Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Speech at Save Malaysia Gathering

27th March, 2016
Shah Alam Convention Centre

Good afternoon.

I come here today not as the former Secretary General of MIC nor as a member of MIC.

I come here as a concerned citizen of Malaysia to say what is on my mind. Nothing more, nothing less.

Martin Luther King once said, “ultimately along the way of life, an individual must stand up and be counted and be willing to face the consequences whatever they are.”

I think the time has come for ME to stand up and be counted. And here I am.

I think the time for all Malaysians to stand up and be counted has come too.

Corruption in this country has reached the highest level and to such dizzying heights where we now look at the embezzlement of 100 million as a small amount. (I think all of you know it is small compared to what).

Yes we usually make some noise about it. Write some comments on FB or tweeter and after some time move on to other things to complain about.

We seldom do anything about it.

We always assume that somebody else will do something about it.

(Well guess what? There is nobody else but us citizens of this country. If we don’t do something about it, nobody else will.)

For the longest time Malaysians have been craving for change. But believe me, that change will not come until and unless we as citizens of this country stand up, speak up and bring about THAT change.

My fellow Malaysians, please ask yourself these questions:

Will you be living behind a better Malaysia for your children then the one that you inherited from your parents?

Is this the sort of Malaysia that you want your children and their children’s children to grow up in?

If the answer is no, then we must do something. Its our responsibility to leave behind a better Nation for our children.

Therefore, my dear fellow citizens,
If it is not us, then who?
If it is not  now, then when?

And to my friends in BN - For how long will you remain silent?

For how long are you going to defend the indefensible?

Enough is enough.

Wahai rakan-rakan sekalian, untuk berapa lamakah anda ingin menegakkan benang yang basah?

Tolonglah ingat prinsip rukun negara:

“Kesetiaan Kepada Raja dan Negara”

Ya, kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara, bukannya kesetiaan kepada pemimpin.

Dan pastinya bukan kesetiaan kepada pemimpin tertentu.

Kesetiaan kita kepada pemimpin adalah terhad, iaitu kita harus setia kepada pemimpin setakat mana beliau sendiri setia kepada Negara dan bertindak demi kepentingan negara.

Apabila seseorang pemimpin tidak lagi setia kepada Negara, maka kita juga tidak perlu setia kepada pemimpin tersebut.
Malah, jikalau  kita masih mendokong pemimpin tersebut tanpa menghiraukan kesannya kepada negara kerana kongkongan parti politik atau kepentingan peribadi, maka kita sendiri telah menderhaka terhadap kepada Negara kita.

My fellow Malaysians,

Malaysia was at one time poised to be one of the young tigers of Asia. Right now we are struggling not to be at the bottom of the pit.

Speakers before me have spoken extensively about the current situation in our country and I do not wish to repeat the same thing here.

I invite my fellow citizens to look at the long term reform needed to strengthen democracy and accountability in Malaysia.

In a democracy, leaders come and go. Sometimes the going part is a little more harder.

But the mechanism that ensures that leaders that come, adhere to democratic principles are its legal institutions.

These legal institutions are the pillars that uphold our democracy.

These institutions are the ones that stand between tyranny cloaked in democracy and the liberty of its people.

Over the years we have seen the all powerful executive branch of our government usurp and undermine these pillars of democracy.

What are some of these institutions that have come under threat and what is that we need?

We need a free and independent judiciary,
a press that dares to write the truth without fear of punitive action,
an Attorney General Chambers that is free to prosecute wrongdoers without fear or favour,
an Anti Corruption Agency that is allowed to do its job without external interference and
a Registrar of Societies that is truly unbiased,  just to name a few.

The AG Chambers which is invested with powers to prosecute wrongdoers is the latest to be undermined in our country. All of you know what happened. What is the big hurry in replacing an Attorney General with only 69 days remaining for him in office? His abrupt removal under the prevailing circumstances can only imply a more sinister plot underneath.

MACC, the body entrusted to weed out corruption has been so undermined that whenever it charges someone, it is either a small fry, an opposition leader or own party leaders that the powers that be want to get rid off. And whenever this body is seen actually doing its job, you see high ranking officers being transferred with immediate effect.
How can a supposedly independent body function under such circumstances?

We have also seen in recent times that the Registrar of Societies lording over societies and political parties. The Societies Act that was enacted to ensure more self-governance of societies and political parties has been so twisted in its interpretation that the Registrar of Societies can effectively strip the powers of an elected president and ultimately hold the power of life and death over any organization. I think most political parties had such an encounter with the ROS.

My fellow citizens, the movement that has been started now is unprecedented in our nation’s history.

Leaders and representatives of different and even opposing political parties are here, NGOs, members of civil society and people of all ages, of all walks of life, of different ethnicity and religion are here.

We are so diverse and yet are all united by a common cause – Towards a better Malaysia. And I am proud to be part of this movement.

Together I truly believe we can build a better Malaysia.

That is why I feel that this movement isn’t just about one man.

This movement is about the aspiration of every single Malaysian for a better Malaysia, free from corruption and abuse of power.

I would like to recite a phrase from Thirukural, the Tamil treasure trove of wisdom for all ages and all aspects of life as a reminder for all Malaysians.

Idipparai Illathe Yemaraa Manan

Kedupar Illa-nung Kedum

It means - A leader without men to rebuke him will perish even without enemies to destroy him.

I always believe that the role of citizens in a healthy democracy is not merely to vote once every five years but also to ensure that those elected into power are not corrupt and abide by the underlining principles of democracy throughout.

And that is why robust and independent legal institutions  are a must in a true democracy. These are the institutions that provide the check and balance in a democracy.

We should not allow any politician or political party to undermine these institutions, whoever they are.

Any other interpretation of democracy nullifies  the notion of

“Government of the people, by the people and for the people”.

Yes, please remember that - for the people - the government of the day must be for the people, not to perpetuate its own survival.

God bless Malaysia. Lets save Malaysia.

Thank you.