MP SPEAKS | The country seems to be overwhelmed by a multitude of problems, which raise the question of whether the vision of 'New Malaysia' has any relevance to the future of Malaysia.
But I think otherwise, as I believe that this vision, which resulted in the historic decision of May 9, must continue to inspire and unite Malaysians, despite the multitude of problems haunting and hounding the country after six decades of Umno/BN rule.
In the past week, problems piled up, some of which seemed to concern only one particular community or religious group, but actually concern all Malaysians and all religious groups.
This includes the ratification of the International Covenant for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), which has been distorted to mean a grave threat and assault on the rights and interests of the Malays, Islam and the Malay rulers.
This is untrue, as 179 countries, which include 99 percent of the world’s 1.9 billion Muslims, have ratified Icerd – including 55 of the 57 countries in the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). In the past half a century, no community or religion had suffered as a result of such ratification.
Apart from Malaysia and Brunei, 36 of the 38 countries with monarchical systems have ratified Icerd, and none of these countries has abolished the monarchical system as a result of ratification.
If Icerd represents such a grave assault on the rights and interests of the Malays, Islam and the Malay rulers, I myself would not support it, and all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region would oppose it.
Why can’t the practitioners of toxic politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion stop inciting raw emotions and primordial fears, even issuing threats of Malays running amok and “rindu May 13 (longing for the May 13 riots)" and instead, engage in a rational national debate to show proof that the United Nations treaty is really such a threat?
The Seafield temple riots – which are criminal acts and not a racial or religious conflict – concerns not just Indian Malaysians or Hindus, but all Malaysians, as there can be no 'New Malaysia' without the restoration of the rule of law and the enjoyment of freedom of religion as guaranteed in the Federal Constitution.
There is also the long-running daily saga and disaster of the 1MDB scandal, as represented by a few of the following headlines which had dominated the news in the past six days:
All these issues have one common factor – they are a test of the 'New Malaysia' vision struggling to be born after the May 9 polls, which gave Malaysians an opportunity to save the country and reset nation-building policies after six decades.
Malaysians want a 'New Malaysia' which is united, democratic, just, progressive and prosperous, a top class nation which is capable of leveraging on the best of the diversity of cultures and languages so as to gain international respect and admiration as a nation which leads the world in integrity, and not scorned as a global kleptocracy, hurtling towards a failed state.
Let all Malaysians turn the multiple crises in nation building presently haunting the country into opportunities to build a 'New Malaysia' where all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, politics or region, can feel proud to be citizens.
LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.