Redeem our people

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Speech (translated from Kelantanese Malay) to 300 Kelantan Pakatan Harapan party workers

Kota Bharu, 20 March 2018

I am glad that all of you have accepted my invitation to come to my house and sample some delicious gulai kawah and other delicacies. The battle for the future of our country has begun, and we need all our energy and strength to fight UMNO and the Barisan Nasional in this coming election. We also have to fight with Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib’s supporters, the ones who call themselves PAS.

My first suggestion to you is to be in constant contact with postal voters. This is a large group and they are said to make up the core of BN/UMNO supporters because they are afraid to vote for the Opposition. The category of persons who are eligible to be postal voters has grown bigger. Army and the Police personnel have traditionally been postal voters, but now so are nurses, firemen and RELA volunteers.

More than 400,000 postal voters will determine the outcome of many constituencies. In the past, they usually voted for the BN. You have to be in contact with them as they receive their ballot papers before other voters do. This is when many people will try to pressure them to vote for UMNO. Some will be offered cash to do so. Tell them that UMNO will not be able to tell if they vote for the Opposition. UMNO only threatens them. Their bosses will not know how they vote, so their pensions are safe. Tell them to use their vote to save the country.

This election is not just about removing the PM, or having a better government and a better set of policies. This election is not just about trying to stop the Government from sending people who criticize them to jail. This election is also about the Malays, about Islam, about who we are and the values we live by.

When people — including foreigners — talk about Malaysia, they know that Malays govern this country. Other ethnic groups are not well represented in the public sector. The top leaders — whether political or hereditary — are Malays. Malays in the civil service carry out all major decisions in the country. They teach and administer at our schools and universities. The Registrar of Societies is a Malay. Our top judges are Malays. Our army and Police are all manned by Malays.

This is, in essence, a Malay country. Everything about Malaysia is about the Malays. If the world mocks us, that means they are mocking Malays. If the world thinks our administrators are slaves to Najib, then they are saying Malays are slaves. This General Election is about Malays, and the results will show everyone who we really are.

This UMNO Government and the Prime Minister have successfully distorted the image of Malays who run the country. Previously, we were known as a gentle people with manners (adat resam). We were seen as polite and accommodating, trustworthy and honourable. But Najib has succeeded in changing the Malay characteristics. He now makes us look fraudulent, cruel, biased, cowardly, incompetent, scared and stupid.

The whole world keeps asking: “What has gone wrong with Malaysia?” In other words, they are asking what has gone wrong with Malays. How do we respond to this? The world wants to know why the Inspector-General of Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission see nothing wrong with 1MDB. They ask what law we apply when the Attorney-General says the Prime Minister has done nothing wrong. The world wants to know why our judges are not willing to listen to countless claims and complaints about 1MDB. The world is laughing at our Speaker of the House for not understanding what sub judice is, and using that term as grounds for refusing to let Parliamentarians ask questions about 1MDB. The world wants to know why Bersatu, a political party opposed to UMNO, has to be deregistered.

The leaders of UMNO think they can cover up all these wrongdoings by describing reports of them as fake news. They think Malays are cowards and will follow whatever they tell them to do. They think the world will not know about our Prime Minister if Utusan Malaysia and Media Prima outlets block all the news. They foolishly think that the world does not know or care about the truth.

The world also knows us as a Muslim country. The Prime Minister likes to say that we are shariah-compliant. That means everything we do must be “Islamic”, yet he is the one who has given Islam a bad name. Islam does not allow leaders to tell lies. Islam does not allow decision-makers to be unfair in their actions. Islam does not allow the Police to close one eye. Islam does not tolerate corruption. Islam does not allow civil servants to be slaves of UMNO.

Our sacred duty in this coming election is to redeem the face of Malays. We must uphold the dignity and honour of our people and our religion in the eyes of the world. Our greatest poet and writer Usman Awang wrote the following verses to remind us of this:

Ibuku (1984)

O ibuku sayang
Di negerimu kau menumpang.
Sesekali kudengar kau menyanyi
Pantun tradisi caranya sendiri:

Siakap senohong,
Gelama ikan duri,
Bercakap bohong,
Tak Boleh jadi Mentri

O my beloved mother
In your land you subsist.
At times I hear you sing
The traditional pantun, in your own way:

The sea-perch, threadfin,
Croaker, catfish,
He who lies
Can’t be a Minister

Jiwa hamba (1949)

Kalau hidup ingin merdeka
takkan tercapai hanya berkata
ke muka maju sekata, maju kita
melemparkan jauh jiwa hamba.

If you wish to live free
Words alone will not suffice.
[But] press on, united; we will prosper,
Casting away the enslaved soul.

Mereka telah bangkit (1967)

Mereka telah bersuara
dari bumi tanah air yang subur
demi Islam yang mengajar hidup berani
demi janji yang kini telah dimungkiri.

Mereka sekarang telah bangkit
Ditengah-tengah gelombang zaman
Dari keperibadian yang telah tertindas
Untuk masa depan warisan keturunan.

They have spoken
From the fertile soil of their motherland
For an Islam that teaches courage
For promises now broken

Now they have risen
Amidst the waves of the age,
From lives once oppressed,
For the future of their descendants

We have a sacred mission, and I know you will do your best for the people of Malaysia. Let us be brave and discard the slave mentality. Let us restore the pride and dignity of our people and country. The world will then look more kindly and respectfully upon us.

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