The concept of a New Malaysia envisioned by Pakatan Harapan is nothing more than mere rhetoric as little has changed since it took over from BN, said Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
In a lengthy response to Lim Kit Siang today, Khaled said the DAP stalwart should retire from politics, as what is needed most to change the country goes beyond dubbing it a New Malaysia under Harapan rule.
"Just retire YB. Malaysia needs a revival. Malaysia thanks Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim and leaders of their generation for having contributed to shape Malaysian politics.
"But Malaysia is not always about all of you all the time. Malaysia is not about Mahathir's legacy or Anwar's ambitions.
"This country needs a younger generation to take over," he said, adding that there was no reason for Malaysia to continue relying on the leaders from Mahathir's era.
Amid declining confidence among its supporters, Lim noted last week calls for him to throw in the towel after five decades in politics.
“Shall I just forget about New Malaysia and call it quits?" he asked.
Lim (photo) said the spread of disinformation had led to misconceptions about DAP and Harapan, even among their long-standing supporters.
He added that only time will tell whether DAP and Harapan had betrayed the people's trust, and that he hoped to see a New Malaysia built on principles of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity.
Khaled, however, insisted there is nothing new in New Malaysia, as there is the same succession drama between Mahathir and Anwar, controversial projects and policies, politically-linked appointments to key institutions, and more loans taken on top of the high national debt.
"All of these are clear indicators that Malaysia Baru is an indefensible political gimmick," he said.
Khaled further shot down DAP's claims that "certain parties" have been fanning enmity among different ethnic groups.
"Who are those parties YB? Umno-PAS or Malaysiakini or Chinese papers? Or is it YB, your son (Lim Guan Eng) and your party?" he asked, adding that such claims run contrary to the real situation where Malaysians of all races and religion live in harmony.
As a whole, Khaled said, the average Malaysian does not recognise the concepts of an "old" or "new" Malaysia, as changing the government does not equate to changing the basic structures of a country.
"Let me remind you YB. What is new is not necessarily good, and what is old is not necessarily bad.
"This idea (that new is always good) is highly misguided and childish," said Khaled, who alleged that claims made against Umno-PAS were only done to cover-up the government's failures after slightly over a year in power.
Referencing Lim's poser on whether he should quit politics, Khaled summed up his response with a reminder.
"Remember YB, what Malaysia needs is more than just a name change.
"However, that is not something that you understand, let alone possess (the ability to do what is needed)."