The birds are chirping, does it herald a spring-time of freedom in Malaysia – but will it be snuffed out like the Arab Spring?

The birds are chirping, does it herald a spring-time of freedom in Malaysia – but will it be snuffed out like the Arab Spring?

These thoughts crossed my mind as I breathed a new air in the atmosphere.

There is less stuffiness but is it the air of greater freedom, a greater openness, a beginning of a reset of nation-building principles and policies as embedded in the Constitution and the Rukun Negara to make Malaysia a world-class great nation?

Can we look forward to less corruption and abuses of power, the rule of law, greater freedom and respect for human rights, lower prices, better pay, better public transport, good schools and universities – the makings of a world-class great nation?

It is still early to say.

But what is indisputable is that there is now light at the end of the tunnel when there was bleak despair and utter hopelessness.

It all began on August 23 when the Federal Court unanimously upheld the corruption conviction and sentence of 12 years’ jail and RM210 million fine of former Prime Minister Najib Razak – a rare feat, for it meant the unanimity of nine judges from the High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court on the issue.

It was followed a week later with the conviction of Rosmah Mansor on all three counts of corruption in connection with the RM1.25 billion Sarawak rural schools’ solar energy project and sentenced to 10 years in jail and a fine of RM970 million.

But powerful forces are at work to restore the atmosphere of bleak despair and utter hopelessness for Malaysians who want the country to become a world-class great nation.

Whether they will succeed will depend on whether Malaysians who aspire to see the country become a world-class great nation are long-distance runners.

But the shoots for a New Malaysia are beginning to come out.

I was surprised to read an editorial yesterday in the New Straits Times titled “Of Laws and men”, which admitted that “over the years. here in Malaysia, it has been a government of men, not laws”.

The NST Leader said:

“Men in power have led us astray. Trust has been betrayed. Not once, but repeatedly. But the question is: how do such men get there? Because errant men put them there. This begs a question: how did errant men get there? Because, because, because. You get the picture.

“However often we amend the Constitution, such lost souls will make their way to seats of power. It has become a systemic disease. True, we need cures. But we need prevention more.

“And the best way to ensure prevention succeeds is to begin at home and in schools. Yes, our society needs a moral quake. If there were a Richter scale equivalent, we would place it at near 10. That is how bad it is.”

I could not believe my eyes, for I have never read such a NST Leader throughout my life. This must be the first time that Najib is described as a “lost soul” in establishment media. And Richter scale for a “moral quake” that is near 10.

If only the other establishment newspaper Star could be the voice of reason and change instead of being the citadel of decadence, but I still see tiny shoots and some sign of hope when I read June Wong’s article “Why there is no saving Rosmah” although the article should appear in the Star rather than in Malaysiakini.

We are in a race against time – to reset and restore the nation-building principles and policies of the Constitution and the Rukun Negara or to rush head-long in the trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy, a rogue and a failed state as we have now Cabinet Ministers who do not accept the five nation-building principles of the Rukun Negara.

Malaysia. Quo Vadis.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri