BANGI, Oct 26 — The central issue in Malaysia remains the need to forge a new vision for governance that is based on ethics and values, said PKR president Datuk Anwar Ibrahim.
He said that both were lacking in the country, which led to the current state of affairs.
“While ethics and values are important, they have become somewhat irrelevant to the country’s governance.
“We have been brought down because of endemic corruption and abuse of power, which is due to a lack of ethical considerations.
“We can talk and harp about religion, or the Islam faith, or Malay civilisation, but without ethics, we cannot succeed as a nation,” said Anwar during his opening speech at the Nation Building seminar organised by Muslim groups Wadah, Abim and PKIM here today.
He pointed out that for Malaysia to evolve into a great country, it must have economic success.
“We must remain focused on our priorities — on the economy, on justice — to show concern for problems faced by the poor, the gross inequality in our society,” he said.
He added there was a need to accept that the country was not making progress in all areas.
“(This is) stagnation in real terms. Our economy in the last 10 to 15 years has somewhat stagnated.
“That is an established fact. We need to do something. All Malaysians must focus on economic fundamentals. Only then can we solve bread-and-butter issues,” he added.
When met later by reporters, Anwar said ethics and values must be the focus to combat corruption.
“Some academics are constantly talking about defending the Malays, but when it comes to corruption, which has resulted in the Malays being in this state (losing out in the economy and growing poverty) they are quiet.
“We need to uplift all races and stay away from racial lines,” he said.
When asked about an alleged disrespect for the Federal Constitution, Anwar said there must be clear discourse on language, special rights, Islam faith and rulers.
“It has to start with the Malay leadership itself. To master other languages is important, but during official events, we must show that we are serious (about using Bahasa Melayu as the formal language),” he said.
Anwar’s remarks today were in contrast to the demands made at the Malay Dignity Congress, such as for key government positions to be held only by Malay Muslims.
Secretariat chief Datuk Zainal Kling reportedly opened the congress in Shah Alam by reminding Malaysia’s ethnic minorities of a so-called “social contract” with the Malays that enabled them to gain citizenship, claiming it could be taken back if the agreement was breached.
The congress was attended by about 5,000 people, including Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as several Umno, PAS and Pakatan Harapan leaders.