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MP SPEAKS | Malaysia needs a 'reset' to halt its descent into a failed state

MP SPEAKS | Bloomberg two days ago carried an article entitled: “Malaysia is staggering down the road to failed statehood”.

I agree. Malaysia is not yet a failed state but it is on the trajectory of becoming one, and Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, must unite to save Malaysia from the fate of a failed state.

Malaysia has failed to live up to the promises of Merdeka in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963 for the country to be an example and showcase to the troubled world how diverse races, languages, religions, cultures and civilisations could successfully coexist and integrate to build a united, harmonious, purposive, democratic, just, progressive and prosperous nation - a top world-class nation.

Malaysia has become one of the worst-performing nations in the world in the 18-month long Covid-19 pandemic, overtaking in less than eight months over 50 countries having the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases - rising from the 85th rank in November last year to the 33rd rank today.

Previous worst-performing nations like China, United States, India, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Iran have turned the corner and seen light at the end of the tunnel, considerably reducing their Covid-19 cases (India fell by 90 percent, US by 95 percent and China by 99.8 percent from their respective peaks) and Covid-19 deaths (India fell by 82 percent, US by 97 percent and China by 99 percent from their respective peaks), while Malaysia has just set a new daily peak of 9,353 cases yesterday and the death toll broke the 6,000-mark.

From the present rate of Covid-19 infection, Malaysia will be ranked among the 30 worst countries in the world in the Covid-19 pandemic, having more than a million cases and over 10,000 Covid-19 deaths by the time we celebrate our 64th National Day on Aug 31 and 58th Malaysia Day on Sept 16, 2021.

I call for a “Malaysia Reset” Roundtable of the political and civil society on the occasion of the anniversaries of the 64th National Day/58th Malaysia Day on Aug 31/Sept 15 to save Malaysia from the fate of a failed state.

The “Malaysia Reset” Roundtable Conference should, among others, pursue the following objectives:

  1. Reaffirm Malaysia as a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy.

  2. Uphold the five nation-building principles of Rukun Negara.

  3. Make Malaysia a normal democratic country.

  4. Restore Parliament as the highest legislative and political chamber in the land, in accordance with the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers among the executive, legislature and judiciary.

  5. Uphold the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the judiciary.

  6. Ensure an independent, non-partisan, professional and efficient Election Commission.

  7. War against corruption, cronyism and abuses of power.

  8. Malaysia should become a country where the talents and expertise of all Malaysians can find fulfilment so that the nation realises the full potential in its development in all spheres of human endeavour.

  9. The fulfilment of aspirations of the people of Sabah and Sarawak for an equal place under the Malaysian sun, as spelt out in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.

  10. A national unity mission and goal to unite all Malaysians e.g. a united and progressive Malaysian nation in 2050.

Seventy years ago in 1951, Umno founder Onn Jaafar was told that he was “too ahead of the times” when his proposal to open the party’s doors to non-Malays and end race-based communalist politics was rejected. He subsequently quit Umno.

Fifty-five years ago, on March 18, 1966, DAP was told that we were “too ahead of the times” when we formed a political party dedicated towards the goal of a democratic, prosperous and just Malaysia for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.

Thirty-four years ago, in December 1987, a top police official visited me when I was held in solitary confinement for 60 days under the Internal Security Act, for the second time, as part of Ops Lalang. I was told that I would be formally detained and be sent to Kamunting Detention Centre because the DAP was “too ahead of the times”, although DAP’s principles and policies are right and good for the country - but it might take another generation for them to become generally acceptable.

This is 2021, 64 years after Merdeka in 1957 and 58 years after the formation of Malaysia - after three generations of Malaysians.

Are we still “too ahead of the times” to expect Malaysians to think of themselves as Malaysian first, and their other ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic and regional identities second?

A “Malaysia Reset” is imperative but such a “Malaysia Reset” is only possible if two conditions are met:

1. Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics reach a consensus to strive to achieve Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman’s aspiration for Malaysia to be “a beacon of light in a difficult and distracted world”; and

2. For Malaysians to stop thinking of themselves merely as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Orang Asli but to start thinking of themselves as Malaysians.

LIM KIT SIANG is Iskandar Puteri MP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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