By Lim Kit Siang
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said that UMNO must reform or it would be reformed.
From recent events, it is crystal clear that Umno and Barisan Nasional are incapable of reform and must be reformed by the people effecting a change of federal government from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Rakyat in the next general elections.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the MIC President G. Palanivel as his second Indian Cabinet Minister implementing his notorious philosophy spelt out in the Sibu by-election of “Gua tolong lu, lu tolong gua” – when the duty of any responsible government must be to serve all needy Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political beliefs.
It is this cynical philosophy where essential public services are treated as a barter trade between the government and the people which is the root cause of the host of abuses of power and corruption afflicting the country destroying our national unity and international competitiveness.
This is one big difference between the Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya from the Najib government – no Cabinet appointments or government decisions or projects based on “Gua tolong lu, lu tolong gua” but strictly on the basis of merit or need.
This evening, the Prime Minister was put in a spot over his signature “1Malaysia” policy and slogan by a student at the 5th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit who asked Najib whether he was prepared to state he was Malaysian first and what he thought of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s infamous remark of being “Malay first and Malaysian next”.
I remember very vividly Muhyiddin’s reply as it was in response to my challenge to all Cabinet Ministers in Parliament in March last year to declare their stand whether they are Malaysians first and their religion, region and socio-economic status second to demonstrate their full allegiance to Najib’s 1Malaysia policy.
Najib dodged the student’s question on the ground that he did not want to give grounds for people to create divisions between him and his deputy.
This is a real cop-out, an evasion of the question which is even more significant than any direct answer as it revealed the total hollowness of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy – which has so far not gone beyond circus fanfare of 1Malaysia Tupperware, 1Malaysia T-shirt, 1Malaysia Burger, 1Malaysia Mineral Water and other gimmicry.
The real 1Malaysia was achieved on July 9 in the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections as the weeks of mainstream media demonisation and police threats as well as the unjustified lockdown of Kuala Lumpur did not prevent the phenomenon of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, gender or sex coming together as one Malaysian people in the common cause of a Bersih Malaysia!
Najib should be celebrating the Berish 1Malaysia coming of age on July 9, but instead he and his Cabinet Ministers have not let up in their groundless and irresponsible attacks on Bersih 2.0 and Malaysians who support the cause of a Clean Malaysia.
The next general elections could be very near and may be held as early as October/November and all Malaysians must grasp the possibility for the first time in nation’s history for change of power in Putrajaya.
Before the Sarawak state general elections, many have forecast that Najib may hold the 13th general elections before the Puasa month and could be in June or July.
However, after the poor Barisan Nasional performance in the April 16 Sarawak state polls, despite Barisan Nasional retaining its two-thirds majority in the state, talk of general elections veered to end of the year.
After the series of self-inflicted wounds following the gross mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally, including the mala fide detention of the PSM6 under Emergency Ordinance, UMNO and Barisan Nasional self-confidence suffered grievous blows pushing forecasts of the possible polls date for the next general elections to next year.
However, when Najib cut short his overseas trip after his most embarrassing visits to London, the Vatican, Rome and Paris – hounded by adverse international reactions to the high-handed government response to Bersih 2.0 rally – the possibility of polls being held in October or November has again returned to the fore.
Be that as it may, regardless of when the next polls are held, whether in October/November this year or next year, Malaysians must be aware that the next general elections is going to be the most important one in the nation’s history as it is within the power of the voters to decide whether there should be a change of the national government in Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Rakyat.
UMNO and Barisan Nasional are incapable of reform as they could only be reformed by the people voting for a new Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya.
It is only with a new government in Putrajaya that there can be major policy changes in the country, as for instance in resolving the long-standing grievances of taxi drivers in the country by implementing a “Permits for Taxi Drivers” policy.