Philippines Revival Of Sabah Claim An Attempt To Distract From Duterte’s Badly-Bungled Covid Response

It appears that the Philippines is continuing with its illegal and fantasy-driven claim on Sabah. Its Foreign Secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr has recently announced plans to reactivate the country’s so-called “North Borneo Bureau” while claiming that “Sabah is ours (the Philippines)”.

Make no mistake, Sabah is and will remain an integral part of Malaysia. The Philippines revival of its “claim” is a desperate attempt to distract its public from the monumental failures of the Rodrigo Duterte administration, including its badly bungled Covid-19 response.

Nevertheless, it represents an affront to Malaysia’s sovereignty and dignity which cannot be ignored.

Secretary Locsin’s actions are nothing less than an attempt to interfere in our country’s democratic processes, especially given that Sabah is undertaking state elections at this very moment.

They are moreover a breach of the ASEAN principle of non-interference in the affairs of member states. It is unfortunate that they are engaging in such divisive actions at a time when Southeast Asia ought to be standing together in the face of attempts by certain superpowers to divide our region and turn it into a battleground for their geopolitical rivalries with each other.

While it is right for Malaysia to not entertain the Philippine claims, our government must also consider a stronger response if the latter does not cease and desist from its wild rhetoric.

As the saying goes: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” There is a danger that this might become a reality if we fail to take active steps to put a stop to the Philippines’ aggressive attempts to delegitimise Sabah’s rightful place as part of Malaysia.

The Philippines actions are not that of a friend. The Malaysian government must do much, much more than it has done so far to protect our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
CHAIR OF PARLIAMENTARY DEFENCE AND HOME AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Rosmah’s Trial Exposes How Corruption Impacted Education In Sabah And Sarawak

There have been a number of shocking revelations emanating from the trial of Rosmah Mansor in relation to the solar hybrid energy to schools in Sarawak project.

This includes claims from a former aide of hers that a special team of cybertroopers was set up with a monthly budget of RM100,000 to protect her online reputation.

Rosmah is alleged to have solicited RM187.5 million and receiving RM6.5 million in bribes in the project.

The allegations unavoidably give rise to disturbing questions about how the culture of corruption that existed under the previous Najib Razak administration has impacted on the state of education in the country—especially in the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah.

Funds that ought to have gone to helping as well as providing opportunities for the youth of those states are now alleged to have been squandered for the interests of the elite. Is it no wonder that our education system in general continues to lag behind other countries and hence stunt the country’s potential?

Moreover, the recent Veveonah Moshibin controversy in Sabah suggests that not only do East Malaysian students face numerous challenges in terms of facilities and infrastructure, but also in the form of ignorance, bad faith and outright prejudice from the current Perikatan Nasional government.

Expecting a resolution to these problems from the administration of the day is perhaps a remote prospect when one considers how it is essentially a confederation of vested interests—many of whom were voted out of office during the 2018 General Elections—brought together for the sole purpose of arrogating power to themselves.

Malaysian voters—especially those in East Malaysia—can and must judge for themselves which coalition is better placed to ensure the well-being of their future generations.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN PARLIAMENTARY EDUCATION SPOKESPERSON
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

The Decision On The Najib Case

Justice has been done today with the conviction of Dato’ Sri Najib Razak in the SRC International case involving all 7 charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

This proves that the years-long struggle to expose and bring to justice the abuses of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal by so many patriotic Malaysians has finally been vindicated.

There should be no longer any doubt that a grievous wrong was done to Malaysia via the 1MDB scandal. The rakyat can now judge for themselves after years of attempts at denial and obfuscation not just by Najib but by his enablers.

It is crucial that the various investigations, court cases and efforts to recover stolen funds in relation to 1MDB must continue without delay, fear or favour.

Every cent that was stolen must be returned and all guilty parties brought to justice.

While today’s court case is a welcome development, it is just the beginning and not an end in the cause to bring this sordid saga to an end.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

The Government Must Protect Our Credibility In The South China Sea

Our Foreign Minister, Dato’ Seri Hishammudin Hussein must be more careful and precise in his pronouncements moving forward.

The South China Sea dispute is an international issue. As such, statements by our leaders on this matter will likely be scrutinised not only domestically but on the world stage as well.

Hence, not only is Malaysia’s territory and sovereignty at stake, but also its reputation and credibility.

Also, the current government must continue to address the fundamental question of how Malaysia can defend its rights in the waters.

While diplomatic approaches are ideal, Malaysia’s leaders must show that it is serious in defending its national sovereignty.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
CHAIR, PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE FOR DEFENCE AND HOME AFFAIRS
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

All Parties Have Stated Their Positions , Focus Should Be On The Rakyat

The Opposition should not be focused on positions but on defending the interests of the rakyat in these difficult times.

We should not be trying to relitigate the past but focused on the future. Still, it cannot be denied that Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the 2018 General Elections was not the sole work of any one individual or party.

It was a collective effort, borne by the sacrifices of many, which came to fruition because of the support of the people of Malaysia.

The rakyat backed us because of our Buku Harapan manifesto as well as our pledge that a transition of power would take place. That is what defeated UMNO-Barisan Nasional. That is why KEADILAN won 47 seats, DAP 42, BERSATU 13, AMANAH 11 and our ally WARISAN 8 in that election.

Again, we should not be preoccupied with questions about who our next Prime Ministerial candidate should be. Each party, including Pakatan Harapan has stated its position. The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament has also been named. These facts should be respected.

The crucial thing is for the parties in Opposition to concentrate on working to hold the government accountable for its actions as well as to ensure that there are wise policies in place to facilitate an economic recovery.

We were sent to Parliament to make sure that Malaysians have the jobs, education, aid and opportunities they deserve.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN ORGANISING SECRETARY
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Pakatan Harapan’s Future In The ‘New Normal’

For supporters of Pakatan Harapan (PH), the 2nd anniversary of the 9 May 2018 General Elections will be a sombre affair.

It is more than just because our alliance lost power at the Federal level due to the controversial “Sheraton Move”.

Malaysia is also beginning to grapple with the socio-economic fallout of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Even with the opening of our economy via the Conditional MCO (CMCO), which, lets face it, has also been marred by disagreements between our Federal and State governments, it will take a lot of work and time before we get back to where we once were.

This is the health and economic ‘new normal’.

The fluid political situation following the ‘Sheraton move’ is the political ‘new normal’.

All the same, ordinary Malaysians were suffering even before the country was hit by the last wave of political chicanery and the pandemic. This suffering will continue and even exacerbate without wise and transparent policies that are centred on the rakyat rather than vested interests.

So yes, while we must “focus on the economy”, it will all come to naught without good and open politics.

Any economic recovery or future growth will not be sustainable or equitable without strong institutions as well as political reform.

And I believe the best hope for this in Malaysia lies in PH getting its act together.

As the old saying goes, if we fail to learn the lessons of history, we will repeat it.

Why PH won

Forging a better political and hence economic road ahead for Malaysia’s ‘new normal’ is key to understand why PH succeeded and failed.

Two points are clear.

First, we must acknowledge that PH won in 2018 not just because of the rakyat’s anger over the 1MDB scandal and the abuses of Najib Razak.

That was a major factor, but it was not the only one. We would not have won if we campaigned on it alone.

Malaysian voters gave us a parliamentary majority because PH won them over to the promises outlined in our Buku Harapan manifesto.

No manifesto is perfect—but I strongly believe that had we implemented in substantively—it would have laid the seeds for a pro-rakyat and globally competitive Malaysian economy.

This is because the rakyat is our greatest asset and no plan for the future will succeed if it doesn’t stand up for them.

For my part, I certainly never shied away from making it the centrepiece whenever and wherever I campaigned in 2018.

Second, we were united. The rapprochement between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim was a watershed in Malaysian politics.

That too was one of the reasons why we won. 9 May 2018 couldn’t have happened if these two icons had not put aside their differences for the future of the country.

Our mistakes

But we must also be honest about the mistakes that were made.

The PH Cabinet that was set up after the elections did not reflect the realities of the Parliamentary strength of the different component parties.

I will be the first to admit that there were many excellent Ministers in the ranks—but others frankly let the people down in terms of their performance and their actions during the “Sheraton Move.”

Only the man who was Prime Minister at the time can say for certain why his Cabinet was formed the way it was and why he picked the people he did.

BERSATU’s decision to welcome UMNO crossovers virtually lock, stock and barrel also did not help things.

There certainly was a failure to communicate, to really talk in an honest and heartfelt manner between ourselves and the rakyat.

Moving ahead, we will likely see attempts to attribute the failure of PH on how the Mahathir-Anwar transition was handled, or rather, bungled.

But again, it was a failure to communicate that led to the breakdown.

Anwar consistently said that Dr Mahathir should be given time to implement the reforms he felt the country needed.

Communication and compromise are a two-way street.

The Buku Harapan should not have been abandoned

This leads me to my next point. Another grave disappointment was the way the Buku Harapan was also seemingly consigned to the rubbish bin.

It was treated as something of a joke, even by certain leaders of the government that was elected on its planks to implement it.

Don’t they—and certainly we, the rakyat—after the “Sheraton Move”, now wish that they had taken it more seriously and worked more urgently to fulfil it?

Wouldn’t we have been better off, or at least a little bit better prepared to deal with the ‘new normal’ now facing us, had they done so?

If the “Shared Prosperity Vision” (SPV) that came later seemed hollow and unsubstantial, it was because it was missing the strengthened human capital and economic fundamentals implementing the manifesto would have brought.

People will say that the Buku Harapan is old news and that we should move on.

Still, how do we build for the future if our governments keep changing what they stand for?

There will ALWAYS be local, regional and global black swans that will throw administrations off guard.

Weak ones bend. Strong ones adapt but continue to pursue their goals.

What future will Malaysia have if all its governments can or want to do is react to events?

If we stand for everything, we stand for nothing.

There must be a plan for the country. The manifesto was it. But we failed to follow through.

What next for PH? For Malaysia?

Moving forward, PH cannot hope to win if all we are relying on is for Perikatan Nasional (PN) to implode.

Its disunity is a serious question that cannot be batted away. But that will not be enough for Malaysian voters to want to send PH back to Putrajaya.

Rather, we must regain and recommit to the reformist, rakyat-centric spirit that so animated us in 2018.

We must show Malaysians that we will protect and grow their livelihoods as well as rights.

And we must do so as one coalition with one voice.

We cannot be prisoners of history.

But again, if we fail to learn from the mistakes of the past, we will repeat them.

Let us be honest about the mistakes we made and avoid repeats as we regroup to face what lies ahead.

Malaysians desperately need hope. PH must be able to give it to them—but we must be honest to them and with ourselves.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT