There’s more to ‘new Malaysia’ than Mahathir and Anwar

I would like to invite my fellow Malaysians to very seriously ponder over the question of who should lead Malaysia in the future. Most Malaysians will obviously think of Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, but I have a different candidate in mind.

But before I reveal it, let me say that for the first time since 1998, I bought a Malaysian flag, costing RM1.80, and flew it on one of my cars. I am elated with the result of the recent general election, where the people threw out Umno and gang.

I am mostly happy with the first 100 days of the new government as it is all about fixing up a house that has been badly broken by a terrible storm and neglect. Knocking nails into doors, fixing up windows and plugging leaks on roofs seem to be the order of the day for the first 100 days.

I am willing to let the new government float for another 100 days to see some real institutional reforms take place – such as the cleansing of the judiciary, the revamp of an inept police force, the restructuring of our “worthless” public universities and education system, and the dressing down of our gigantic and arrogant public service.

One hundred more days. After that, for the next 100 days, I wish to see the new government come up with a new blueprint on how Malaysians are going to live and prosper over the next 50 years. Can the PH government do it?

So far, what I have been witnessing is simply drama after drama being played out in our Parliament. There is absolutely nothing of worth for us to chart our future coming from the parliamentarians, except street fighting with the empty-minded opposition.

Let’s face it Malaysians, PAS and Umno are the poorest excuse for an opposition in the history of our nation. Umno harps on Malay supremacy and PAS on so-called Muslim morality, ill-defined and ill-understood.

If the opposition is useless, can the new PH government come up with more sound ideas? Forget it. The new PH parliamentarians are certainly more civilised than their opposition counterparts, but with respect to visions of the future, there is none whatsoever.

Rahim Noor and PH morality

The appointment of former inspector-general of police Abdul Rahim Noor as special envoy to mediate peace talks in southern Thailand signalled the end of the PH morality and ideas management.

I thought the introduction of the third national car was the end but apparently the new leader still has his 1980s thinking in high gear.

What’s next, Malaysians will ask. I think we have to sit through a Mahathir versus Anwar Saga 2.0 for the next 10 years!

When Mahathir said he would relinquish the seat of the prime minister in two years, I knew he was not serious. I mean, the man is healthier than most of the parliamentarians and has grey matter that outsizes the whole defunct National Professors Council.

I had predicted that Anwar would make his bid for the prime ministership by December 2018 and that he would be a parliamentarian by October. I thought that Anwar would go on a nationwide tour to rally the members of Amanah and PKR to his side, for I think the leadership of those parties which have substantive cabinet appointments are mostly in Mahathir’s pocket.

Anwar has the royals behind him but the royals are not the kingmakers. It will be the members of the political parties of Amanah, DAP and PKR. The wild card is the DAP. Who will the leadership support? It has a poker face.

Even if Rafizi’s team sweeps the PKR election, Anwar and company will have to face off against the Mahathir-Azmin-Mat Sabu tag team. With Mahathir and Azmin solidly holding Khazanah, will we see money politics once again becoming the bane of Malaysia?

Rebirth of money politics and race rhetoric

I think we will, sad to say, see a rebirth of money politics and who knows a rebirth of race and religious rhetoric once again.

The future is looking bleak for Malaysians. To me the answer lies in a new leadership for Malaysia. Who is the new personality? Well, that’s the wrong question. We, Malaysians must get away from personality cults and political party cults.

There is more than one way to rule Malaysia. Alvin Tofler predicted that the internet would topple governments and he was right. In the face of the drama of Malay politics of Mahathir-Anwar and the next era of Azmin-Mukhriz, we, Malaysians must pull the brakes. We, Malaysians, must reject reliance on party politics outright. We, Malaysians must determine the discourse and we, Malaysians must put forth OUR own visions for Malaysia.

We are still talking about marrying off 11-year-old girls and canning LGBTs. Do we have enough food production to feed our people? Do we have enough clean water to serve our needs? Should we work in offices and let our young graduates trap themselves in housing and car loans?

Are Malays forever suspicious of the non-Malays next door? What is our agenda for the next 50 years?

It is time for Malaysians to draft our education policies, food production strategies, healthy lifestyle living and sustainable existence within a universalistic spiritual construct of mutual acceptance and respect. We cannot hope for the PH politicians to come up with these plans as they will eventually succumb to the temptations of their offices.

In a democracy, WE are the masters in our own country! Is that not so? Let us treat our ministers as our workers, and not as our leaders. They cannot lead us into prosperity and harmony. Only we can, because it is we who are at the receiving end.

This Merdeka, let us free ourselves from the present leadership of PH and lead ourselves to our own promised land. Negara Kita, Tanggugjawab Kita!

Tajuddin Rasdi is a professor of Islamic architecture at UCSI University.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.