I want to express my appreciation to PKR and YB Sivarasa Rasiah for initially inviting me to speak at a ceramah in Sungei Buloh that was scheduled for 8 April 2018. However, I have just been told—four days before the event—that the invitation has been withdrawn. Apparently, there are some who believe that I will not be appealing enough to the largely Malay crowd. I am both perplexed and disappointed, but I accept the decision. I told Sivarasa not to feel bad and that there was no need to get me a replacement venue.
If, however, I had been given the opportunity to speak, this is what I would have said:
The Prime Minister wants new electoral boundaries for this 14th General Election. He thinks this manoeuvre will save him at the polls by herding pro-Opposition voters into fewer seats and giving pro-Barisan Nasional voters a stronger voice. But the truth is that all these new boundaries, which Parliament passed so hurriedly without any meaningful debate, cannot save this PM.
In Sabah, he increased the number of state seats to 73 by creating 13 additional state constituencies, for which he had to change the state constitution and pass new state laws. Yet after going through all that trouble, he developed cold feet. He became worried that the new state seats would go to the Opposition instead, so the seats were excluded from the Election Commission Report. By law, Sabah must now have 73 seats but the EC will leave the 13 new seats vacant to save the Prime Minister and the BN.
It’s a big mess over there, but what is clear is that new constituency boundaries will not save the BN—not even in the Peninsula. The PM is now in panic mode. He thought that putting Malays together in smaller clusters would benefit the BN. But just as in Sabah, new boundaries will not make a difference. Malays and all other communities are just tired of the BN. This is why the Prime Minister has given himself the title of “Bugis warrior” and dresses like a mahaguru silat. This is why he is issuing warnings and threats regularly to all those who are against him, including those referring to the internal rebellion that is brewing in the BN.
He no longer behaves like a Prime Minister normally would before an election. He is making too many unbelievable promises, like offering allocations of a few billion ringgit here and there. But these are falling on deaf ears. Malaysians are tired of all the promises, many of which are broken, and they are just waiting to put the Pakatan Harapan in power.
The BN propaganda machine will up the ante and redouble its efforts to spread fear amongst Malays that without UMNO, the Chinese-majority DAP will take over the country. UMNO has been saying all along that although DAP has fewer than 40 seats—which comprises less than 15 percent of Parliamentary seats—DAP will somehow control the Malay leaders in the Opposition and dictate policy. All you have to do is see the group of Malay leaders in the Pakatan for yourself, and you will know instantly that the fears UMNO has been stoking are baseless. The Pakatan’s leaders are of high caliber, and they have proven their mettle at the national level.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is well known for being a one-time UMNO rebel who was sacked by Tunku because he wanted more to be done to help Malays in the 1960s. During his own 22 years as Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir did more to bring Malays and Malaysia into the modern world than anyone else, although our current PM Dato’ Sri Najib Razak has been working hard to belittle Tun and diminish his legacy. Does it make sense to you that Tun Dr Mahathir, who has championed Malays for decades, would suddenly abandon them just because he is now working with Kit Siang and DAP? Of course not.
Look at Anwar Ibrahim—he has fought for the rights of the poor since he was a student, especially the poverty-stricken Malays in Baling and other areas. Since his ABIM days, he has also worked hard to defend Islam with his progressive ideas. Do you think Anwar Ibrahim will abandon Islam and the Malays because DAP is his partner in throwing out the BN? Surely not.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is an experienced leader, and many see him as the man who helped to build Johor into the successful and prosperous state that it is today. It’s impossible to believe that he too would be susceptible to undue pressure from DAP or the larger Chinese community to implement any actions that would be harmful to Malay interests.
Selangor has been under Azmin Ali’s leadership for some years now, and many quarters praise his competent handling of the state’s matters of administration. I don’t see him being dragged along by DAP to implement policies and decisions that are against Malay interests either.
I therefore hope that Malay voters in the coming election will choose wisely. Do not be easily swayed by leaders who give you things. Leaders who give out freebies and lots of cash are probably the ones who stole it from somewhere else. Those who are unduly generous with you are probably the ones who hijacked government projects for themselves, to the detriment of the rakyat.
Ultimately, nothing comes for free. The price you pay for accepting these gifts is hidden but very real, and comes in the form of more years of incompetent and dishonest leadership. Choose leaders who will be fair to all, and not only to their own group. Malays should only be fearful of leaders who are dishonest, and who tell lies.