Malaysia Dateline

Give PH and Anwar a real chance this time by coming out in full force to vote

Was it Muhyiddin Yassin or Mahathir Mohamad who initiated the formation of Bersatu? Muhyiddin Yasin claimed that he was the founder and driver of the party and not Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It does not matter who was responsible. The real issue is what prompted the formation of the party.

In the years 2014 to 2018, I was in constant contact with Tun Mahathir, on the issue of 1MDB. I believe his disgust and anger at Najib Razak for what he considered the grand theft of the century was genuine. He was categorical and consistent in his rejection of corruption. He might have enriched his Cabinet colleagues and friends over the years, but he would not steal government money and, therefore, is not a kleptocrat. He wanted the new Bersatu to replace UMNO as he felt UMNO was too corrupt to be “repaired”. That was what he told me.

I am sure Muhyiddin Yasin was equally disgusted with kleptocracy. The revulsion, though, was not apparent from Muhyiddin until mid-2015. He spoke openly in 2015 about the 1MDB scandals only two days before he was sacked. 1MDB financial dealings were out in the open way back in 2012 when monies were already allegedly transmitted to Najib’s personal accounts in AmBank and Affin Bank. It was Anwar Ibrahim in 2010 who first spoke about 1MDB in Parliament when he questioned the business address of 1MDB and why it had no auditor. Muhyiddin was Deputy Prime Minister from 2009 until 2015, but he did not appear as vocal as Tun Mahathir or Anwar on the subject in the six years that he was Deputy. In fact he was rather muted.

As I said, it matters little who started the party. But what disappoints me with Bersatu is the lack of transparency and openness in how Muhyiddin managed the government when he was the prime minister. It was no different from UMNO under Najib. Suppose he was disappointed with Najib on the lack of transparency in the affairs of 1MDB. Why then was his administration shielding itself under an Emergency Proclamation when Parliament was precluded from knowing the financial dealings, whether on the 5G issue, High-Speed Rail or whatever else planned by Putrajaya? In the years he was Minister and Prime Minister, he could have done more to cement himself as a progressive leader that he had described himself to be.

Inviting PAS to the Federal Cabinet does not make sense other than to topple the PH government. PAS has never been a transparent and “open” party. It has a structure akin to the Muslim Brotherhood. It talks of “uniting the ummah” only when invited by Muhyiddin to be part of the federal government. PAS would contribute nothing to the agenda of change, transparency and openness that Bersatu talked about.

Bersatu under Muhyiddin is certainly no better than UMNO. It has no progressive ideas to implement except being anti-1MDB. Or making candidates sign pledges against corruption. It is certainly not a moral choice for voters to pick. What has Bersatu done to improve the Police Force or the Immigration Department? Nothing of significance other than changing the rules on Malaysia My Second Home and declaring that the Police Force is not corrupt, as alleged by former IGP Hamid Bador.

Melaka achieved greatness as a trading port and the creation of a Malay Sultanate at one moment in history. It is time for you, the people of Melaka, to have another dig at making a credible and lasting contribution – by voting Pakatan Harapan to power. Only by them winning this state election can the momentum be maintained for a strong push for Anwar Ibrahim to win the federal government at GE 15.

Give the people of this country a real chance to have an alternative government for the first time. WE have always been ruled by UMNO/BN since independence. The 22 months of Harapan rule from 2019 to 2021 was not really a Harapan government. It was led by an UMNO man who did not want real democratic change. He did not want Anwar Ibrahim to take over. The Muhyiddin years were similarly a rule by another Umno man in different clothing.

They go around telling you that the PH government had failed. What they didn’t mention is PH did not succeed because there were concerted efforts to destroy and hamper the smooth running of the PH administration – from within and without. So effective were they in destroying the PH government that it collapsed after 22 months.

The public quarrel between the former UMNO leaders making the rounds in this campaign is pathetic. Who was more corrupt and who was incompetent; they barked at each other. They are all the same, coming from the same pot but using different labels.

It is time for real change and that can only come from Anwar Ibrahim. The change is simply this: it is time we have a set of honest leaders to run the country. I believe Anwar Ibrahim will give us that. Only honest leaders can be fair to the different groups in the country. Only honest leaders will not enrich themselves or reward sycophants and supporters with position and wealth. Only honest leaders will be accountable and transparent to the extent possible in this country where institutions have broken down.

The people of Melaka must redeem this great travesty on the mandate of the people. Change the system that is destroying the country and create a new one for the future. It is time for Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat to join forces to bring political justice for Melaka and the rest of the country. Give PH and Anwar a real chance this time by coming out in full force to vote.

Good morning, Melaka. Wake up and do what warriors do!