“Deep State” an important reason why institutional and political reforms for a New Malaysia not as rapid as they should be

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has reiterated that the deep state in Malaysia is out to undermine the Pakatan Harapan government.

The “deep state” is in fact an important reason why institutional and political reforms for a New Malaysia are not as rapid as they should be.

The deep state will be even more assertive and obstructive if it is convinced that the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya is a transcient and temporary one and would, as had earlier been hoped for by UMNO leaders, implode and disintegrate in a matter of months – a time-span which is now expanded to a half-term though the consciousness seemed to have seeped in that the Pakatan Harapan government will serve out its full term and may even win the next 15th General Election in 2023.

As I said at the Pakatan Harapan Sarawak dinner last Saturday,

“We have made the crucial and critical shift in GE14 from the trajectory of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, and are heading in a new direction, resetting nation-building policies to build a New Malaysia of unity, excellence, justice, freedom and integrity.

“But there is no guarantee of success to reach the goal of a New Malaysia, for this is work of a decade or two, and we can always be hijacked and the nation-building direction diverted along the way.

“There is no way that a New Malaysia can be achieved by 2023 in one general election cycle. I cannot overemphasise that the mission for a New Malaysia can be blocked, diverted or sabotaged before its accomplishment.

“What we are attempting is not a 'revolution' where we can chop off the heads of those in the old regime and build a new administration with 'revolutionaries'.

“This is not the way of democracy, where there is a clear distinction between the political leadership and the government administration, requiring the new government to bring along the old administration to effect the transition, reforms and changes in the country.”

The battle for the hearts and minds of the deep state can only be won if the deep state is convinced that the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya is stable, cohesive and committed to the five pillar-promises for a New Malaysia as contained the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto in the 14th General Election, and that Pakiatan Harapan will be the government for the next few general election cycles – that they can slow down but cannot stop the emergence of a New Malaysia.

Early this year, the perception spread that the Pakatan Harapan government is not a viable government because of three by-election victories by the proponents of “klepto-theocracy”, but this misleading perception was pulverised by the historic landslide victory of Pakatan-Warisan in the Sandakan parliamentary by-election in May this year.

This is a lesson for the deep state, for it must accept that the aspirations for a New Malaysia is the aspiration of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, and that the will of the people in a democratic Malaysia must prevail.

In my speech in Kuching, I had spoken of the Pakatan Harapan’s objectives to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity in the world – and my hope that Malaysia will improve every year in both the ranking and score of the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) until it occupies the top bracket of the 30 leading nations in integrity instead of oscillating between 50th and 62nd ranking of the TI CPI under the premiership of Najib Abdul Razak.

In Ipoh this May, the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there were some people, including civil servants, who wanted to oust the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government because of its efforts to combat corruption and who felt that the PH government was not as good as the previous administration because it rejected the immoral activity.

Mahathir said: “There are some who feel that the government is not as good as the previous one because this government does not allow bribes.

“There are some who feel this government should not continue but (the country) should go back to a corrupt government which benefits them.”

Mahathir said when the leaders and government elected by the people in the general election were corrupt, many parties would become victims, including future generations.

At the same time, all the government’s plans to develop and build the nation to once-again become an “Asian Tiger” would not be realised.

Mahathir said: “We realise that the previous government was toppled because of corruption, even though they felt that bribery would get them the support of the people, but in the end, the people overthrew them even though they were offered all sorts of bribes.”

We want a deep state to support the emergence of a New Malaysia instead of one seeking to block and defeat institutional, political and governance reforms without which they could be no New Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri