New Malaysia is not what Mahathir, Anwar, Guan Eng, Sabu or myself individually want, but what Malaysians inside the country and worldwide Malaysian Diaspora want

Julia Yeow of The Malaysian Insight has described it well: “Not quite Malaysia Baru, but never again Malaysia Lama”!

Either in my introductory talk or during the Q & A session during my recent eight-city tour of the Malaysian Diaspora in Australia and New Zealand, I would stress three points:

Firstly, the New Malaysia which the historic 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 made possible has not fully taken shape, but struggling to be born;

Secondly, it is not possible to establish New Malaysia and undo the wrongs and injustices of the past six decades in 100 hundred days or even six months, as it is a task and mission that will take a decade or two; and

Thirdly, the New Malaysia is not what Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, Mohamad Sabu on myself individually want, but what Malaysians, both inside the country and the worldwide Malaysian Diaspora worldwide, want.

This is why I had suggested that the time has come for the formation of Diaspora New Malaysia in foreign cities, countries and continents so that Malaysians in the worldwide diaspora can contribute and participate in the building of a New Malaysia, whether in Australia, New Zealand, China, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar or any other country.

As Julia put it:

“The 14th general election was Malaysia’s reset button, even if the changes and improvements will likely always remain a muted version of our dreams and ideals.

“But more than political change, May 9 is the embodiment of the spirit, resilience and unity of every right-thinking Malaysian desperate to set our nation back on the path to greatness.

“The elections empowered Malaysians to a degree never before experienced, and the realisation that we truly have the power and that our vote counts is the true miracle of GE14.

“May 9 goes far beyond a government change, and to reduce it simply to that makes a mockery of the sacrifices of Malaysians and the lengths we went to, to have our voices heard.”

My twelve-day tour of the eight Australian and New Zealand cities of Perth, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland in fact underlined the need for Malaysians to have “Big Picture” and “Long Vision” perspectives in the task and mission to build a New Malaysia.

I was in Canberra when the Minister for Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman announced that the Cabinet had agreed to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

Although in a faraway land in the Australian capital, I felt a sense of satisfaction as what I had advocated in Parliament about half a century ago in the 1970s for the lowering of the voting age to 18 is coming to pass.

Of course, we do not expect the nation-building changes that we want in a New Malaysia to take half a century to accomplish, but it is a lesson for the need to have “Big Picture” and “Long Vision” perspectives.

I was in Melbourne when I read about the appointment of Art Harun as the Election Commission Charman, which further signals that a New Malaysia was being formed with the democratisation of the Election Commission and the electoral process.

My 12-day tour of the Malaysian Diaspora in Australia and New Zealand was cram-packed with many developments back home - there was hardly a dull moment with the many events, like the implosion of UMNO, with the resignation of two former UMNO Ministers, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad and Datuk Anifah Aman; the arrest of UMNO MP for Baling and former Tabung Haji chairperson Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahman by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission; the charging of the former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for a total of 31 charges for 1MDB corruption and money-laundering; the political circus of the UMNO General Assembly and hot sales of the two books on 1MDB scandal, Clare Rewcastle Brown’s “The Sarawak Report - the Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose” and Tom Wright and Bradley Hope’s “Billion Dollar Whale”.

All these point to the need to have a “Big Picture” and “Long Vision” perspectives to the building of a New Malaysia and, as Juliet Yeow concluded her article, “while we are not quite Malaysia Baru, we now have the power to say, with certainty, we will never go back to being Malaysia Lama”!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri