Building a New Malaysia takes more than one election cycle

Lim Kit Siang

Modified 29 Jul 2019, 1:30 am

MP SPEAKS | If Pakatan Harapan loses the 15th general election, then it is kaput for a New Malaysia as a top world-class nation, as this is a mission that will take a decade or two– definitely more than one general election cycle

The Sarawak Harapan dinner is a historic event, even more so as we want it to achieve 'history-to-history' – to mark Harapan making history in the GE14, when we assumed federal power in Putrajaya, to making history in Sarawak by controlling Petrajaya in the 12th Sarawak election.

In the 12th Sarawak election, which must be held by the middle of 2021, Harapan must convince Sarawakian voters to join in the venture to create a New Sarawak in tandem with the federal promise to build a New Malaysia.

Last Friday, at the Malaysian Economic Symposium in Parliament, I said that 444 days after the historic peaceful and democratic change of government in Putrajaya – the first time in six decades – it is time for a major review of the Harapan manifesto and promise of a New Malaysia.

We have made the crucial and critical shift in GE14 from the trajectory of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, and are heading in a new direction, resetting nation-building policies to build a New Malaysia of unity, excellence, justice, freedom and integrity.

But there is no guarantee of success to reach the goal of a New Malaysia, for this is work of a decade or two, and we can always be hijacked and the nation-building direction diverted along the way.

There is no way that a New Malaysia can be achieved by 2023 in one general election cycle. I cannot overemphasise that the mission for a New Malaysia can be blocked, diverted or sabotaged before its accomplishment. 

What we are attempting is not a 'revolution' where we can chop off the heads of those in the old regime and build a new administration with 'revolutionaries'.

This is not the way of democracy, where there is a clear distinction between the political leadership and the government administration, requiring the new government to bring along the old administration to effect the transition, reforms and changes in the country.

To use another analogy, we are trying to scale the mountain of a New Malaysia, whether Mount Murud, Mount Kinabalu, or even Mount Everest, but we want to reach the top of the mountain of a New Malaysia – to become a top world-class nation of unity, excellence, freedom, justice and integrity, while the advocates of 'klepto-theocracy' want Malaysia to slide down the slippery slope to the ravine of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state.

Those opposed to a New Malaysia had earlier nursed illusions that the four-party coalition in Harapan will disintegrate or implode in a matter of months. 

And when the first anniversary of the Harapan government passed without mishap, the time-span was increased to a half-term.

The latest indication is that these prophets of doom for Harapan have come to accept that the Harapan government is likely to serve its full term and the attention has shifted to how best to exploit the internal Harapan contradictions and divisions.

Malaysia will head back to a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state if the coalition of klepto-theocracy – which strives on the misuse of Islam to peddle lies, falsehoods, distrust, suspicion, hatred and which supports thievery and corruption – gains the upper-hand in the Malaysian landscape.

We have made a good start in the last 14 months to build a New Malaysia, but we must acknowledge widespread disappointment and disillusionment of the people that nothing much has changed or that more reforms could have been instituted.

Let us be frank with the people and admit if we have promised the impossible. I believe Malaysians will appreciate our frankness with their support and confidence largely intact.

I believe Malaysians want to share in the scaling of the mountain of a New Malaysia instead sliding down the slippery slope to the ravine of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state.

I will give one example. One of our objectives is to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity in the world. 

By this, I mean Malaysia must be able to occupy the top 30 places in the annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) instead of oscillating between 50th and 62nd under the premiership of Najib Abdul Razak.

Malaysia will not be able to improve on its TI CPI ranking to within the first 30 nations by the next general election in 2023, but I expect annual improvements every year leading to the target, hopefully before the 16th general election in 2028.

I may not be around to see Malaysia achieve this goal, but it is worth struggling for and achieving – and will be a hallmark of the New Malaysia we want to build.

Malaysia is set for a sea-change in the battle against corruption under the Harapan government, which will be impossible under a government which had previously brought Malaysia to the international infamy, ignominy and iniquity of a global kleptocracy because of the 1MDB scandal.

Our challenge is to invite the people to continue to build a New Malaysia and a New Sarawak and to join us in this sacred mission.

Let us invite all Sarawakians and Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, to join in this great venture to scale the mountain of a New Malaysia and a New Sarawak of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity so that we do not fall back down the slippery slope to the ravine of a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state and mortgage the future of generations to come.

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.

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