Thursday, December 31, 2009
Telukbatu on 3:29 PM
But alas, not all are gloomy and grim. As the saying goes, every dark cloud has a silver lightning. Yes, a ‘silver lightning from the black sky’ of our beloved nation was seen, perhaps a glimpse of the future. It has in fact arrived nonetheless.
Yes, you are right. The future is here. It may be slightly ahead of schedule. But there isn’t much choice either. It had a strong calling and felt compelled to arrive ahead of time.
It indeed heralds the dawn of a new awakening, long-awaited and quite welcomed by many but dreaded only by the enemies of change and reform.
Nothing captures this event better than the candid expression of the Spiritual Leader of PAS, YAB Tok Guru Nik Aziz, when he effortlessly exclaimed that “saya berasa dalam dunia baru” ( I felt like being in a New World) - when seated next to his once-upon-a-time-political-arch-rival, YB Mr Karpal Singh, Chairman of the DAP.
Yes you are right again. I’m talking about the Common Policy Framework, now dubbed the CPF, launched on their First Pakatan Convention on 19th December in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Malaysian Political Trajectory
I’m revisiting this ‘historic’ event unusually early. Like many perhaps, I wanted it to be made eternally “Current History”. I remember the advertisement insignia of the journal ‘Current History’ that tags “If you’re not current, you’re history”. While 19th December may be ‘historic’ in more than one sense, many wouldn’t want it to be just ‘history’.
If anything, 19th December should remain current, better still an early arrival of a vibrant political trajectory of the Malaysian political history for the next 50 years, the next 5 decades! Yes…. well in advance of the next General Election.
Quoting a Malaysian insider’s columnist, the race for control of Putrajaya in the next general election appears to have begun with the recent unveiling of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) common policy framework (CPF) and Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s National Key Results Areas (NKRAs).
While not wanting to disagree with the above assertion, the writer would want to believe that Pakatan’s CPF is much beyond the narrow zero-sum game of the political contestation of a parliamentary democracy.
The writer strongly believes that the CPF is the policy framework of a New Politics for a New Malaysia. After half a century of sovereign independence, Malaysia is now ready to make the next quantum leap of nation rebuilding.
Decades of Stagnation and Decay
The imperative need for change is all too evident and abound. The last 3 decades saw how the nation was almost bankrupted by unbridled extravagance; the squandering of our wealth despite the yearly admonition of the auditor-general’s report exposing endemic corruption and abuse of public money year in and year out, while our fundamental liberties trampled upon.
Suffice to paraphrase some current notable men of our nation as to depict the ruinous outcome of their ‘law-of-the-rule’ that have pervaded the entire gamut of our national life.
A constitutional law expert has called our nation Zimbabwe by another name. Without mincing his words, Professor Abdul Aziz Bari has likened those who hold the reins of power in Malaysia to a bunch of ‘thugs’. Numerous examples were cited in elaborating his accusation of the state of ‘lawlessness’ and bemoaned the travesty of justice when “the judiciary takes its cue from the government.”
The overturning of the decisions of the high court by the appeal court on numerous occasions smack of contempt; the like of MACC’s questioning time, Perak constitutional impasse etc, etc, while the setting up of the JPP (Federal Development Department) is downright ultra vires of the defined rights of the states, the continuous assault on the practice of Federalism as embedded and enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
The recent use of the Emergency Ordinance to define territorial waters in the Kelantan oil royalty issue is yet another example of the BN government’s blatant disregard for the law.
The second finance minister has now finally and fully concurred with the former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh that the economy is stagnating. The signs of a low growth economy are all around us. Wages have stagnated and the cost of living is ever-rising.
According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s share of GDP contributed by services was 46.2% in 1987. Ten years later, that share had grown by a mere 0.2%. Between 1994 and 2007, real wages grew by 2.6% in the domestic sector and by 2.8% in the export sector, which is to say, they were flat over that thirteen year period.
Pakatan Rakyat’s CPF
Pakatan Rakyat’s CPF has presented a novel and a rejuvenating framework for our nation-rebuilding well ahead of the general election. It is a policy advocacy to lead the rakyat and this nation out of the current worsening crisis.
The policies that are derived from adherence to the Federal Constitution and universal principles of justice will safeguard the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, which in turn will guarantee that the human rights and dignity of the people will continuously be defended and upheld.
The CPF has put down four major points to make the case to voters, by promising transparent and genuine democracy, a high-performance people-centric economy, social justice and human development, and better federal-state relationship and foreign policy. (refer to Dawn of a New Awakening for details).
The fact that it has been derived from a consensus achieved out of ‘debate and dissent’ from a 3 party coalition now called PAKATAN RAKYAT is both awesome and inspiring. PAS, together with DAP and PKR have now reasserted their commitment to the common policies, while putting their own diverging ideological convictions within their own party’s platform.
Pakatan reassures the Rakyat that we are in to seriously ‘walk our talk’ after policy are laid down. Last 20 months saw our tireless efforts, admittedly not without its shortcomings though. In realising the people’s aspiration and hope, Pakatan therefore declares our commitment to execute the agenda of new politics by mobilising the people’s power from the various races, religions and cultures as one force.
Clarifying PAS’ Islamic Advocacy in CPF.
Contrary to the accusation of mellowing and diluting its Islamic agenda, PAS has now come strong on her Islamic stance of attack on Umno/BN over the narrow racial approach of Malay Hegemony, perversion of power, the spread of corruption, the plunder of the nation’s wealth and the repression of the people’s rights, which are all in total contradiction with Islam.
PAS’ advocacy on Islamic Governance and Democracy is indeed distinct in the experience of Political Islam on the global stage. Given the truly plural politic of Malaysia and a mixed demography of the electorate, PAS’ coalition building experiment is unique and rare.
PAS now stresses on the imperative need for establishing Justice, the supreme and overriding purpose of Syariah. The articulation of PAS’ Islamic political advocacy in Pakatan is very much admired and supported by all, making its tagline of ‘PAS For All’ and soon ‘Islam for All’ the envy of its political nemesis, Umno, the Malay party.
PAS has come a long way in a short while after March 2008, to understand that they must not allow the repeat of the 11th General Election that saw PAS suffering one of its worst election debacles after only assuming the opposition leadership in the parliament for one term. PAS has now contextualized its electoral strategic objectives within the broader framework of Pakatan.
PAS has now debunked the fear of adherents of other faiths (Christians, Hindus and Buddhists) to Islam and tore down the barriers of race, religion and cultures, by advocating the Politics of Mutual Respect and Understanding (Politics of Lita’arafu).
PAS’ comrades in Pakatan have come to be familiarised with common verses of the Quran and now even the Tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, while the Chief Minister of Penang openly cherishes the Good Governance of the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz in advocating “Amar Ma’aruf and Nahi Mungkar”. (Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evils).
PAS by now should understand that the prudent approach of advocating the “Islamic Criminal Laws” could only be done within the ambit of democracy and through the ballot-box ie through persuasion and being mandated by the rakyat as a whole.
PAS must avoid the mistake of again being perceived as imposing Islam and the Islamic Criminal Laws (Hudud etc), on others, as it will subvert Pakatan’s CPF. Being a truly democratic Islamist party PAS must assure others that it has to achieve its objectives by complying with the parliamentary and democratic process of the country and it has to achieve it incrementally through a strategy of ‘winning hearts and minds’ of the entire rakyat through the ballot box.
We invite the Malaysian people to create a new consensus that is founded on principle of Justice for all and a genuine Constitutionalism.
This is the agenda of the future, now and that must be done if we are to regain the nation’s respect, freedom and dignity.
This is the path of redemption for the lost decades of this nation. Pakatan is ready for change. Aren’t we?