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A second independence

  • Hopefully we will have a more prosperous, democratic and progressive Malaysia when we celebrate our 62nd National Day next year. Photo courtesy: Bernama

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this year's National Day celebration is particularly meaningful, because Malaysians are now"free from the shackles of a ruthless regime" and this is our "second independence".

Indeed, if we had not changed the government, the country would have to face much bigger risks as we could go bankrupt because of the messy government accounts.

The government has disclosed that some RM19.25 billion GST and RM16.046 billion outstanding tax refunds had been misappropriated by the previous administration.

Corruption was rampant before the 14th general elections. A former minister left behind an astronomical sum of RM2.1 billion estate, unimaginable for a cabinet minister even if he had saved every single cent of his salary over the years.

In addition, MACC investigations show that some US$12 million (equivalent to RM48 million) of cash was brought into the country through KLIA a week before the general elections. Nine individuals have since been arrested by MACC, including the former director-general of Malaysian External Intelligence Organization (MEIO) Hasanah Abdul Hamid.

To be used for election campaigning, the sum could very likely be associated with 1MDB, and if this is true, then 1MDB funds have been used in election campaign!

What we can't figure out is that why such a colossal amount of cash could slip into the country despite the country's tough foreign exchange controls?

Hasanah was closely linked to former prime minister Najib Razak. She wrote to CIA director Gina Haspel shortly before the elections to seek Washington's support for Najib even if BN only won with a simple majority.

Even the claim of election fund itself has a huge question mark hanging over it. The RM114 million seized at Najib's condominium and RM3.5 million cash lost from the prime minister's office were all said to be part of Umno's election fund. If BN continues to be in power today, it is a matter of time the country will be pushed further towards the edge of the cliff.

That's why this year's National Day is of particular significance as we are indeed having a second independence, a new hope for the rakyat and boosted patriotism.

According to an IIU survey conducted between June and August this year, 95% of respondents felt proud of being Malaysians, and more than 80% were optimistic of the country's future, especially youngsters and middle-aged individuals from 21 to 50 years of age. Only 70% of respondents were optimistic during the corresponding period last year.

In the meantime, a survey conducted by IMAN Research on young people's views on New Malaysia showed that young Malaysians were "very satisfied" with the freedom and liberty that came with the change of federal administration, while a recent Merdeka Center survey showed that 92% of young Malaysians were happy with the outcome of GE14, and 65% felt the country was moving on the right track.

Pakatan Harapan should bank on such positive outlook and turn it into a motivation force to propel the country's reforms in order to preserve public confidence. The people will be very disappointed if their sky-high hopes are dashed.

What we want is not just freedom from a ruthless regime or some other kind of liberty, we also demand an end to the current economic doldrums as well as racist and religious politics, and to have more comprehensive democracy in place.

We have yet to see the new government's economic policy, and Tun Mahathir's negative comments on Chinese investments will be a push factor for foreign investors.

Studies show only a marginal rise in Malay support for the government. Will the PH government push hard for the bumiputra agenda just because of this, thus obscuring the focus of the country's economic development?

The prime minister's stand keeps changing. He has said that the government still needs the Official Secrets Act, and this contravenes PH's election pledge. The government will not be able to function more democratically, fairly and transparently without abolishing all the draconian laws.

Meanwhile, PH must also institute deep systemic reforms, including full independence for the parliament to perform its checks and balances duties more effectively.

Even though PH has promised to wipe out abuse of power, there is no guarantee that politicians will not become corrupt in the face of power. The new government must therefore overhaul the existing system, and adopt a more efficient system to tackle corruption.

We understand that change cannot be materialized within such a short time. Most importantly we must start making the move step by step, and hopefully we will have a more prosperous, democratic and progressive Malaysia when we celebrate our 62nd National Day next year.

 

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