The CSR memorandum of understanding between the opposition and the government a historic breakthrough and a critical test whether all Malaysians can unite to face an existential threat and reverse the tide of defeat to win the 21-month war against the Covid-19 pandemic
The confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding reached between the opposition and the government is a historic breakthrough and a critical test whether all Malaysians can unite to face an existential threat and reverse the tide of defeat to win the 21-month war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
All differences will be set aside before the existential threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed seven “911 tragedies” in Malaysia in terms of human lives lost, as some 21,000 people in Malaysia had died of Covid-19 in the past 21 months.
We must place a moratorium on all our differences until the next general election in 10 to 18 months to unite and single-mindedly win the losing war against the 21-month Covid-19 pandemic.
We must give Malaysians hope and confidence that Malaysians can subordinate their differences in the next 10 to 18 months to win the losing war against the Covid-19 pandemic and reset the institutional and parliamentary structures for Malaysia to start anew to be a world-class great nation.
But there are red lines which neither side should violate.
Political analysts and commentators who see the CSR MOU as meaning the demise of the Opposition in Malaysia do not know history, which is replete with examples of the need for unity to face a mortal foe, whether in the example of Mao-Tse-Tung/Chiang Kai Shek United Front against the Japanese aggressors or the Winston Churchill/Clement Attlee coalition government against Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Churchill had condemned Attlee’s Labour Party socialists but when Britain was under mortal danger, Churchill and Attlee not only formed a war coalition government, they forged a United Front with Soviet Union’s Stalin against Hitler.
It is worth remembering that at the state funeral of Winston Churchill, one of the pallbearers was Clement Attlee, his wartime Deputy Prime Minister, who insisted on performing the honour despite his ill-health.
Thrown together in the dark hours of 1940, the two men forged a cross-party coalition that saved their country from their menace of Nazism and then, when Hitler was done, contested each other at the ballot box for mastery of post-war Britain. A five-year wartime partnership between two leaders, followed by a decade of peacetime competition between them!
In Malaysia, we have not gone that far. The opposition has not formed a coalition or unity government with government parties.
What we have done is to reach a confidence-supply-reform memorandum of understanding between the government and opposition with two objectives, to
- Firstly prioritise, for the next 10 to 18 months until the 15th General Election, the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic which constitutes an existential threat to Malaysia as it has piled up two million cases and killed some 21,000 people in the last 21 months ; and
- Secondly, reset institutional and parliamentary reforms so that the country can embark on economic, social and national recovery to save lives and livelihoods.
We still have critical differences with the government parties, on constitutional democracy and the Rukun Negara, the rule of law, good governance, war against corruption and abuses of power, respect for human rights and freedom of speech and expression, the economic, social and educational inequalities in the country, Malaysia as a world-class great nation and how to forge Malaysian unity out of diverse races, religions, regions and cultures in Malaysia.
But our differences can wait and must wait in the face of the existential threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our commonalities as a Malaysian, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, must take pre-eminent position and our common priority must be to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic to assure a safe future for all Malaysians.