Our government needs to come up with a long-term strategy to steer our nation forward, to solve the problems, many of which aree brought forward from the previous regime, some from within.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent call for the Malays to change their value system in order to succeed is a good start. Positive values are the foundation of success for any community, groups and the nation as a whole.
Lately, there have been groups that have become quite radical in their demands for Malay rights. The mass rally to oppose our government’s original intention to ratify the UN-sponsored International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination proceeded even after the government announced the convention would not be ratified.
The Seafield temple controversy, which started off as conflicts of organised thugs and hooligans, was capitalised on and turned into a racial issue to demand the resignations of Indian Malaysian ministers. Even firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s unfortunate death – the culprit is unknown – is capitalised on into a hate campaign.
Speeches of hatred have become overly fiery and often devoid of rationale. Threats of repeating the May 13 incident and running amok if demands are not met have been issued once too often. These are works of sponsored thuggish hooliganism intent on creating chaos that will benefit those who have been and will be indicted for their crimes against the nation.
Efforts are now seen to push for a declaration of an Islamic state with a hidden agenda to antagonise other ethnic groups, leading to racial strife.
These people do not show concern for a recent news report that Felda is broke and saddled with debts totalling RM8bn. Neither was there concern shown for the mismanagement of Lembaga Tabung Haji and underperforming assets worth RM19.9bn. These are important issues that concern them directly, but they seem oblivious to these issues.
In all the confusion of hate speeches and protests, politicians from the Pakatan Harapan parties were not only directionless, but also often contradictory of one another. They could have spoken in unison on decisions taken by the cabinet. Either a narrative how our nation should move forward is unclear, or each tried to be individual hero instead of providing the leadership our society very much needed from them.
Our nation is moving into a new year with rising global interest rate, a weak stock market, a contracting world economy and a trade war between of the world’s two superpowers threatening a contagion effect of more protectionism and deflationary pressure.
Within our country a weakening ringgit, job losses, and declining oil prices threaten a situation that is inflationary with growth stagnation. Above all, we have a RM1 trillion debt hole to fill, and tens of billions worth of unsettled lopsided infrastructure projects to deal with.
The outlook for 2019 and beyond is not promising. Malaysians must pull ourselves together to face imminent hardship arising from a global phenomenon. If we stay united, the hardship will be shared and lessened.
Patriot urges all Malaysians to think global, stay united, and together we shall weather the storm ahead.
Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.