What true Malaysians want

It’s a breath of fresh air and a source of much pride to me that a former PTD (Pegawai Pentadbiran Diplomatic) colleague, Tan Sri Alwi Jantan, has come out strongly to support our cherished national values of secularism, liberalism and pluralism, “Torchbearers for founding fathers” (Sunday Star, Sept 4). In short, he urges for greater national unity and good governance, which have been sadly declining.

As a leading member of the Group of 25 (G25) comprising eminent former senior Malay civil servants and intellectuals, Alwi (and the G25 as well) is indeed a torchbearer for our founding forefathers. He and G25 are therefore fully worthy of the whole-hearted support of all true Malaysians!

The G25 handicap may, however, be that it is preaching to the converted, especially those Malaysians in the more sophisticated urban areas. Currently, the G25 has a limited number of members (about 40) and has thus to expand its membership and also now consider being more inclusive. The G25 has to include leaders in the rural areas and also non-Malays and those leading moderates in Sabah and Sarawak.

There has been a worldwide tendency for politicians to look towards the next general election to preserve their privileged vested interests. Their vision is therefore limited to the short term. They tend to pursue the dubious doctrine of state capture in order to prolong and perpetuate their political dominance and power often for self gain.

In direct contrast, the independent and experienced thinkers and patriots in the G25 are committed to the long-term national interests and national unity, modernity and sustainability of our country. And that is why we all must rally around the G25 to strengthen it and to develop a kind of “G25 Movement” that stands for moderation, integrity, equity, fairness and unity in diversity.

As Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai wrote in his column, “We should not provide a platform for extremists like (academic) Ridhuan (Tee Abdullah) to spew hatred and disunity. It’s like providing oxygen for his fanaticism”, “Unite, not divide, the people” (Sunday Star, Sept 4).

This begs the worrisome question in the public mind: Why is justice not being done or seen to be done? Are some types of people less susceptible to allegations of sedition? Surely, the authorities don’t want to give the impression that we have selective justice or bad governance in our country? What if others follow Tee’s terrible example? There could be chaos, as Alwi has rightly suggested. We all don’t want any of that possibility, do we?

In fact, any politician or individual who promotes hate, racial and religious bigotry and supremacy of any kind must be isolated and alienated politically and even socially. Most politicians find it difficult to isolate bigots because they have to fight for or even buy the votes of bigots.

Hence, it is welcome news to hear that the G25 will be going beyond their current critical concerns “to find solutions to the overlap of civilian and syariah laws” to also delve into the vital question of good governance. This new emphasis is fundamental as, without or even with less good governance, all the progress we have proudly achieved since Merdeka will dissipate.

We are all deeply anxious about what my civil service brother Alwi boldly states, namely that “good governance has been eroded at an alarming rate”.

The G25 Report on Political Financing Reforms that was submitted to the Prime Minister and Paul Low, Minister in the PM’s Department, has thus to be seriously discussed in Cabinet and even in Parliament. Hopefully, the G25 Report’s recommendations will be adopted by the Government well before the coming general election in the interest of good governance.

All the rakyat really want is a fairer, more reasonable and equitable Government and greater national unity with good governance. That is the natural aspiration of the rakyat, especially the bottom 40%, regardless of race and religion. At present, they could be and are feeling marginalised! They may even experience a sense of alienation from mainstream development, and feel a reduced sense of belonging and low level of patriotism.

We have therefore to go back to the basics and follow the principles of good governance set by our wise and honest founding fathers. Otherwise, as the G25 clearly suggests, we could fail badly and fade away.

So, let’s all rally around the G25, form a “G25 Movement” and appeal for more good governance from our political leaders of all shades to pass on a better Malaysia.

This is what all true Malaysians want and fully deserve.

And as we approach Malaysia Day on Sept 16, we, the rakyat, believe that we will win if we are united against all abuses from any and all quarters!

Selamat Hari Malaysia and may God bless our beloved country!

Article published in The Sun Daily, Malaysiakini, Free Malaysia Today, The Star, Sin Chew Daily, and The Malay Mail.

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