JANUARY 31 — With 68 per cent of the Malay constituencies in Semenyih, the by election on March 2, 2019, would be spun by Umno and PAS as the key to their strategic return to power by 2023 or earlier; as and when the 15th General Election is held.
Pakatan Harapan, which lost Cameron Highlands parliamentary by election, should be on its toes in every sense of the word.
To begin with, Pakatan Harapan has now “owned” the Federal government. Although it was Umno and Barisan Nasional, indeed, PAS, that broke Putrajaya completely, devoid of any political capital the ramparts of Barisan Nasional and PAS have nothing to lean on, except to subject Pakatan Harapan to this constant tirade that it has broken every single electoral promise.
This is false association and accusation, to say the least. Why? Hasn't Pakatan Harapan put the kleptocrats in Malaysia either on the run, in hiding, or faced with the almost certain likelihood of a full conviction across the board one day?
This in itself was the major redemption of Pakatan Harapan, and a new Malaysia, without which the democratic transition of May 9, 2018, would not have happened to look into the sky rocketing debts of the country.
At US$250.6 billion (RM1.03 trillion) and counting, which is almost 80 per cent of the Gross National Product, yet with no certainty of how many government linked companies (GLCs) there are, many of which continue to rot from a worsening balance sheet, how can the old Malaysia be better than the one that is under Pakatan Harapan?
But there are three reasons why Malays have not been forsaken, and the identity politics with which Malays are closely identified with: Islam.
Wasn't Barisan Nasional and Umno, with the support of PAS, that had Malaysia entwined with Goldman Sachs? Goldman Sachs, which is heavily influenced by the Israeli lobby of the United States, has tried to wash its hands off any financial indemnity to Malaysia by merely issuing an “apology.”
Umno and PAS cannot be freed from the guilt of association with Goldman Sachs and/or Israel. They worked with the likes of Jho Low, in turn, Hollywood, another entity heavily under the influence of Israeli interest, to white wash their own commercial misdeeds from 1MDB to many mini 1MDBs. Is this what Islam teaches? No. Islam has always insisted on truth and justice. Yet Umno and PAS have time and again skewered its central message.
Secondly, not only will Pakatan Harapan not be forsaking Islam, indeed, Pakatan Harapan is trying to make sure the entire economic and political ecology are sufficiently clean, consequently, to allow the pristine values of Islam to emerge.
Only when the universalism of Islam is permitted to don a key role will the statecraft of Malaysia be among the best in the world.
Take the economic crisis that hit Turkey between September and the end of last year, for instance.
It has withstood the trials and tribulations of a financial crisis precisely because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stood firm.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may not have been able to produce an instant economic miracle but then no one can when the Sino US trade relationship is spiralling downward out of control. Thus the key rests with maintaining stability.
Thirdly, whereas Pakatan Harapan has stopped digging Malaysia into a debt trap, PAS and Umno, even MCA, appear bent on the East Coast Railway Project, which costs a whopping RM100 billion and more. How can this make any sense?
Thus Semenyih must be seen for what it is: Decision Day of the Malaysian voters, predominantly Malays, to tell Umno and PAS that their politics of baiting the Rakyat with trinkets, tokenism and tonnes of racial and religious verbiage are over.
Let's send a strong and clear signal that Semenyih is not pro Pakatan Harapan but pro new Malaysia in spite of the imperfections of the current coalition. Better a coalition that is clean than one that is constantly scheming with various shenanigans to come back into office, without anything to offer.
* Rais Hussin is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief strategist.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.