Although I have retired from front-line politics after 57 years, I will continue with the political struggle to make Malaysia a great world-class plural nation by Malaysia’s Centennial in another four decades starting with making Anwar Ibrahim the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia

I was in Ipoh Convention Centre on Thursday night because I support the Pakatan Harapan objective to make Anwar Ibrahim the tenth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The greatest challenge in the 15th General Election is whether Pakatan Harapan can succeed in making Anwar Ibrahim the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

I call on the voters of Malaysia, inside the country and in the Malaysian Diaspora worldwide, to single-mindedly unite with this one objective in mind. Our new slogan is: “Kita Boleh!”

In the 14th General Election in 2018, I campaigned all over the country for Pakatan Harapan to topple the UMNO-Barisan Nasional political hegemony in the country and I was hardly in the parliamentary constituency of Iskandar Puteri that I was contesting.

But I want to be frank today. If you had asked me on the morning of Poling Day of the 14GE on May 9, 2018 whether Pakatan Harapan would topple the 61-year UMNO-led government on that day, I would say “No”.

Even Najib Razak, the Prime Minister at the time, was convinced until the close of polling that UMNO was not only certain of victory in the 14GE, but of a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

To make Anwar Ibrahim the tenth Prime Minister of Malaysia is a tall order – equally or probably harder than toppling the UMNO-BN political hegemony in the 14GE.

But if the Malaysian voters can perform a “political miracle” in the 14GE, they can perform another “political miracle” in the 15GE on November 19, 2022.

Although I have retired from front-line politics after 57 years, I will continue with the political struggle to make Malaysia a great world-class plural nation by Malaysia’s Centennial in another four decades starting with making Anwar Ibrahim the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Malaysia must face the challenges of the nation to achieve our Malaysian Dream to be, in Bapa Malaysia Tuntku Abdul Rahman’s words, “a beacon of light for a disturbed and distracted world”.

The first challenge was accomplished on May 9, 2018 when we surprised the world that Malaysians can undergo a peaceful and democratic transition of power.

But we failed in the second challenge – to prove to the world that we can transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity acknowledged and lauded by the international community and that the 14GE will result in greater freedom, more democracy, good governance and a better life for all Malaysians – an inspiration to other struggling democracies and democrats all over the world.

After 22 months, the Sheraton Movement political conspiracy toppled the constitutional, legal and democratic Pakatan Harapan government.

The 15GE will decide whether we continue with the high hopes and aspirations of a Malaysian Dream for a New Malaysia on 9th May 2018, or we return to trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and become a failed state in the next few decades.

After six decades of increasing darkness, we were naïve in our belief that we can undo in five years what had happened in six decades.

We are committed to the parliamentary and the democratic process to win the hearts and minds of the people, not by chopping of heads as in a revolution.

The “political miracle” of May 9, 2018, however, is not a complete failure – or Najib today will not be in jail.

But we must continue with our efforts to realise our Malaysian Dream by a reset and return to the original nation-building principles and policies as set out in the Constitution and the Rukun Negara – constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, rule of law, good governance, public integrity, meritocracy, respect for human rights and national unity of our multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural diversity where there are no first-class and second-class citizens whether based on race, religion or region.

All Malaysians must ask two questions in the 15GE: Firstly, Is Malaysia worth saving. Secondly, can Malaysia be saved.

Malaysians must speak loud and clear in the 15GE that they do not want Malaysia to become a global kleptocracy.

UMNO President, Zahid Hamidi, wants to turn the 15th General Election into a battle to ensure that UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders are not charged in court for corruption and sent to jail – not a regeneration of Malaysia to become “a beacon of light to a difficult and distracted world”.

Malaysia has not reached the stage of a totally broken, divided and failed nation although we have fallen considerably from our expectations of a world-class great plural nation.

We must recognise that Malaysia is in deep trouble, reflected from the value of our Malaysian ringgit, when we were one Malaysian Ringgit to one Singapore dollar 57 years ago which has devalued to one Singapore Dollar to 3.3 Malaysian Ringgit.

But Malaysia is still “save-able” and worth saving.

Malaysia is at the confluence of the four great civilisations in the world – Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western.

Can Malaysia leverage on the best values and virtues of these four great civilisations to make Malaysia “a beacon of light in the difficult and distracted world”.

The DAP got the government to give up the assimilation policy where the lion dance was regarded as “unMalaysian” and accept the integration policy, and the existence of Chinese primary and secondary schools

But in the last few decades, we have taken the wrong turn in nation-building and deviated from the original nation-building principles and policies embedded in the Constitution and the Rukun Negara, to the extent that we have Ministers who do not accept these nation-building principles and the Rukun Negara.

Malaysia cannot become a “beacon of light to a difficult and distracted world” unless we eliminate the growing darkness in Malaysia – a sick economy losing out to more and more states in the last six decades (Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Vietnam) and to many more nations in future; crippling national and political paralysis with the betrayal of the original nation-building principles of a plural society and the worsening of breach of trust, abuse of power and rampant corruption until Malaysia is known as “kleptocracy at its worst” on the world stage with Malaysia likely to lose out to China, India and Indonesia in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index if we do not buck up in the battle against corruption.

This is what we must do in the 15GE.

The Malaysian voters must play the role of Justice Pao and light up the darkness in Malaysian national life, starting by ensuring that Anwar Ibrahim is the 10th Prime Minister – but the process of regenerating Malaysia to be a great world-class plural nation is a work of decades, and not by just five years in one general election, and it will not be accomplished by Anwar, but must be continued by a new generation of Malaysian leaders committed to “Malaysian First” ideology.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Veteran