One reason why I have kept a low publicity profile in the past year – monstrous lies that I am the puppet-master with Mahathir and Cabinet as my puppets and stooges

We live in an unprecedented era of lies and falsehoods – thanks to the advent of the Internet and the social media.

The two latest Whatsapp images I saw represent this genre of lies and falsehoods - one portraying me as a puppet-master pulling the strings of puppets signifying PKR, Bersatu and AMANAH while the other portraying me as lording over and censuring Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohmad, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Mohamad Sabu, pictured in submissive poses, laying down the new Do’s and Don’t’s, viz: “Saya tak mahu Melayu BERSATU! Saya tak mahu KEADILAN kepada Melayu! Tak perlu tunai AMANAH kepada Melayu!”

These are monstrous lies and falsehoods – picturing me as the greatest threat to Malays and Muslims in the Malay and Muslim constituency, while among the non-Malays and non-Muslims, DAP and I are condemned as having sold out the rights and interests of non-Malays and non-Muslims.

This appears to be a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.

This is in fact one reason why I have kept a low publicity profile in the past year – the monstrous lies that I am the puppet master with the Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad and the Federal Government Cabinet as just my puppets and stooges.

Malaysia seems to have entered a new phase of toxic and vicious politics of racial and religious hatred, lies and falsehoods which, if unchecked, will lead to unprecedented polarisation, division and disunity in plural Malaysia.

This is why at the ceramah at Kampong Mangkalinau two days ago, I had stressed that the Sandakan by-election on May 11 is important – to build a new Malaysia, a new Sabah and a new Sandakan.

We must keep faith with the agenda to build a New Malaysia, the very raison d’etre for the historic decision of the Malaysian voters on May 9, 2018. This means the end of the politics of hate, lies and falsehoods which must be combatted frontally as they have reached new levels of monstrosity and turpitude in the past 12 months.

A New Malaysia can only succeed if all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or socio-economic background, are able to develop their potential capabilities to the fullest – paving the way for Malaysia to compete with the rest of the world instead of competing with each other.

We must create a new Sabah, the rationale for the Bill to amend the Malaysian Constitution in the last meeting of Parliament to restore to Sabah and Sarawak the rights and powers in accordance with Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Unfortunately, the amendment of the Malaysian Constitution, which will represent the first step to restore to Sabah and Sarawak the rights and powers in accordance with Malaysia Agreement 1963, was denied and defeated for the lack of two-third parliamentary support of Members of Parliament.

A vote for Vivian Wong as Member of Parliament for Sandakan will raise the number of Members of Parliament supporting such an amendment of the Malaysian Constitution to 139 MPs – and we have to find nine more MPs to support the Bill for the requisite two-thirds parliamentary majority for such a constitutional amendment to become law.

We need a new Sandakan through the revival of the economy of Sandakan – starting with the upgrading of the Sandakan Airport to international status to draw in tourists from all over the world and promote other economic sectors.

The Sandakan by-election, two days after the first anniversary of the historic decision of May 9, 2018 which effected a peaceful and democratic change of government at the Federal level for the first time in six decades as well in Sabah state, is therefore most significant.

It is a first-year report card to be marked by the voters of Sandakan.

The sacred task to build a New Malaysia, New Sabah and New Sandakan is work not of one hundred days or months, but of many years and even decades.

An important start in this process have been made in the past year, although some mistakes had been made. Clearly, there is room for improvement in many areas.

What is important and fundamental is that Pakatan Harapan must remain true and committed to its principal objectives to reduce the costs of living, achieve institutional reforms, engineer economic growth, restore power to Sabah and Sarawak and to build an inclusive and moderate Malaysia.

Let the voters of Sandakan mark the first-year report card of the Pakatan Harapan Government in the by-election on May 11 and encourage the Pakatan Harapan to stay true and focussed on its fundamental compact with the voters of Malaysia to build a New Malaysia, New Sabah and New Sandakan.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri