We need leaders who will focus on reforms not divisive politics

They must have the capacity to make a difference, enhance national unity and tackle corruption

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Graphic: vonyaglobal.com

We are facing a political crisis and a leadership vacuum.

The Agong is wading through this minefield and doing his utmost to bring a resolution to the present crisis.

The roots of this crisis can be traced to the formation of a backdoor racially based government. In the end, after 18 months, they have backstabbed each other and we are back to square one, facing another crisis.

Nothing good will emerge from a government that was formed not based on principles but on expediency. It was money-centred and held together with positions and goodies. A motley group of politicians clung together as they sought power, position and money.

How can ordinary people, faced with such a situation, evaluate fairly and justly and hold those in the public space to the standards we expect? We have the Rukun Negara – a common document, a testament of hope, which applies to all – from the royalty to the ordinary people.   

If we look at each of the five principles in the charter against our goal of achieving national unity while evaluating the conduct of our politicians, we will be able to see great gaps. These decades-old politicians have held power and blocked renewal.

Belief in God

All the politicians in Mahiaddin Yasin’s government and those now in Ismail Sabri’s camp will probably wholeheartedly support this principle.

But what is the value of belief if it does not reflected in the conduct and behaviour of these politicians? Belief is the gateway to convictions and a commitment to God. What is the use of a belief if this is not reflected in the conduct of those who are supposed to be role models?

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Will those who sincerely believe in God break promises they have made to the voters? Are kleptocrats, corrupt politicians and those who break promises to hand over power people we can trust, let alone people who can gain the mercy of God?

Beliefs in themselves do not change the price of cheese. Beliefs are like pie cakes made to be broken. For some, it is OK if everyone is doing something wrong: it then becomes the norm. This exemplifies the character of those with weak ‘beliefs’.

Our leadership has been unable to translate their beliefs into convictions and commitment. What are the transcending values they stand for and champion? Is this justice, fairness, honesty and integrity? Or is this purely about race, religion and royalty?

The latter are identity issues. and it is because those who espouse them are not committed to significant values that they are so divided among themselves, whether they are in Bersatu, Umno or even Pas. They are all people of the same ethnicity and religion. They cannot blame the DAP for this failure on their part. They just lack character.

Loyalty to King and country

Those who have cheated the nation of billions of ringgit, those who have betrayed their own oath of office seem to be glamorised. It is as if what they have done has been so great for the nation.

Today, ironically, these same groups that speak about royalty are embarrassing the royalty and showing such disrespect.

How do we trust the Ismail Sabri group? It is old wine in new bottles. Two major groups have given them conditional support only.

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Supremacy of the Constitution

All these MPs take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. What is the value of their oath of office? Power has the capacity to obliterate and rationalise their convictions to such an extent that greed, self-interest and lust takes over. Education alone is not enough, for if it was, we would witness greater wisdom at play.

Rule of law

This is a principle under attack. When a prime minister says he has to resign because he cannot give in to “kleptocrats” who want him to compromise on issues of law, it reflects where we are today and the reality of the challenge we face.

We have instances of over 40 charges being dropped by the attorney general, which then led to the Sabah state election.

We have a senior Appeals Court judge who has been silenced because powerful forces were fearful of his testimony.

When the powers that be are corrupt, what can ordinary people do? We read about it, witness the happenings and lament about what is happening to our nation. The source of our corruption and the prevailing lack of trust lies with the executive.

A corrupt executive can infect both the judiciary and the legislature. We do not have towering Malaysians but warlords and selfish leaders who are just interested in power and self-enrichment. These are people who will use the Inland Revenue Department or the Registrar of Societies to further their cause. The civil service has become their tool.

Courtesy and morality

Do we see this exemplified by our politicians, who are supposed to be role models? We have one warlord who is still an MP who was charged with outraging the modesty of a young girl. He got away as the charges were dropped.

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There are cases after cases of embarrassment.      

Even nations that do not have so much religion in public life seem to have better standards than our county.

This is not to say that the opposition is in any way better. Nevertheless, the opposition is definitely better in that they seem to have a plan for the nation. Their cause is for reform and change rather than a focus on divisive politics based on race, religion and royalty.

One prays that the King would, in these difficult circumstances, provide leadership that ensures that the future of our nation is in the hands of people with the capacity to make a difference, attract foreign investments, enhance national unity and tackle corruption, which has reached pandemic levels.

Political warlords and ‘kleptocrats’ who embarrass the nation must be held accountable. This will make a difference.

Brand Malaysia has suffered enormously in the global arena, and we need a leader who has international visibility and the capacity to articulate a role both within Malaysia and abroad.

May our royalty be blessed in making the right decision at this critical stage.

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