We were born as an independent sovereign nation, a secular democratic state on 31 August 1957. In a week’s time we celebrate our 51st Hari Merdeka. Actually, there is very little to celebrate. After 51 years of Alliance/BN rule we have sunk low on all fronts as a nation. It is time to take stock and evaluate intelligently why as a nation we are going downhill in all fields of national endeavour, says our special correspondent, in this message to the voters of Permatang Pauh.
Despite the loyalty and patriotism displayed by the rakyat, the Umno-dominated government, despite its platitudes and pronouncements, has made a mockery of national unity, which is so crucial to our survival as a nation. After 8 March, Umno has unmasked itself and shown its true colours as a racist, Islamo-fascist party confirmed by its Ketuanan Melayu, Malay hegemony and Malay supremacy stance. Umno’s ideas of race supremacy and the importance of only one race seems to have been borrowed from defeated World War II western leaders. Their use of Islam apparently to deaden Malay intellect and rationality is what Karl Marx called “ the opiate of the people”. It is clear that the Malay rakyat must escape from the clutches of Umno, which for 50 years has exploited and manipulated them, to join other Malaysians to achieve national unity.
The economy is not doing well at all because of BN’s screwed-up policies. A rich nation rich in resources, a multi-talented population and an industrious labour force could have placed us well on the road to economic progress and development – but it was not to be. Lack of international confidence has placed us sixth among 10 Asean nations in attracting FDI. Indonesia and Vietnam have overtaken us. Umnoputras hijacked the NEP to enrich themselves and amass great wealth at the expense of the poor rakyat while the so-called half-past-six PM initiated unsound mega projects, which literally bankrupted the country. Over-priced public projects awarded to the Umnoputras and their cronies without any tender process enriched them and earned huge “commissions” for the decision-makers or their cronies.
The Umno-dominated BN government has been bad, thoroughly bad. Bad governance is everywhere to see – many political leaders at all levels are deemed to be corrupt, unethical and immoral; the civil service is perceived to be, and in many instances, corrupt and inefficient; sections of the police force are not only inefficient and allegedly corrupt but brutal on the rakyat. An armful of draconian laws is used to protect the powers-that-be and there is the scandal-ridden judiciary to provide additional umbrage.
There is a total lack of transparency and accountability in government. For example, Petronas accounts are not subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The privatisation of public utilities such as Telekom, PBA, Tenaga and Pos Malaysia has eroded the wealth of the nation. Some of these entities were grossly undervalued and sold to Umnoputras and their cronies for a pittance. Let me just quote an example – Telekom, a monopoly. Its shares were sold at RM4. When it was listed in the KLSE it went for RM14.50 a share – a clear profit of RM10 per share. We know where the 10 million shares allotted to MIC went. MCA was alloted 35 million and to whom did this go? Umno got 55 million and the Malay rakyat should find out to whom they went. Plus meanwhile is taking road-users for a ride with exorbitant tolls. The concession agreements are classified as official secrets and the rakyat will never know the terms.
The implementation of the NEP created golden opportunities for Umnoputras and their cronies to enrich themselves. The NEP was successfully hijacked by Umnoputras and their cronies who cleverly masqueraded as champions of bangsa and ugama, pulled wool over the eyes of the rural Malays, and exploited and manipulated them to amass great wealth in the name of the Malay community. They ravaged our dear land mercilessly through generous pink form share allocations, APs, generous business and taxi licences, over-priced public projects, and privatisation of public entities.
Voters of Permatang Pauh, indeed all Malaysians, must ask which Umno/BN cabinet minister, MB, CM, MP or State Assembly member is not rich. The relatives and family members of PMs became multi-millionaires. Some of them went into lucrative businesses apparently without knowledge and any business acumen. They took the profits; in many cases, when they failed taxpayers’ money was used to settle their debts! Some borrowed billions from the banks -which they did not repay. A half-past six PM conveniently got the banks to classify them as NPL (Non-Performing Loans). Bank Negara kept interest rates on savings very low to enable the banks to recover what was borrowed by the thieves. The banks could not recover the loans through litigation and the identities of the borrowers have been kept secret. Bank Negara’s annual report indicates a lump sum under NPL. It is the borrowers – real crooks – who did not perform! The losers – the rakyat.
One just needs to look at their lifestyles – their palatial mansions, some indecently standing out like sore thumbs in poor kampung neighbourhoods, their expensive cars, their designer clothes and the overseas holidays they enjoy for confirmation of their crimes. For far too long the rakyat has tolerated the indecent flaunting of wealth acquired at the rakyat’s expense. It is time to kick the whole bunch of them out. The income differential in the Malay community among all Asian communities is the widest. What better confirmation that the Malay rakyat has been mercilessly shortchanged than the Minister for Rural Development (once caught for smuggling currency) promising the rural Malays basic amenities by 2011! Can you believe that this was the same promise made to the same people during the first general election in 1959? Umno politics is seriously money politics and it has become part of the DNA make-up of Umnoputras. Those who hold high office at all levels of government have bought themselves into those positions. This cancer of corruption has spread perniciously into every level of the political, governmental and social fabric of society. The loss to the rakyat is incalculable. Because it is beneficial to those who walk the corridors of power, this cancer is permitted to fester but it will ultimately destroy the nation if no change is brought about.
The judiciary is in a mess, indeed it is a joke by any standards. The Lingamgate affair revealed the corruption within and the horrendous Executive manipulation of the judiciary. An independent judicial commission to appoint judges will not happen unless there is a change of government. The BN leaders realise that an independent judiciary will sound the death knell of many BN politicians from top to bottom.
This is another institution that is a great joke because of its ineffectiveness and selective persecutions. It is under the thumb of the Executive and has become a dreaded tool to be used against the opposition and against BN members who fall out of line. BN leaders such as Dr M, the currency smuggler, and compliant ex-chief judges are beyond the reach of the ACA. It has become another BN tool to intimidate and put fear in opponents and critics. If it becomes independent there would not be enough prisons to house these BN crooks!
The EC and its Chairman behave like imbeciles in asserting the powers granted to them under the Constitution to conduct free and fair elections. They have for a long time been allegedly manipulated to grant the BN unfair, indeed illegal, advantages be it gerrymandering, the use of non-transparent ballot boxes, mysterious postal ballots and the non-use of indelible ink to eliminate phantom voters.
The BN’s use of the police and now the army to ensure rule by law and not rule of law is frightening. The role of the Inspector-General and other top police officers in Sodomy I, which collapsed in court, is clear proof of this. Now we are witnessing the same thing in Sodomy II. A poor fellow was persuaded to do things like swearing on the Koran, which is haram in Islam! Dr M, who possessed a diabolical talent for apparently ruining the country and is now seen as a discredited and discarded politician, said that Malaysia has become a police state. For once he spoke the truth.
In what way is our police force different from those in other dictatorships that persecute political opponents and their supporters? The police in Malaysia – when they get a whiff of a protest, real or imagined, put up road-blocks hours in advance of the supposed protest, causing massive traffic jams, inconveniencing the rakyat and disrupting business. The opposition is then blamed for all these! Can you imagine putting a police and military ring round Parliament House? Is Malaysia a democracy or dictatorship?
They are supposed to maintain law and order and ensure equality of treatment under the laws. The brutality used on the ‘Bersih’ and ‘Hindraf’ peaceful protesters was appalling and it was there for the whole world to see. Their expertise appears to lie in the cruel use of tear gas and water-cannon on peaceful protesters and opposition supporters, not on crime prevention. The same expertise was not used on the many Umno-organised demonstrations or those organised by Muslim fanatics since 8 March. In the recent episode at the Bar Council forum, those who broke the law were escorted by the police to get the organisers to call off the forum – that was a real disgrace to our country.
Isn’t it a shame that those who tell the truth have to flee the country but those in high places who tell lies and are allegedly involved in all sorts of immoral and criminal activities such as groping a bar-girl live happily ever after. I appeal to the voters in Permatang Pauh to not only save the country from ruin but also heal the many wounds inflicted on it by a power crazy, corrupt and inefficient Umno-dominated BN government.
The education system is rotten to the core. “Education is an absolute disaster” and “racism runs deep” said Zaid Ibrahim, our law minister. The BN claims that our education system is advanced but the UN report on education indicated our low quality with a warning that compared to others around us we are bound to lose our competitiveness. Many children of our BN leaders are overseas, many on scholarship, thus robbing those who really need scholarships.
The education system has adversely affected Malaysians, especially the Malays. Umno has brainwashed many Malays into thinking that meritocracy is disadvantageous to them. Competition is discouraged. The behaviour of the UiTM students opposing a 10 per cent non-Malay student enrolment is proof of what Umno can do to destroy quality. The mere mention of the word “ meritocracy” sends Umnoputras into a paroxysm of fear. Under globalisation, we need to produce global professionals to ensure economic survival. The Malays will be left behind if they do not wake up to what Umno is doing to them.
Dear Permatang Pauh voters, there have been some important by-elections before but none as important as the one on 26 August. The Constitution has been amended about 600 times to take away the most precious provisions to ensure life, liberty, freedom and the rule of law. A vote for Pakatan Rakyat is a vote for change. Help the nation to reclaim its birthright – its inalienable rights destroyed by the Alliance/BN government over the last 51 years. A massive vote for Anwar will put this sad nation on the right path to unity, development and respectability among the proud community of nations.
In Greek history, there was the Oracle of Delphi which was consulted before anything of national importance was undertaken. The Oracle always equivocated and those who consulted it had to interpret the prognostication correctly. Failure to do so would result in disaster. A man decided to prove the Oracle wrong on the spot. He clutched a little bird in his fist with only its beak showing between his thumb and forefinger and asked the Oracle, “Is the bird dead or alive?” If the Oracle answered “Alive,” he would squeeze the bird dead; if the answer was “Dead” he would let the bird fly to prove it is wrong. The Oracle’s answer was, “The bird’s life is in your hands.”
Dear voters in Permatang Pauh, the life of the nation is in your hands. Never before and, I believe, never again will such a great honour, indeed such a great responsibility, be accorded to a single constituency to decide the political future of our nation. I hope and pray that the voters in Permatang Pauh will rise to the challenge and not let a hopeful nation down. A very huge vote for Anwar will be the best mandate for change.