Tonight’s ceramah in Kuching is unique and special, since the re-ignition of new hope and expectations among Malaysians with regard to the next 14th General Election since July 14, following the announcement of a new Pakatan Harapan structure, Pakatan Harapan logo and new PH leadership line-up.
I was with the Pakatan Harapan Chairman, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the DAP “Sayangi Malaysia, Hapuskan Kleptokrasi” dinner in Penang last night, and today, I flew into Kuching, transiting at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Wherever I went today, especially when transiting in KLIA and on arrival in Kuching, there was a throb in the air, a fervor and great expectation with people regardless of region, race or religion coming up to me in anticipation of something significant happening in Kuching today.
This is the why there is such a huge turn-out of the people of Kuching and Sarawak from all communities at the Pakatan Harapan ceramah tonight despite the heavy rain for the soft-launch of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto for Sarawak and Sabah.
The people of Sarawak and Malaysia have been waiting political change, a “New Deal, New Hope” for more than half a century, and they are not going to allow inclement conditions, whether of the weather or the political situation, to stand in the way.
Sarawak has been regarded a “fixed deposit” of Barisan Nasional, but like other former BN “fixed deposits” especially the states of Johore and Malacca, Sarawak is now an important “key” to political change in Malaysia in the 14GE.
Two significant events took place in the past week in Sarawak and Sabah.
Firstly, there was the continued abuse of immigration autonomy powers by the Sarawak Chief Minister in the refusal to allow two PKR MPs entry into Sarawak and the ejection of a PKR Perak State Assemblywoman yesterday.
The Malaysia Agreement 1963 conferred immigrant autonomy powers to Sarawak and Sabah, but as provided in Section 67 of the Immigration Act 1959/63, no Malaysian citizen should be barred from entering Sarawak and Sabah “for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity”.
DAP and Pakatan Harapan are committed to the review of Malaysia Agreement 1963 and necessary constitutional adjustments and re-arrangements to uphold both the word and spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 to ensure “New Deal, New Hope” for Sarawakians and Sabahans, but how can the Sarawak and Sabah Chief Ministers ask for a fair and equitable review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution when they are in the forefront in blatantly abusing their powers and the provisions in Malaysia Agreement 1963?
I had been a victim of such abuses of powers of Malaysia Agreement 1963 when 43 years ago, in 1974, I was first barred entry into Sarawak.
We have with us tonight Sdr. Ting Ling Kiew, four-term MP for Bintulu from 1974 to 1990, who was with me at the Kuching Airport on that day in 1974. We objected to the abuse of powers of immigration autonomy in Malaysia Agreement 1963, and who took me to spend a night in Borneo Hotel, Kuching as the last flight out of Kuching that day had already left.
Will the Sarawak Chief Minister announce that henceforth there will be no abuse of powers of the immigrant autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and that no Pakatan Harapan leaders from Peninsular Malaysia will be barred from entry into Sarawak “for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity”?
The second significant event was the speech by the former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor at a forum “Malaysia in the Future” in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday where he warned Umno that its concessions to PAS, particularly over the controversial Islamic penal code hudud, could lose it Sabah and Sarawak support.
I have a lot of differences with Rahim Noor, in particular the infamous black-eye which he inflicted on former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998, but he has paid his dues for his greatest mistake in his life with jail time, a fine and loss of position as the top policeman in the land.
However, I am not shy to declare that I appreciate his warning that the federal government would not only lose the goodwill and support of the East Malaysian states, the latter may even agitate to leave the Federation if the government submits to PAS’ demands to implement hudud, “inch by inch”, just to ensure that Umno remains in power.
Abdul Rahim Noor warned that “”If people’s anxiety over the issue of religion gets heated up, Malaysia may be thrown into chaos” as “Sabah and Sarawak may think twice whether to continue to be in Malaysia or not”.
The former Inspector-General of Police stressed that the Federation of Malaysia was never meant to be an Islamic country because if it was, Sabah and Sarawak would never have agreed to it.
He said when the idea of Malaysia was mooted, religion was the main issue addressed by the Cobbold Commission.
“The people in the Bornean states, all of them, regardless of race and religion, did not want an official religion for the new federation.
“The demand was reasonable. After all, there are many Muslim-majority countries in the world that do not have Islam as their official religion, for example Egypt and Indonesia, a country with the highest number of Muslims in the world.”
I call on the Chief Ministers of the Sarawak and Sabah, as well as all Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs from Sarawak and Sabah, to publicly endorse the stand of the former Inspector-General of Police, for it concerns one of the bedrock nation-building principles of the country as well as one of the fundamental terms and conditions for Sarawak and Sabah’s agreement to form the Malaysian Federation in 1963.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, claimed success for his National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) programme.
I confess I do not understand what Najib is talking about. Is he claiming success for the NBOS programme for achieving the following three things:
- Malaysia becoming overnight as a global kleptocracy under his premiership;
- his support of US President’s “America First” policy by offering three “value propositions” during his visit to White House and meeting with Trump to “strengthen the US economy”;
- the closure one by one throughout Malaysia of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KRIM) to benefit urban Malaysians with low-income levels, by selling basic necessities like rice, cooking oil, milk powder and diapers at prices, 30 to 50 percent lower than at other supermarkets?
Earlier today, Najib ridiculed Pakatan Harapan as one opposition pact that is “laughable”, whose relationship among component parties is nothing but a “marriage of convenience” and that the different Pakatan Harapan leaders from the component parties “sleep in same bed, but with different dreams”.
Let me tell Najib tonight that Pakatan Harapan leaders, whether DAP, PKR, Amanah or Pribumi Bersatu, whether Tun Dr. Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim, Mat Sabu or myself – we all have one common dream and one objective, which is to topple Najib, UMNO and BN through the ballox box in the 14GE to give Malaysians a “New Deal, New Hope”.
If there is swing of 10% of the Malay voters and 5% of the non-Malay voters from UMNO/Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Harapan in the 14GE as compared to the 13GE, Pakatan Harapan would win 113 of the 165 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, leaving 50 to BN and two to PAS.
Together with support from Sarawak and Sabah, Pakatan Harapan may have 125 to 130 out of 222 parliamentary seats to form the new Pakatan Harapan Federal Government.
But this is not enough to achieve a two-thirds parliamentary majority of at least 149 out of the 222 parliamentary seats, to ensure that there can be constitutional re-arrangements following a fair and equitable review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 to provide “New Hope, New Deal” to Sarawakians, Sabahans as well as all Malaysians.
Can Sarawak and Sabah provide the 36 Members of Parliament for Pakatan Harapan to ensure Pakatan Harapan has the two-thirds parliamentary majority in 14GE to ensure “New Deal, New Hope” from a fair and just constitutional re-arrangements based on review of Malaysia Agreement 1963?
This is one of the greatest challenges of the forthcoming 14GE!