Heralding a New Beginning


By Datuk Huan Cheng Guan

In ten days’ time, we will be bidding farewell to 2013 and heralding a new beginning to a new year. Yet, this period is not really an end or a beginning but a journey that should rightfully fill the lives of Malaysians with all wisdom that experience has given us.

After such an eventful year marked by a record number of protests in Malaysian history, it is my sincere hope that Malaysians will close ranks and learn to view our beloved country positively. The time has come to stop emphasizing negatives and to highlight positives or pro-active ways in which each one of us can make Malaysia a better place for all regardless of race, class, age and gender. The starting point would surely be learning to say good things about our country rather than sabotaging our nation’s prestige via loose and irresponsible comments or showing disrespect for leaders.

Since the advent of the Internet and social networking platforms, this country has been continually injected with propaganda and criticisms of the ruling government. It has become common place that to say anything good about any BN leader is a sign of betrayal when in fact, one is only being realistic. No leader or government is perfect and it certainly does not help by worsening public perception of leaders via negative comments which stoke the fires of hatred and discontent.

Character assassination by opposition political leaders and active members of civil societies must stop. Malaysians must not entertain posts which propagate hate-mongering and create an atmosphere of mistrust which hinders our government’s efforts to develop this country. Let us learn to comment responsibly and not jump on the bandwagon of condemnation but be objective right-thinking citizens who measure our words carefully.

Come 2014, I sincerely hope to less personal and more effort by citizens and all parties to chart a blueprint for unity and peaceful co-existence. To that end, as we draw close to 2013, let us celebrate the New Year, NOT by attending protest gatherings but by embracing a changed attitude, forsaking old stereotypes and looking forward to a new beginning optimistically. Our celebration must not be hijacked by any political party but must be one that is joyous for the right reasons.

Let us celebrate the New Year in true Malaysian style – not with hostility but with thankfulness and gratitude that indeed, Malaysia is a beautiful nation inhabited by Malaysians who are proud of their heritage and all that Malaysia means to every one of us.

Advertisements

PERKASA MAY BE IN DILEMMA OVER ITS NEXT ROLE


 

The most vocal Malay NGO, Perkasa, seems to be in a crossroad – to continue playing its role as defender of the Malay and bumiputra rights or fight against the so-called neo-liberalism in Umno.

Perkasa has held the ‘Malay and bumiputra fort” when Umno was reeling from its dismal performance after the 2008 general election but now, after the May 5 2013 general election, Umno stands upright with its tyransformaion and Malay agenda.

So when Perkasa meets for its fourth AGM this Sunday, the question that hangs on its members’ heads and of course, its leader Datuk Ibrahim Ali is which direction the movement will take.

Given that Umno is back on its feet and upon conclusion of its annual general assembly last week, the party which is the backbone of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has taken the path that Perkasa had rode on – uplifting and empowering the Malays and bumiputras economic status as well as protecting the sanctity of Islam.

Perkasa is now at a crossroad on how to chart its next course because championing the cause it has been taking since its formation in late 2008 will be seen as ‘taking the role of Umno’.

No doubt Perkasa had taken the role of Umno since its formation as Umno was ‘rehabilitating’ itself past few years but now that Umno has been ‘rehabilitated’ and the party has now taken its role back and further playing the role of MCA and Gerakan and even MIC in protecting and champion the cause of Malaysians, not just Malays, Perkasa now has to look for a reason.

Championing the cause in accordance to the country’s Federal Constitution in protecting the rights of Malays, Bumiputras and Islam as well as the Institution of Rulers, may take a new approach.

With Umno playing the role of moderates and inclusiveness, Perkasa has to look to new approaches if it wants to stay relevant and rally the same support it has been enjoying.

Its racial stand may still be relevant but the approaches needed to be more refined given Umno’s new approaches in reaching out as a platform of fairness and harmony.

Since it will not go against Umno as it is an NGO that supports the government, Perkasa may actually be in a dilemma.

One Perkasa member said the NGO would still be relevant and needed given the many issues raised by the oppositions that Umno shied away, particularly sensitive issues regarding liberalism.

He said Umno would not say much about liberal Malays who were in Umno and everywhere because Umno itself is heading towards liberalism.

“It is Perkasa that will be fighting against this liberal Malays who are against Malays who struggle for the race and religion,” he said.

With the AGM to be launched by former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Perkasa seems set to champion a new cause – fight against neo-liberalism who the movement feels are obstacles to the Malays future development economically and spiritually.

UMNO’S TRANSFORMATION MAY RALLY MALAYSIANS OF ALL RACES


 

Umno concluded its annual general assembly on Saturday on a high note to transform itself into a poilitical party that is fair to all Malaysians where priority will be to empower the economy of the Malays and bumiputras who form slightly more than 67 per cent of the population.

The emphasis will be to ensure that the majority population will be on par with the economy of others so that there will not be any single race that would feel left out in the fast growing economic development of the country.

In doing, the party pledges that other races would not be sidelined and that the party would continue its fair and just policies for all Malaysians.

Umno also concluded that the party would protect the sanctity of Islam by defining clearly in the Federal Constitution that Malaysia follows the teaching of Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

In facing the next general election, the party’s political transformation will begin at the party’s branch level where with immediate effect the branch level will have to follow the party constitution strictly to strengthen itself.

Party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had outlined the transformation programs in the wake of challenges that ‘may not be good for Umno’ if the party continues to stay as it is.

The political reality now is Umno is the only flag-bearer of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) besides Parti Pesaka Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) in Sarawak while the component parties in Peninsular are still ‘searching for their souls’ after being ‘slaughtered’ in the May 5 general election.

Called it the Chinese tsunami or whatever terms, the fact remains that rural Malays are still with Umno while the urban Malays have swung to the oppositions – PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

With Umno the only party that is still strong and ‘standing upright’ amidst the strong winds of change in the May 5 general election, the responsibility is now on its shoulders to rally Malaysians, not just Malays, behind the BN.

And the recently concluded general assembly, Najib, who is also the Prime Minister, spoke on the need for Umno to transform into an inclusive party, struggling for the Malays and bumputras while same time ensure other races are not sidelined and feel ‘alien’.

Transformation begins with change in minds and attitudes of party members and Najib stressed the need for the party to be strong from its roots – the grassroots – where the some 21,000 branches lie.

Transformation to strengthen the party as the pillar and backbone of BN where component parties, currently undergoing healing and rehabilitation, can heal themselves in time to face the next general election.

In strengthening the party, efforts to ward off elements that would weaken the party and its followers will have to be addressed and here is where the sanctity of Islam and the economic aspect needed push and protection.

The threat of Syiah is real and the ‘heads of Government Link Companies (GLCs) not helping out Malay and bumiputra enterpreneurs is real.

With Najib’s commitment to see the two subjects taken care, Umno is off to a brand new start in transforming itself into a political party where the Malays and bumiputras can rest assure their support for the party all this while did not go to waste.

And Malaysians on the whole, can rest easy that Umno is not only a party for the Malays but for all Malaysians.

Yingluck offers House dissolution


Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday said she is ready to dissolve the House and organises a national election within 60 days as stipulated by the laws and under fair rules if that is what the majority of people wanted.

In a special televised programme, She insisted that the protesters’ demand for setting up of People’s Council and royally-granted prime minister were not allowed by the Constitution and still debated among academicians.

“However if the protesters and the big political party do not agree to the offers or not accept the result of the election, the political crisis would certainly be prolonged. This could be compared to the political situation in 2006 when a political party boycotted a national election which resulted in a political vacuum and eventually a coup d’etat,” she said.

She apparently refers to Democrat Party that boycotted the national election in that year.

She was speaking a day before a massive rally led by former Democrat Party MP Suthep Thaugsuban, against her government, is held in Bangkok.

The government proposed a setting up of a forum to discuss about the protesters’ demands, Yingluck said.

“However if the conflicts could not be settled, I propose that public referendum be set up to allow all people to decide. All political parties and protesters would accept the results of the public referendum so that all conflicts are solved.