“My heartfelt congratulations to Tan Sri Kit”

THERE were three things that I thought I would never see before I die. The first was that I never thought I would live to see the day that Pakatan Harapan (PH) would win in a general election. But I did, Alhamdulillah!

Secondly, I was pretty sure that I would never live to see the day Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim become the Prime Minister of Malaysia and have his face up on the walls of government buildings. But I have, all praises to God.

Thirdly, I would bet anything that if I lived three life times that I would never see the title Tan Sri or anything else for that matter before the name Lim Kit Siang. But I did see it on YouTube, miracle of miracles!

With half a century of commitment to politics of Malaysia-ness and Malaysia, Kit Siang was never a minister or appointed to any office at all. He was the pure Wakil Kepada Rakyat. I really do not know what to make of Malaysia.

Maybe there is hope after all for this “almost God forsaken country”. When the issue for decades has been God, I was pretty sure God was fed up with Malaysia and politicians making use of His name for petty gains in this world.

Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang (right) with daughter and Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying

But I guess God still likes Malaysia … apparently! I am used to calling the great Malaysian, Kit, and even though he is much senior than I am, his youthful appearance eclipses my 61-year-old fast-aging self.

In this article, I wish to dwell on the meaning of these three things that I thought would never come to pass. For PH to win, there was a 46% chance. For Anwar to become PM, there was a 3% chance, and for Kit Siang to be called Tan Sri … you must be joking-lah!

Wind of change

This is Melayu Malaysia under UMNO. But hold on, UMNO lost its shirt and now has to find a new one to wear and that will make Malaysia become something new. Hopefully PN (Perikatan Nasional) will not spoil this series of good luck.

Firstly, the conferment of the title speaks volumes not only of the position of the unity government, it also speaks much about the personality of His Majesty Sultan Abdullah. Our Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) is a God-sent being … after this country has endured the racist supremacy under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Only this King can signal a change that no other Malaysians can make. Malaysia, it seems, belongs to all Malaysians … minus the PN of course. For me, the PN can leave this country anytime for their One Race and One Religion rule has no place in Malaysia, the world or this Solar System.

I wish I could locate a Black Hole somewhere and send the PN leaders there to disappear into the Event Horizon.

Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

Secondly, it means that the Malays can change … if they want to. I have long given up on the Malays and when a friend asked me to write for the Malays to learn, I said, “Tak payahlah … buang masa saja mendidik orang yang tak mahu belajar atau berubah!

But the YDPA is a Malay and the UMNO people are with the unity government. So, does that not show that the Malays can change?

Perhaps. I am still sceptical. For 23 years, I have tried to change the Malays but all they want is to be safe in their own little boxes of tradition and religion. The Malays in universities and in the corporate sector mostly do not have any courage or vision to change. That is why my hope lies in Malaysians, not the Malays.

But with the image of Kit Siang and the Agong’s arms on him, hmmm maybe I am wrong. I truly hope that I am wrong about the Malays but I have lived among them for all my life and I am still doubtful.

Thirdly, the DAP seems to be a changed party under Mr Loke. Anthony, who speaks excellent Bahasa Melayu, has shown himself to be a sterling leader who has the humility to do what is necessary for peace and understanding between Malaysians East and West.

DAP more Islamic than PAS

Syabas, Mr. Loke! I admire deeply the DAP for refusing any title of conferment until retirement. In this regard, the DAP to me is more Islamic than any party claiming to be Islamic warriors but have given in to the corruption of titles and wealth.

The Prophet made clear what he expected of Muslim leaders and so far the DAP fits the stipulation of the Prophet to my mind.

Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang (seated, right) celebrates his “Tan Sri” conferment with son Lim Guan Eng and daughters Lim Hui Ying (standing, right) and Lim Hui Ming

In the Day of Judgment, Allah will ask the leaders what they have done in the world, and when the Muslim leaders answer that they have done much for the sake of Allah, He would say, “You have done things so that people will call you a Leader and not for my sake.”

Of course, the conferment of the titles to Muslim leaders is a Malay tradition but the hadith is the hadith and one needs to interpret it for one’s own self.

Anyway, the DAP has matured from arguing over songkok or tudung to a more accepting and tolerant party understanding the peculiarities of the Malays and Muslims.

Fourthly, I would like to say something about the unity government itself. After a successful convention, and perhaps after Anwar strides into the halls of UMNO as the guest of honour, do these events signal a true change in Malaysia?

Although my faith in the Malays is low, my belief in the unity coalition is high. This is because the alternative PN is a disaster for Malaysia.

All political parties – PKR, DAP, UMNO, GPS and GRS will have to change. I am not sure where Amanah and MUDA are but I hope they too will change. Be aggressive sikitlah, you two, please!

At the moment, these two parties are the weakest link in the unity coalition. But all-in-all, with Anwar controlling the purse of Malaysia, all parties must toe the new line in spending.

Malaysians in Semenanjung, Sarawak and Sabah will watch their leaders like a hawk and any shenanigans about working with the PN, we will come down hard and harder still!

Let the warning be clear. Gajah sama Gajah boleh berjuang, tetapi kami rakyat upaya menerkam macam Helang! With those thoughts in mind, I think sleep comes easier every night with me now knowing the impossible has come to pass.

I bid tahniah to my friend Kit Siang for a deserved title. When we meet, insyaAllah, allow me to call you Tan Sri … just once, I promise!


Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely. This opinion editorial first appeared in Sin Chew Daily (English version) under the headline “Tahniah, Tan Sri Kit”.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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