It is very gracious and timely that Lim Kit Siang should invite some of the more well-known activists to join the Pakatan Secretariat to formulate a “reform agenda”.
This move is necessary as many reformists have openly said that the reform agenda would be dead if Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were to helm the new Pakatan government. Many of them distrust Tun Dr Mahathir so much that no assurance by Pakatan — namely that Tun Dr Mahathir can function only as part of the team — will give them relief.
Well, let me give these reformists another perspective to consider: many of us want the reform agenda to succeed, including me. I too have given up many things in my life because I want to see reforms and democracy in my country. I just want to remind reformists that if we let Datuk Seri Najib Razak continue in power, we would have nothing left worth saving.
If we do not stop casting aspersions and doubts about Tun Dr Mahathir, we will not be united and we will lose the coming election. What will become of the reform agenda when that happens?
If we cannot win the election, Najib will remain — and we have seen what Najib will do to keep himself in power. He has appointed a new Chief Justice; he has successfully convinced the Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that he is innocent of all wrongdoing in the 1MDB case, and he has got the Attorney-General to clear him of all the allegations against him.
Najib has successfully persuaded UMNO that DAP is a “Chinese threat” to the Malays, and that if the DAP should take power the Malay community will be finished. He has played the race card like no one before.
I won’t be surprised if he has told the military that the Malays are under threat from some new “communists” in the DAP. He might even tell the Malay Rulers the same thing. He also took billions from somewhere (so he claims) to pay for the previous election in order that Islam should remain “supreme”. He will do it again for the next election.
Do the reformists want Najib to keep succeeding like this?
I want to make things simple for all doubting reformists and activists: go and watch the film that has been specially made for the coming Merdeka celebrations. It is titled The Malay Regiment. Watch it and then tell me if you still think Tun Dr Mahathir is more of a threat to us as a people and a country than Najib. We will not get any reform agenda if Najib wins again.
Never mind the reform agenda: as I said, we will not even have anything worthwhile left to save. We will not have an opportunity for a peaceful change of government and we will probably get a declaration of emergency and military intervention if the people lose this fight. That’s how dire the situation is.
The greatest and most urgently needed reforms we can hope for at this point in our history are the most basic ones: to have a peaceful transition of power without UMNO; to have Chinese in government without the MCA and Indians in government without the MIC.
These are basic points that we need before we start talking about the reform agenda as a whole, and Tun Dr Mahathir can help us get the past the basics. Beyond that, it’s up to the reformists to continue the task of rebuilding the country.
After all, Tun Dr Mahathir is 92 years old. The reformists are all much younger. There is no reason to be overwhelmed by him.