, regardless of their different racial, religious or regional backgrounds, are united and feel as one because they are Malaysians and proud to be a Malaysian, and where Malaysia can leverage on the best of the diverse races, cultures, religions and civilizations which meet in confluence in Malaysia, to be a top world nation in different fields of human endeavour.
Secondly, DAP has always been a party for all Malaysians and never a party for any one race. DAP leaders, who come from diverse ethnic and religious groups, never aspire to be leaders of only one ethnic or religious group, as we always see ourselves as representing all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region.
No person can be a Malaysian leader if he or she is against any one race or religion or concerned only about the rights and interests of only one community – as Malaysian leaders, we must set an example of rising above the racial, religious and regional differences in the country to serve the common national weal.
Thirdly, Malaysians who had supported DAP loyally and consistently in the past half a century did so not because they want a Chinese Malaysian or an Indian Malaysia, as they know that DAP never advocated a Chinese Malaysia, Indian Malaysia or Malay Malaysia, but because of the Malaysian Dream to build a Malaysia where all citizens, regardless of race, religion or region, have a rightful place under the Malaysian sun.
For DAP leaders worth their salt, there can be no “comfort zones” or “safe harbours” as they must be prepared to take risks so that Pakatan Harapan can succeed in its mission to create a national political tsunami in the 14th General Election to save Malaysia from becoming a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state.
I have had been Member of Parliament of five states, starting in Malacca (Bandar Melaka) in 1969; (Kota Melaka) 1974 and 1982; MP in Selangor (Petaling) in 1978; MP in Penang (Tanjong) in 1986, 1990, 1995; MP for Perak (Ipoh Timor) in 2004 and 2008 and MP for Johor (Gelang Patah) in 2013.
Every time I moved from one parliamentary seat to another, from one state to another, it is not because I was seeking a safer seat but to take on a greater challenge and encounter a greater risk. I have been fortunate to succeed except once in 1999 to move from Tanjong to save the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat in Penang, where I lost by 104 votes and was out of Parliament for one term from1999 – 2004.
When I moved from Malacca to Penang to contest in Tanjong in 1986 to spearhead the campaign to make Penang the front-line state for political change in Malaysia, there was concern whether I would be able to win and enter Parliament from Penang. I won in Tanjong but we failed to capture Penang State to make Penang the front-line state for political change until in 2008, when DAP led Pakatan Rakyat to form the Penang State Government in 2008.
Similarly, when I contested in Ipoh Timor in 2004, there was concern whether I could win as the DAP had been wiped out in the Ipoh and Menglembu areas in the 1999 general election, which was a bad general election for DAP in Perak as the DAP was wiped out in the whole of Perak state except for the Batu Gajah parliamentary seat.
My move in 2013 from Ipoh Timor to Gelang Patah, facing the Johor Mentri Besar, was regarded as the height of folly, causing nationwide concern whether it would be my Waterloo.
Johor is now the front-line state for political change in the 14th General Election.
Yesterday, we saw Liew Chin Tong, demonstrating for the third time the DAP spirit that there is no “comfort zone” or “safety harbour” for a DAP leader, who must always be prepared to take great personal political risks to break new ground for political change and improvement for all Malaysians.
A Subang Jaya boy, Chin Tong contested in the Bukit Bendera constituency in the 2008 General Election and defeated the Gerakan Deputy Minister and Secretary-General when nobody expected him to win. In 2013 General Election, he contested in Kluang and defeated a MCA deputy minister and he is now contesting in Ayer Hitam for the 14th General Election against the MCA Deputy Preisdent and Minister – which would be his most “impossible” task in his political career.
DAP can last 52 years and stand tall – unlike MCA leaders who continue to dishonour MCA with three of its top leaders now depending on UMNO’s Malay votes to get into Parliament and Cabinet – because of this spirit of DAP leaders who are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the larger good of the party and the people of Malaysia.
We not only have Liew Chin Tong, but in the last general election, Teo Nie Ching moved from her Serdang Parliamentary seat to Kulai, which had never been won by the DAP before; and Yeo Bee Yin, who is leaving her sure-win Damansara state assembly seat in Selangor, which she had won with a gigantic majority of over 30,000 votes in the 2013 General Election to an unknown terrain and future in Johore.
DAP leaders must be like the candles, who burn themselves to bring light to others; unlike MCA leaders who are even prepared to be UMNO’s “ninja assasins” to character-assassinate the reputation and integrity of DAP leaders and snuff out the candles to bring light to the world.