Patriot members consists also of war veterans who had served the nation well not only in combating communists and insurgents but also in taking part and leading peacekeeping missions successfully in several destinations in the world.
Given our extensive experience – including setting the climate for governments to function in war-torn or conflict-ridden environments, Patriot views the current political mess in Malaysia seriously.
Much has been said and shared among concerned citizens, including experts in their own right. But we are still far from resolving the maddening, intensifying political battles which have conclusively compounded our war on Covid, leading to crippling economic and social paralysis.
Drawing from our pool of experiences, Patriot tables here several wartime strategies that must be given immediate traction among politicians if we are to slow down the pandemic and remedy its ramifications on societal wellbeing and the nation’s economy, which threatens to crash soon.
First, all political parties must be strict and immediate about their party principles. They must take disciplinary action and sack those who have betrayed the very party that gave them the ticket to be elected as a member of Parliament or who do not toe the supreme council’s decision taken in the interest of party principles and its membership.
Second, those political parties that are opposed to the current leadership must unite to serve the nation first and foremost. Collaboration forms the fundamental espirit de corps needed to strengthen political defence.
Third, come to the defence of the nation’s magna carta – the Federal Constitution and its constitutional monarchy. Make your joint statement imprinted for all to see – including royalty. Give every citizen the right and access to embrace your stand crafted in the sole interest of country, King and citizens. Spell out why you need to come together and what action you commit together and will stand accountable for.
Fourth, call for the immediate convening of Parliament strictly for passing a vote of confidence. If need be, use the machinery at your political parties’ disposal to solicit approval from citizens. This is not too difficult to achieve with the tools and technologies of communication available.
Fifth, use measurable, rational and fair parameters to identify and agree who among you should be the prime minister in the event the present leadership falls out. The principle of democracy must prevail because our nation is not a regime, a totalitarian state or communist in make-up. The party with the most number of seats gets to appoint its party president to be the prime minister.
Sixth, drastically cut down on the cabinet size and use private sector management principles to execute responsibilities. There should be minimum bureaucracy with clear line-and-command parameters in place. Set your governmental goals clearly and transparently to enable the public to monitor, feedback and work alongside.
Seventh, use the institutions of governance including the judiciary, police, the civil service and all state bodies as well as the various committed NGOs of credible standing to galvanise national strengths to combat Covid – not for political expediency as is the case now.
Eight, enlist leading professionals and experts in all sectors and disciplines to do national service. This is the time when the country needs the best and tested capabilities of citizens who can add value to efforts to combat the pandemic, the economic failures and the social dilemma.
Ninth, do not be tempted to see this way forward as an opportunity to profit from but put the future of the nation and its people ahead of all other priorities. Sacrifice is the benchmark of our political struggles to right the country on the health, economic and social frontiers.
Tenth, let the next general election come at its own pace when the nation is healed of the devastating Covid dangers or at least when we can convincingly declare that it is safe to go to the polls, by World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
Retired Brigadier General Dato’ Mohd Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriot Association (Patriot)