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We are in a s***hole – who do we blame; who do we condemn?

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Let us forge ahead in unity and solidarity, determined in the struggle to restore democracy and create a New Malaysia, P Ramakrishnan writes.

Let me state my position clearly. This article is not written in favour of Anwar Ibrahim or to oppose him. I am just trying to be rational.

Is this the end of the road for Anwar, as some suggest? Has he reached the end of his political career, as others claim?

I don’t think so! But some politicians seem to think so; others are busy whipping up sentiments of hatred to get rid of Anwar for selfish reasons.

Some have even been arguing that he had lost the confidence of the opposition. How so? Was he defeated in a majority contest? There has been no such contest to confirm their claim.

A vote of confidence is only applicable when you have the majority, but Anwar never had this majority in Parliament. So, what is the premise for this conclusion?

Paid cyber-troopers and troublemakers have been working full steam following the passage of Budget 2021. Their target is Anwar, creating the impression that he had blundered; otherwise, the budget would have been defeated. They cite his last-minute instruction – not to support the call for a bloc vote at the policy stage – as a serious mistake.

They pretend as if the Budget could have been defeated on 26 November at the second reading stage. Let’s get real. The opposition never had the numbers to defeat the Budget. This has been amply demonstrated throughout the Budget session. All through the 11 occasions when a bloc vote was called, they did not have the numbers and the vote went in favour of Perikatan Nasional everytime. On 15 December on the 11th occasion the bloc vote was called, the opposition’s best number was 108 (against 111).

To start with, the numbers were not there and to expect the Budget to be defeated was a pipe dream. If the failure to defeat the Budget was in any way construed as a reflection of Anwar’s leadership, it is not correct. It should rather be seen as a vote of no confidence on the ENTIRE opposition! Fixing the blame on an individual for a collective failure is foolishness.

Anwar also came under fire from his opponents after he failed to prove he had the numbers in the Dewan Rakyat to defeat Budget 2021.They ridiculed him and constantly referred to his press conference on 23 September, when he claimed to possess a “strong, formidable and convincing” majority in the House.

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The truth of the matter is Anwar never laid claim to have a “strong, formidable and convincing” majority to defeat the Budget. What he claimed was that he had the majority to bring down the PN government at that point in time.

Anwar was granted an audience by the Agong on 22 September 2020, but unfortunately His Majesty had to be admitted into the National Heart Institute (IJN) as “he was feeling under the weather.” His Majesty was discharged on 2 October.

The proposed audience that was granted on 22 September provided a window of opportunity for Anwar to stake his claim, but sadly for Anwar, that opportunity was lost when the Agong was warded in IJN the previous day and the audience had to be called off. The Agong was discharged on 2 October 2020 – 10 days later.

This 10-day period provided a breather and ample opportunity for Pakatan Harapan to win over all those Umno MPs who were prepared to jump ship and support Anwar. His claim was not fictitious. This was not a fantasy but a fact that was confirmed by none other than Zahid Hamidi, the Umno president. (See this Aliran article for details.)

These unscrupulous Umno MPs switched back to PN and betrayed themselves once again for greed and gain and broke their pledge to Anwar. This was the reason why Budget 2021 could not be defeated. Budget 2021 could not be defeated because no MP from the PN or Umno side stood up to be on the side of justice and fairness.

This betrayal is no different from the one suffered by Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself. Didn’t he bring over some 13 Umno MPs into Bersatu to strengthen his power and position in PH? What happened? They betrayed him and sided with Muhyiddin Yassin, and later Mahathir himself was sacked from his own party. For these people, there is no sense of self-respect, shame or honour – it is natural behaviour! It is seemingly part of their culture. It takes people of character and integrity to stay true to their word.

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That said, why are they going after Anwar so viciously? Why are they vilifying and demonising him so maliciously, if not to camouflage their own lack of self-respect and the pure pursuit of their own gain and greed?

It is not difficult to understand. Of all the opposition Malay leaders, Anwar is seen to be the most dangerous, with enough persistence and stamina to mount a formidable challenge and threaten their grip on power. Therefore, he must be destroyed by hook or by crook. It is as simple as that!

They perceive that by going after Anwar, they hope to divert the actual situation and spare the person who was primarily responsible for the pathetic situation we are in. It is a deliberate attempt to hoodwink us and sideline the real issue.

Who is responsible for this s***hole we are in? Not Anwar! Not PH! One man is responsible! He, on his own, without consultation with PH leaders who put him in power, resigned unilaterally and caused this present mess.

Without any respect for the over five-and-a-half million Malaysians who voted out Barisan Nasional for the first time in our 61-year history, he frustrated our aspirations, dashed our dreams and crushed our hopes by throwing away what was a hard-fought victory. He nullified our mandate arrogantly.

On 16 March 2019, PH had 139 federal MPs – only nine short of the 148 MPs needed to secure a two-thirds super majority in the 222-seat Parliament. PH’s position was invincible; it was set to rule for many decades.

Reforms were creeping in slowly, but the kleptocrats were hounded mercilessly and charged in courts seriously, as never before. Many looters, plunderers and thieves were in the dock staring at inevitable convictions. All these valiant efforts and struggles were brought to nought by this one man who has ruined our democracy.

If only he had remained a man of honour and faithfully kept his word and fulfilled his promise to hand over the baton to Anwar after two years as solemnly and collectively agreed upon, it would have been a smooth transition – but that wasn’t his game plan; it had never been!

Who is this man? It’s none other than Mahathir!

Forget him, forget about ever trusting the kleptocrats, dismiss any thought of working with them, don’t ever dream of creating a united, stable nation for ALL with their help. It will never happen! Their strategy has always been to divide and rule forever!

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The Opposition should rally together to save our beloved Malaysia. There is much to do – and must be done – to rescue our motherland from the clutches of the corrupt and greedy politicians.

We must wipe out corruption, save our economy and provide jobs for the unemployed and homes for the homeless. We must raise the standard of education that has deteriorated, ensure that our schools are staffed by a multi-ethnic workforce that reflects our plural society and promote peace, harmony and unity among our citizens.

We must amend our Constitution to disallow ‘party-hopping’ that mocks our right to vote for a party of our choice. We must forbid a caretaker government from announcing new policies and granting allocations to induce voters during an election campaign period through laws that are enforceable.

We must amend the standing orders of Parliament so that motions of no confidence will take priority over government bills to make democracy meaningful. A mandatory 14-day notice must be given to announce the vacancy of the Speaker’s post, to allow time for nominations to be invited before such an election takes place. Even if there was no contest, the sole contending candidate must be proposed and elected by members of Parliament – not declared as automatically elected.

We must investigate all the instant millionaires who acquired their wealth through corruption and bring to book all those who aided and abetted in the plundering of the nation’s wealth. We must ensure that those facing criminal charges involving the nation’s wealth do not go scot-free and those who had been released recently are re-charged to face the music.

Clearly there is much to be done and achieved. It calls for the entire opposition in the country to come together with the mission to save Malaysia and serve the nation with commitment.

The plea of the people is this: forge ahead in unity and solidarity, determined in the struggle to restore democracy and create a New Malaysia to be a country for all Malaysians.

Let the guiding principle be: “Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

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