The only hope for this country is when Malaysians believe there is a better life after Umno and PAS, former minister Zaid Ibrahim said.
In suggesting that the Opposition forget about working with PAS, he said the idea that anyone, except Najib Razak, would do as prime minister had to be discarded too.
“What you must not do is to buy in to this idea that so long as Najib is defeated, then the country will be fine.
“The thinking is that if the Opposition can be united, not on fundamental political principles, but on seat allocation, then Najib will be defeated. I have heard of this political message before and I am appalled that it’s still being advocated with enthusiasm by so-called reformists.”
Speaking at a function last night, the former de-facto law minister recalled the time in 1987 when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah formed Semangat 46 and took on the BN, with the opposition working out seat-allocation agreements.
In the process, Zaid said, PAS took control of Kelantan in 1990 and is ruling the state till today.
“In that time, did Kelantan undergo the necessary political and social transformation to advance it towards democracy and rule of law? No. Has it now practised good governance? No. Has Tengku Razaleigh now become our beacon of hope? No. What we got instead was PAS, a Taliban-style political power, which is now moving for an amendment in Parliament for unlimited powers to the Shariah Courts, so they can open the new road to Hudud. So much for one-to-one contests.”
Zaid said in the 2008 and 2013 general elections, PAS was again roped in with great enthusiasm by the other opposition parties – just because it agreed not to talk about hudud for a while.
But, he said, PAS’s true colours surfaced eventually when it rejected Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership, and when it said the DAP was against Islam and dangerous to Muslims.
“The pact was broken, and it could not last because it was based on convenience. By that time PAS was already sharing power in Selangor, until today. Many in PKR still want to embrace PAS because they are afraid to lose power if they abandon PAS.”
Alluding to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia President Muhyidin Yassin, Zaid said: “Lately we have another leader who wants to be prime minister, and who has said he would be able to bring PAS to the negotiating table to ensure a one-to-one fight against the BN.
He would serve as a bridge to negotiate seat allocations because PAS has already said it will not talk directly with DAP and Amanah.”
Zaid added: “This idea of pursuing a one-to-one fight is being perpetrated by those who want to be PM. What they should be doing is canvassing for a one-to-one fight based on political beliefs of equality, of non-discrimination, and an agreement to uphold the dignity of all Malaysians.
“This country does not need politicians who offer quick fix solutions, just by changing the prime minister. We have to start from ground zero, to remove all traces of what has gone wrong; and restore leaders who are honest, and set up a new agenda for the country based on fairness and protecting the dignity of all Malaysians regardless of race or religion.”
He said, just as in a marriage, politics required that one chooses a political partner carefully. They should be partners who are committed to the fundamental principles by which the nation must be governed.
“Those who want Malaysia to be free from Taliban influence, who cherish democracy, freedom, and more equitable economic policies for the people, and who are against kleptocracy and corruption, should stand to one side, while those who want hegemony , discriminatory policies and authoritarian leaders, should stand on the other side.
“That would be a real one-to-one, the kind that we need. But we don’t see that happening. Everyone wants to win first and think later what to do with the country.”
Zaid said that months ago, he had suggested that PKR, Amanah and the DAP form a pact that would go beyond seat arrangement and which would be committed to a long-term vision for the nation.
This, he alleged, was not happening because some in PKR believed they could not live without PAS.
“If we want Malaysia to be better, we must restore the good principles and policies on which this country was founded. No compromises, no shortcuts, and certainly no accepting the idea that any prime minister will do. We will keep making the mistakes of the past and nothing will change.
“You must all remember this: There is no country anywhere in the world that has become a modern democracy, a safe country for future generations, without great sacrifice, including the loss of innocent lives. I am not asking you to die for this country, but at least stand up and be counted in the defence of the Malaysia we once knew, even if it takes a long time to achieve success.”
Saying some of his friends had asked him about his plans, Zaid added that he had a 50 per cent chance of contesting in the next election.
“I say 50 per cent for the following reasons. One, I have a criminal case pending against me, allegedly for insulting the Prime Minister (Najib) when I said he was dangerous and should step down. Even though my lawyers M Puravalen and Americk Sidhu are the best at what they do, I still have a 50 per cent chance of being convicted and disqualified from contesting.
“If that does not happen, then I have a 50 per cent chance of joining either DAP or Amanah. I hope they will accept me and give me a seat, if I apply to join them.
“Finally even if I want to contest, I only have a 50 per cent chance of raising enough money to finance the election, now that there is a proposal under a new law that sets no limit on how much a candidate can spend during the election, a proposal that will be disastrous for opposition candidates with little money,” Zaid said.
FMT Reporters Online