Slim River by-election: the battle for the soul of Malaysia – the Rukunegara principles or “Malu Apa Bossku?”

The Slim River by-election on Saturday, with early voting today, is the battle for the soul for Malaysia – a battle between the Rukunegara principles or “Malu Apa Bossku”?

No wonder that the campaigner-in-chief is none other than the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is making the Slim River by-election the first major test for his “Malu Apa Bossku?” campaign.

There had been 11 by-elections, five Parliament and six State Assembly, after the historic 14th General Election of May 9, 2018 which ended the seemingly invincible control of Barisan Nasional and UMNO to save Malaysia from becoming a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state, but the Slim River State Assembly by-election in Perak this Saturday is the first by-election to be held after the former Prime Minister was convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million on all seven charges related to the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International funds involving the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The former Prime Minister campaigned in the first by-election for the Sungai Kandis State Assembly constituency in Selangor on August 4, 2018 and was blamed for the UMNO defeat.

As a result, he stayed out of the Balakong and Seri Setia by-elections and made low-keyed appearances at the Port Dickson by-elections.

But the “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign made its debut in the Cameron Highlands by-election in January 2019 and is credited with the UMNO victories in the Semenyih, Rantau, Tanjong Piai, Kimanis and Chini by-elections.

Now, Najib is virtually running the campaign in Slim River and a victory for UMNO will be equated as a victory for the “Malu Apa Bossku?” campaign, as a victory for UMNO in the Slim River by-election seems to be a foregone conclusion.

But even before polling day on Saturday, the “Malu Apa Bossku?” has achieved a great victory – enlisting into its ranks the PAS Minister for Plantation, Industries and Commodities, Khairuddin Aman Razali who virtually said “Malu Apa” to his violation of the quarantine Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on his return to Malaysia after his visit to Turkey on July 3 – 7, 2020.

It now appears that the PAS Minister had told three lies: that he had made an official visit to Turkey, that he had the authorisation of the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and that Turkey was a “green country (zone)” when it was in fact one of the epicentres of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his daily Covid-19 press briefing today said he was unsure if Mohd Khairuddin visited Turkey alone or with other people.

This highlights his sense of responsibility as a Senior Minister leading the war against the Covid-19 pandemic – which is only a variation of the “Malu Apa” mindset.

It is most ironic that we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Rukunegara as the "Malu Apa” campaign violates the principles of Rukunegara, especially on “the rule of law and “morality and good behaviour”.

Last week, it was revealed in the Hawaii courts that ten of millions of ringgit were spent by Malaysian fugitive Jho Low for the former Prime Minister, Najib’s visit to President Trump in September 2017, as part of a concerted strategy to force the Department of Justice to drop its cases over 1MDB money-laundering and embezzlement of billions of US dollars.

There has been thunderous silence in Malaysia to these shocking revelations in the United States courts – both by the government and the former Prime Minister.

Malu Apa Bossku!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri