Malaysia can only be a world-class great nation if Malaysians have a Malaysian Dream and not a Malay Dream, Chinese Dream, Indian Dream, Kadazan Dream or Dayak Dream

I thank Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datin Seri Wan Azizah for the generosity and friendship in organising this dinner and MPs and Selangor Legislative Assembly members for their solidarity and support in attending this dinner on my political retirement

I have just returned from Kampong Bakuku in Sabah and I would not be surprised if you have not heard of this kampong, as I was not aware of it until I visited it in Tenom near the Sabah/Sarawak border yesterday, for Impian Malaysia is having a three-day medical camp for the villagers in the surrounding kampongs.

When I announced my political retirement at the DAP congress on March 20, it was a retirement from party elections and leadership, parliamentary and state assembly elections, and my visit to Kampong Bakuku should testify that it was not a total retirement from politics.

I do not think it is possible to retire from politics as politics influence every aspect of our life and the global scene.

When over half a century ago, I plunged into political involvement, it was driven by an idealism for a better Malaysia where there is national harmony and unity, justice, equality and good governance laying the basis for Malaysia to become a world-class great nation.

It was only later that I learnt that this involved party politics, parliamentary and state assembly participation, the formation of state and national government, etc.

It has been a long journey for the mission for unity, justice and a better Malaysia for 57 years and I am grateful for the friendship and comradeship I had been privileged to enjoy and share in this journey. Many comrades are no more with us – like Karpal Singh, P. Patto, Peter Dason ,Ahmad Nor, Ibrahim Singgeh, Fan Yew Teng, Chian Heng Hai, Chan Kok Kit, and many others.

But their sacrifices, memory and spirit must commit us to continue in this sacred and noble mission for unity, justice and a better Malaysia.

We are going through stirring times. Four years ago in 2018, an impossible event occurred – the 14th General Election which toppled a seemingly invincible and corrupt UMNO hegemon.

But the high hopes for a New Malaysia were destroyed by the Sheraton Move conspiracy after 22 months, and the Pakatan Harapan Government was unable to fulfil its election pledges meant for a five year tenure.

Malaysia were reminded that the Malaysian Dream for a united, democratic, just world-class great Malaysia is a long-term struggle, with many ups and downs, gains and losses, but we must remain constant in our objectives and never compromise our principles and ideals.

We represent the hopes and aspirations of Malaysians who want Malaysia to stand tall in the world because of our achievements in various fields of human endeavour and for our ability to leverage on the best values and virtues of the diverse races, religions, cultures and civilisations that meet in confluence in Malaysia, not to be scorned or belittled in the international community of nations because we are on the trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state.

Recently, it was said that the Chinese should not be afraid being ruled by Malay parties. This provoked a retort that the Malays should not be afraid of being ruled by Chinese Ministers.

But what concerned me was why we are not talking about Malaysians, of whatever race or religion, should not be afraid of being ruled by Malaysians!

There seems to be a fallacy that to be Malaysian, we must give up our ethnic and cultural identities, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak.

Why is this so? I submit that this is one of the greatest fallacies of our time.

A Malaysian is not a lost or deculturated Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak but a common identity and consciousness superadded on the diverse ethnic, religious and cultural identities to be found in Malaysia.

Despite the February 2020 Sheraton Move conspiracy which ousted the democratic mandate of the voters in 2018 General Election, the country is still in search of a political equilibrium and stability that can fulfil Malaysia’s aspiration to be a world-class great nation.

There is talk today of a meeting of political leaders to establish this political equilibrium and stability because they are in search of “Malay unity”.

After more than half a century of Malaysian nationhood, when will all political leaders realise that what is missing to make Malaysia a world-class great nation is not “Malay unity” but “Malaysian unity”?

The missing “Malaysian unity” created the first Malaysian Diaspora, where more than a million of the best and brightest Malaysians regardless of race or religion migrated overseas.

Do we want to create a second Malaysian Diaspora, which had been prevented by the more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Malaysia can only be a world-class great nation if Malaysians have a Malaysian Dream and not a Malay Dream, Chinese Dream, Indian Dream, Kadazan Dream or Dayak Dream

This is the challenge of the present Malaysian political leaders - how can we rekindle, re-inspire, re-energize and re-motivate hope and inspiration in the Malaysian Dream for the country to be a world-class great nation by ensuring that the 15th General Election fulfil the high but dashed hopes of the 14th General Election for reform and salvation?

How do we restore the hope and the inspiration in the 14th General Election when Malaysians at home and abroad made the superhuman effort to ensure that their every vote counted and stood tall in the world by performing the political miracle of effecting a peaceful and democratic transition of power for the first time in six decades?

There is frustration, disappointment and even despair in the land.

Has Malaysia reached the terminal stage where the future is only kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state?

I do not think so.

So long as Malaysians do not believe the siren song that any race or religion is facing extinction, as there is no race or religion in Malaysia’s plural society which wants to eliminate another race or religion, and Malaysians regardless of race or religion can focus on the shared middle ground of making Malaysia a world-class great nation which delivers a better quality of life in education, economics, public health, housing and environment to all Malaysians, then the Malaysian Dream is still relevant and pertinent.

In pursuit of the Malaysian Dream for Malaysia to be a world-class great nation, the first principle is to recognise that Malaysia is falling behind more and more countries in excellence, meritocracy, good governance and competitiveness.

We have regressed in our quest to become a world-class great nation, including a country with the competitive edge over other nations in being able to draw foreign investments for the economic growth and prosperity, which is all the more important after the economic ravages of the two-year Covid-19 pandemic.

We must learn from our mistakes that prevent Malaysia from becoming a world-class great nation, whether in ensuring public trust and confidence, good and democratic governance, infrastructure investment or human capital development.

In the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 in September 2012, Malaysia aimed to become a “wonder nation” and make the quantum jump from the bottom third to top third of 2021 PISA (Programme for International Assessment) tests of OECD.

But this had been a dismal failure, for instead of leaping into the top third of the PISA tests, Malaysia’s 2018 PISA results had been worse than the 2015 PISA results in all the three subjects of maths, science and reading and we are still far from the top third among the 80 PISA participating countries.

Since 1970, the GDP of Malaysia has increased 90 times but Indonesia has increased by 108 times, Vietnam 122 times, Singapore 177 times and South Korea 183 times.

After the past 50 years, both Singapore and Vietnam have overtaken Malaysia in having larger GDPs.

The time has come to sound the bugle call for all Malaysians to realise that we are losing out to more and more countries in creating a world-class great nation and a workforce with technology know-how, political maturity and stability, racial harmony, the rule of law, control of corruption and good governance — and that there must be new spurt of national energies to make Malaysia great again if we are not to be relegated to the backwaters of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state!

Can we return to the days when we can uphold the Malaysian Constitution and the five Rukun Negara principles to achieve a world-class great nation — as we have now Ministers who have dubious positions on the Constitution and the Rukun Negara?

This is the challenge of the present Malaysian political leaders. I wish you all the best.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri