Home / Forum
Looking for a Gusdur to lead M’sia
Published on: Sunday, May 06, 2018

By Kusugan Ali

MALAYSIANS seem to be impatient for change. Over the years we have seen many miss steps and grandiose plans and programmes with little thought for the country’s financial position. Plans seem to be made on the spur of the moment, some of which may have been motivated by self-interest and greed without due regard to the interest of the people.

Many prominent and ordinary people say that Malaysia was better off racially, socially, economically and politically during the early days, particularly when Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak were Prime Ministers.

This forthcoming 14th general election brings Malaysians to a critical cross-road in choosing their destiny – allow Barisan Nasional to continue or vote in Pakatan Harapan. This is reminiscent of the dire situation that Indonesia was in when they decided to choose Gusdur as their President. In the short time that he served, the late Pak Gusdur brought in fundamental changes that made Indonesia what it is today, a country that is more tolerant, more forward-looking, and more stable politically, socially, and economically compared to Malaysia.

To those who support Pakatan Harapan, the Gusdur of Malaysia is Tun Dr. Mahathir. At 93, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad has sacrificed his well-earned retirement to lead Pakatan to “save Malaysia” from the present lack of political direction. Dr. Mahathir had no grudges against Umno, the party he once loved and led, nor against Dato’ Najib whom he personally groomed to be a Prime Minister of Malaysia.

He only turned against Najib when he felt billions of the rakyats’ money from 1MDB and other Government institutions wasted.

During Dr. Mahathir’s 22 years as Prime Minister, he brought tremendous progress to the country that earned respect throughout the world, especially amongst Islamic and developing countries. He made Malaysians proud to be Malaysians. Admittedly there was corruption and scandals during his time. There were losses by Malaysia such as on the currency and tin trading. These losses were due to sabotage by the US and rogue currency traders.

But his supporters see these business losses as vastly different.

Malaysia’s corruption perception index has deteriorated from the best at 23 in 1995 to 62 in 2017 according to Transparency International.

Malaysia had gone through five Prime Ministers, none of whom had suppressed or ignored Sabah as claimed by some leaders. These Prime Ministers led the country in accordance with the Constitution, laws and policies of the government, treating all states fairly and equitably.

Najib claims that he had visited Sabah and allocated more funds to the State than any other Prime Minister.

The reason is obvious – without the BN members of parliament from Sabah and Sarawak, Najib could not have remained as Prime Minister after the 13th General Election.

Sabahans must look at how effective the funds of RM10 billion for infrastructure development has been spent.

For example, the RM1 billion road from Keningau to Kalabakkan (Tawau) and the RM500 million road from Tenom to Sipitang, have deteriorated into worse than gravel roads just a few years after completion.

Sabah may be getting high allocation on paper, but on the ground the picture is very different.

Sabahans when choosing their Members of parliament must bear in mind which party controls parliament, and whoever is chosen after the General Election is the new Prime Minister. Sabahans must take note during Najib Prime Ministership, there are reports that all in all some 82 billion have been spent. But some may argue that they have been wasted under dubious circumstances.

There are two pledges in the Barisan Nasional Manifesto which Sabah voters must consider with caution.

The first is the commitment to incorporate Malaysia Agreement 63 as part and parcel of the Malaysian Constitution. The Constitution is already perfect and complete. It spells out the division of powers known as Federal and State lists. Committing to make MA63 as part and parcel of the constitution which cannot be done under whatever circumstances. If Najib is sincere about giving more powers to Sabah and Sarawak, he could have done it before GE14. The Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya just have to amend the Constitution and the State List for Sabah and Sarawak such as Education, Health, Trade and Industry (both International and Domestic), Tourism, Customs and full authority on Local Government.

However, if the Federal Government could not get two-thirds majority in Parliament, it could have delegated all subject matters to the States of Sabah and Sarawak. The power of delegation is provided for in the Malaysian Constitution. The Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya could have done all this if they had wanted to.

The other subject which Sabahans must consider is the proposed RM350 billion development budget. Malaysia is already in seriously heavy debt; where will the money come from? In any case, the proposal seems to be more on infrastructures rather than economic activities. This could well be for negotiated contracts (with opportunities for kickbacks and corruption) rather than helping the economy for the people.

The Barisan Nasional Manifesto states that RM350 billion will be spent on Infrastructures – “contractors economy”. Acknowledged that: roads, electricity and water supply are necessary, but all these will not activate economies projects in any areas. It is important that any development must necessarily be accompanied by Economic projects. Economic projects are what Sabahans want urgently.

Some also argue that after more than 60 years in power, the Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya has made Malaysia a racially-divided country; it has also given Islam as practiced in Malaysia a façade that appears narrow-minded and intolerant on small issues but silent on corruption and injustices. The 1Malaysia tag line is an admission that Malaysians are becoming divided.

Over the decades, there have been grouses that Sabahans have been manipulated and being pushed around by BN leaders from W Malaysia. After the initial era of Malaya’s and Malaysia’s founding fathers who were great Statesmen, these leaders have entrenched themselves and controlled every corner of the government and politics.

An Umno Minister implicated in a turtle egg scandal even managed to get the case heard in KL where he works and not in Sabah although the incident happened in Sabah and it is against the Malaysia Agreement. It is scary.

Usno ruled Sabah from 1963-1976 – fourteen years. We have not benefited much from the Government all these years. We remain poor and backward.

We must redeem our pride so that we can hold up our heads again amongst the international community.

We owe it to our children and future generations to ensure their prosperity.

Will it be Dr Mahathir and his team who will succeed in their quest for change or will Najib, if he retains the government and gets the chance to redeem and put things right– will be known on the night of May9.

Kusugan Ali
Protem Deputy President (Usno Baru)


Most Read