In my 57 years of political work, I have always regarded myself as first and foremost a Malaysian.
This has been distorted by my enemies to mean that I have sold out the Chinese or given up on my identity as a Chinese. They cannot be more wrong for one who regards himself as first and foremost as a Malaysian does not relinquish his ethnicity.
I want everyone to regard himself or herself as a Malaysian first and foremost without relinquishing his or her ethnic identity and roots whether as a Chinese, Malay, Indian, Kadazan or Iban.
The Malaysian Dream, which I formulated in my schooldays in Batu Pahat in the 1950s, is not a minus but an addition exercise – not to deduct but to add the Chinese, Malay, Indian, Kadazan or Iban dimension to the Malaysian equation.
But this was only one of the many demonisation campaigns which I had to face in my political work, as I was also demonised as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers. I also even accused as being a communist and the cause of the May 13 1969 riots although nobody asked if I was a communist or cause of the May 13, 2019 riots, why I was never detained under the frightening Internal Security Act (ISA) for these reasons.
The DAP was and is first and foremost a party dedicated to the national interests .
This is why I had proposed a political moratorium for all political parties to come together to resolve a common national crisis three times in my 57 years of political work – in 1969, 1987 and 2021.
The first time was during my first Internal Security Act detention when on 5th August 1969, I wrote a letter from the Muar Detention Centre to the then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman and conveyed to him my anxieties for the future of Malaysia.
I said that the result of May 10, 1969 General Election was the people’s verdict for democracy, as against the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) campaign for boycott and rejection of the 1969 election.. There was joy and expectancy after the results, not to deprive anyone of his rights but at the new hope to work for a more just, equal and fulfilling Malaysian society.
I appealed to Tunku at the moment of the nation’s trial in 1969 to “rise above party politics and think only of the long-term national interests”.
To ensure communal harmony and goodwill, and the development of a Malaysian consciousness and identity, transcending racial ties and affinities, I made three proposals, including the establishment of an all-party, all-races Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe into “the entire gamut of racial problems in Malaysia with the view to seek long-term solutions”.
I ended the letter stressing that I was not writing as a “party politician but as a Malaysian nationalist”.
The second time was one day before my second Internal Security Act detention and I made the proposal in Parliament during the debate on the 1988 Budget on October 26, 1987 – a day before the Operation Lalang mass arrests were launched.
I proposed a one-year moratorium for all political parties where no racial, language, cultural or religious issues would be created or raised so that everyone could concentrate on the national priority and crisis of achieving economic recovery and growth.
I said that unless sanity could prevail and return to the Malaysian body politic and all political leaders and parties stop stoking the racial flames of hatred and ill-will, then the racial volcano will one day explode in Malaysia.
I proposed that all political parties agree to a one-year moratorium, where no racial, language, cultural or religion issues will be created or raised, so that every Malaysian could concentrate on the national priority of achieving economic recovery and growth.
The third time was during the Covid-19 pandemic when on June 17, 2021, I called for a political moratorium where there is only one national priority – to face the national crisis to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure that the Covid-19 fatalities did not exceed 5,000 deaths.
From a country which was commended by the world in the early months for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia has become one of the world’s top worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, we have passed the 2.5 million-mark for the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, while the world passed another grim milestone exceeding the 250 million-mark for global cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
As one of the world’s worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia faced a national crisis and an existential threat if we do not end the upsurge of Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 deaths.
When emergency was declared in Malaysia on January 22, 2021, Malaysia had cumulative totals of 138,224 Covid-19 cases and 555 Covid-19 deaths. When Ismail Sabri was appointed the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia on August 20, 2021, the cumulative totals have shot up to 1,513,024 Covid-19 cases and 13,713 Covid-19 deaths.
The upsurge of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the longest Covid-19 wave in the world in Malaysia must be stopped before more millions of Malaysians fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic, and worst of all, tens of thousands die!
From the 63rd National Day on August 31, 2020, when we were No. 89 in the world among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, we were overtaking other nations on an average of five to six a month until we were No. 22 among nations in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases when Ismail Sabri became the Prime Minister.
This is a national crisis of the first order and the first priority of the nation must be to save lives and livelihoods.
This was why the DAP supported the Pakatan Harapan stand for the signing of a Confidence-Supply-Reform (CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and the Pakatan Harapan leaders to save Malaysian lives and livelihoods to turn the defeat in the Covid-19 Pandemic into victory.
Malaysia is now ranked No. 20 in the world among nations with the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases – but we have stopped overtaking over nations. In fact, the stage for the reverse process is being set – and I hope to see other nations overtaking Malaysia in having more cumulative total of Covid-19 cases than the other way round, and Malaysia falling to No. 60-80 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
For reference, Malaysians must note the ranking of the following countries in the world for having the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, and wonder why Malaysia is not among them: Japan (27), Saudi Arabia (55), Denmark (70), Oman (82), Singapore (89), Australia (99), China (113), Taiwan 160), Hong Kong (172) and New Zealand (178).
At a moment of national peril, we have shown that we are prepared to put all political, racial, religious and personal differences aside to sign a CSR MOU to overcome the national crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic to save lives and livelihoods as we do not want five million Covid-19 cases or100,000 Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia.
The CSR MOU has slowed down the upsurge in increase of Covid-19 cases from the daily peak of 24,599 cases to 4,626 cases and daily Covid-19 deaths from the peak of 463 deaths to 36 deaths, but the deceleration is too slow, as I would like to see daily new Covid-19 cases reduce to double-digit figures and daily Covid-19 deaths reduce to single-digit numbers by the end of the first 100 Days of Khairy Jamaluddin as Health Minister on Dec. 7, 2021.
If Indonesia for 23 consecutive days could record triple-digit daily new Covid-19 cases, with 401 cases yesterday as compared to Malaysia’s 4701 daily new cases, and 15 Covid-19 deaths as compared to Malaysia’s 54 daily deaths, there is no reason why Malaysia could not do better.
To ensure that the national interests of all Malaysians prevail, let every Malaysian play their part to make the CSR MOU succeed to surmount the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We must recognise that if Malaysia is to survive the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic, all Malaysians must unite as Malaysians and be prepared to put aside their racial, religious, regional and political differences.
For if Malaysia fails, no race, religion, region or political party can benefit from it.
But there are too many negative vibes in Malaysia today.
There is a sense of apathy, hopelessness, despair and desolation in the land that not much change had taken place in the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government forgetting that the Pakatan Harapan government was meant to last for five years until it was undemocratically toppled by the Sheraton Move conspiracy, and that Ismail Sabri’s “Keluarga Malaysia” slogan is a fake article as illustrated by the 2022 Budget where even the former economic adviser of the Pakatan Harapan government, Mohammad Abdul Khalid, asked where was the fairness in the 2022 Budget over the measly allocation of millions for non-bumiputeras but billions for the bumiputeras.
I worry the voter turnout in Malacca and Sarawak state general election may be as low as less than 30 per cent, as Malacca and Sarawak general elections will be important forerunners of the 15th General Election to decide whether the Malaysian Dream for Malaysia to become a world-class great nation has come to an end and there is no way for Malaysia to become a successful plural society and a world-class great nation.
Speech by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang at the launching of Liew Chin Tong’s book “Lim Kit Siang – Patriot, Leader, Fighter” at Skudai, Iskandar Puteri on Saturday, 6th November 2021 at 9 pm.