By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
This is the most difficult article for me to pen because I am torn between the feeling of loyalty, thoughts of rationality and utter desperation. I would never have written this article if I did not think that it is critically important because of my simple duty as a Muslim and a responsible Malaysian. I mean no disrespect to the greatest personality in Malaysia's history, from my perspective at least, as well as to his most honored family especially Kak Wan and Nurul Izzah. This family was once in the hearts of all good Malaysians regardless of race and religion and they still are in many ways.
Malaysia is standing at a precipice risking total destruction whether one talks of integrity, morality, economic sustainability and spirituality. We thought we had it bad under Tun M's dictatorship. We thought we had it bad under Najib's rule of using the Malay and Islamic narratives as weapons while the country's coffers became empty. But now we face the ultimate challenge of total mistrust of one ethnic group against the other 38 ethnic groups that forms the bulk of the Malaysian citizenry. To wait for another 3 years is no longer an option. The option is a sudden coup or a snap election in 3 months' time. The opposition is not an inspiring group to good Malaysians because of the leadership tussle between the two trouble makers and historical figures of the country, Tun M and Anwar.
The DAP and Amanah are graciously offering Tun M another stint as PM although every Malaysian knows that Tun M was planning his own private coup ever since he took the oath as the PM for the second time. PKR has accused the DAP and Amanah of being disloyal to Anwar and the Reformasi spirit. Anwar, sadly and disappointingly, has said that he has 'suffered so much' and still thinks that Malaysians owe him a spotlight as the next PM. The PN is laughing at this situation while ordering more Mercedes and Lexus for their official cars. They are also bringing in their heavy weight weapon of war for the snap election in the form of the RUU355 to rally the Malays once again into their corner. Muafakat Nasional smells a landslide victory in the Malay majority seats. Muhyiddin and Azmin may no longer matter and will become a memory if that happens. Unless Sabah and Sarawak manage to steer the country's election and narrative away from the toxic narrative of racial and religious extremist, there would be little hope for the next two generations of Malaysians.
I want to remind Anwar about his own words in the Deklarasi Permatang Pauh 20 years ago where the Reformasi movement was launched that eventually toppled both Tun M and UMNO from power. I also want to remind Anwar about what I understand from the meaning of the word 'pengorbanan' or sacrifice.
I am a hard core Reformasi supporter ever since it was launched. I owned 300 CDs and many publication of speeches and important events of the Reformasi. My house is an archive of Reformasi artifacts so that my children should never forget how one person can use the state apparatus to strip the dignity of one man but that man proved that his patience and courage outlasted such vile actions of a sitting public official. No individual should ever be put through what Anwar had gone through. But now we still have the far greater sacrifices of Teoh Beng Hock, Raymond Koh, Amri and others whose fate have been and suspected much worse than Anwar.
When Anwar read out the Deklarasi Permatang Pauh, the call of Reformasi rang clear in his voice. He listed that Reformasi was to reinstall the integrity, dignity and sanctity of the all people in Malaysia which can be as reflected and guaranteed by the original intent of the constitution after it was utterly destroyed by one sitting PM. Now, I want to remind Anwar that no where did the Deklarasi Permatang Pauh promised the PM ship to any one name. It was a people movement and the people will decide.
Secondly, I wish to remind Anwar about the meaning of pengorbanan or sacrifice. Now, it is not my intention to look at the word in a scholarly manner but in the manner off its inherent spirit and general acceptance. I understand pengorbanan to mean sacrificing everything we hold dear without expecting any personal reward. Is that not it? Because if we crave a particular reward and expect it to be awarded to us, then it can no longer be called pengorbanan but 'investment'. Only in investing or investment that we expect a personal return of the said investment in terms of more wealth or/and better positions. If Anwar, and many others struggled and sacrificed during the Reformasi years then it was for 'others' to reap the benefit. Of course if, like Nelson Mandela, after 27 years of seemingly hopeless imprisonment, he came out, fought an election and became President, but that is for God to determine. Mandela could have easily died in prison.
Scholars, foes and friends view that Tun M is a weapon for the PH. He was the cause of compromising most if not all the public institutions with his web of patronage. Thus, he knows every nook and cranny of the system. He is like a Virus. Either you are infected by the Virus or you are the one sending out the Virus as a weapon of war. Anwar has no credibility as a weapon of war. Furthermore, Mahathir is stinging from being screwed by two of his trusted 'budak suruhan' who later on implemented the Sheraton Move toppling the old man with surgical and professional precision.
Of course, good Malaysians now knows that Tun M is also the wielder of this lethal weapon. He is a weapon to PH but he himself is the weapon for his own agenda. Dr. Maszlee Malik, a staunch Reformasi and Islamic Reformist was right in his political assessment. Maszlee knows Mahathir from the Reformasi years that caused him to be cold-storaged in academic promotion at his own university. And yet, Maszlee still believes that Tun M can be the 'remedy' for PH. Anwar cannot come close. He does not have the numbers. Even when he had no numbers and was surrounded by internal enemies, he still forged ahead to unseat the incumbent. His suicide attempt failed and good Malaysians suffer now in utter despair.
Whether Malaysians wait for 3 years or 3 months, the result will still be the same if Anwar does not make the final and truest 'sacrifice'. In Islam, Muslims are to trust Allah after exhausting all deeds and efforts intelligently and considerately. Anwar should listen to his own religious advice and ponder whether he is into Reformasi for the people or for his own self. Good Malaysians are completely fed up and disgusted with these two leaders but at the same time they understand that this needs a final resolve for a quick end to our suffering. The path of Nelson Mandela may still be an option to Anwar by divine intervention perhaps (speaking as a Muslim, of course). Or, there may be 'other' political permutations being hatched that may result in a more palatable solution for good Malaysians.
The alternative is a one-for-only-one-Malaysia as opposed to a Malaysia for ALL.
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)