THE 31-day eight-week parliamentary meeting is coming to an end with three weeks left, but there is no sign that Bersatu and PAS MPs are prepared to show a face of moderation, inclusivity, tolerance and integrity so that Malaysia can recover and be a world-class nation again.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim unity government has passed the first 100 days test, but Bersatu and PAS MPs have failed miserably.
Malaysians are still hoping that there would be institutional reforms and a reset of nation-building policies to unite Malaysians regardless of race or religion and to make Malaysia recover and again become a world-class nation, and the performances of the Bersatu and PAS MPs have reinforced their beliefs that it was a great blessing in disguise that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) had not formed the federal government after the 15th General Election (GE15).
Malaysia gained some breathing room with the formation of the Anwar’s unity government, and the speech of the 16th Yang di Pertuan Agong in his Royal Address at the opening of the 15th Parliament on Feb 13, 2023, resonates throughout the country when the Yang di Pertuan Agong said he hoped Anwar would be the last PM he would swear in before his five-year tenure ends next January.
Malaysians believed that the GE14 had ended the multi-billion ringgit 1MDB scandal, which had given Malaysia a global bad reputation as a kleptocracy, but they were shocked to learn that the Sheraton Move political conspiracy had ushered in a greater scandal, the Jana Wibawa scheme, which was launched in November 2020 in the name of assisting bumiputra contractors in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shock of the Jana Wibawa scandal is all the greater when understood in the context of a false emergency that was declared on Jan 11, 2021 and led to the suspension of Parliament to allegedly fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the emergency was declared, there were 2,232 daily new COVID-19 cases and four daily COVID-19 deaths. On the last day of the emergency on Aug 1, 2021, the daily new COVID-19 cases rose to 17,150 cases, an increase of more than eight times, and the daily COVID-19 deaths increased to 160 deaths, a fortyfold increase.
It would appear that the sole beneficiaries of the COVID-19 pandemic and the false emergency were the Bersatu and PAS leaders.
It is shocking that Bersatu and PAS MPs have defied the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s advice for political stability for Malaysia to recover and become again a world-class nation, and that they have also defied the calls of the Sultans to stop polarising race and religious relations in plural Malaysia by the divisive and toxic politics of lies, falsehoods and fake news, and to support anti-corruption efforts.
One of the best ways to end the divisive and toxic politics that have polarised race and religious relations is for PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang to retract in Parliament his preposterous allegation that the DAP was promoting Islamophobia, as he has not been able to substantiate his preposterous allegation against the DAP for the last four months.
But Hadi had done the opposite. He predicted the imminent collapse of the Anwar unity government, in open defiance of the advice of the royal family in Malaysia.
The final three weeks of the Parliamentary meeting will be a test as to whether the Bersatu and PAS MPs are prepared to show a face of moderation, inclusivity, tolerance, and integrity so that Malaysia can recover and be a world-class nation again with Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, re-uniting and stopping their suspicion and distrust of each other. — March 15, 2023
Retired DAP supremo and former Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, 82, has a colourful political career spanning 57 years.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.