Grand Unity Government: Unifying and Rebuilding Malaysia

Likewise, all political leaders across all aisles, must also encourage their respective followers to move forward and do not engage in actions that can fan racial and religious...

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Published by SinarDAILY & Malaysiakini, image by SinarDAILY.

Not many people are aware of one critical fact: that Malaysia is a federation of 14 states (including Federal Territories). This despite all the symbols and numbers of stripes on the Malaysian national flag that signify the collection of 14 states to form one country, it is often seen as a polity almost self-existential on its own.

To the degree anyone still questions about the structural integrity of the population, that is whether the multi-racial and multi-credal country, can last and last, with the goal to thrive, cynics often point to the unlikelihood of Malaysia to get everything all into one unifying act.

As this is written, there are 60 countries that could crack economically and politically in 2023 according to the estimate of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, according to the President of Joko Widodo of Indonesia, in a Tik Tok video that has gone viral in the latter half of 2022. He reminded the audience that “Indonesia” is not one of them. Thus, regardless of the pain in the spiral in the cost of living, Indonesia can pull through in any looming recession, even if it were to last two to three years.

The time frame of 3 to 4 years is based on the view of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has prepared the British to face the austerity drive. There is a need for the United Kingdom (UK) to tighten its belt, as the government pulls back from higher public spending. The world economy has been suffering from the triple whammy of the Pan Slavic war between Russia and Ukraine and the ostensible attempt of the United States (US) to decouple themselves economically, and the effects of the Covid Zero policy that has made China’s economy moving in spurts, in turn, affecting the supply chain of the world of international commerce.

Under such adverse circumstances, the Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) of Malaysia, which has been growing from 2010 to be exposed to global trade by 110 percent, it goes without saying that Malaysia would not be spared from the triple whammy too. It does not mean the Malaysian economy would tail-spil into a recession in-eluctably but the likelihood is strong.

In complying with the royal advice of the monarch and the Conference of the Malay Rulers on November 24, a unity government was indeed formed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the afternoon of that very same day at 5 PM. Barely 3 hours later, the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia was already working with the press. That none of the constitutional provisions that touch on the central role of Islam, the rights and customs of Malays, would ever be affected, even though the Coalition of Hope (Harapan) under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has received, arguably, according to one study, 11 percent of the Malay votes, as opposed to 94 percent and 83 percent of the Chinese and Indian votes. 

What is worth noting is that even given the nature of the parliament, where no side truly gained a majority of the votes to form a government, not unless as many coalition pacts work together to first cross the minimal 112 votes in a legislative chamber of 222 parliamentary seats, based on the first past the post system, Malaysians of all races and religions, did not fall into their worst temptation to bay for the blood of one another.

In fact, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, had the wisdom to urge all jubilant Malaysian supporters who had been waiting for him to be elected as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, over a period of 24 years, from 1998, courteously urged all Malaysians to exercise self restraint in public celebration, in order to allow the law enforcement officers to ensure an even more peaceful transition of power; this despite the incendiary rhetoric of some Perikatan National (National Alliance) supporters who had refused to give in to the prospect of serving as the Opposition.  The supporters of Pakatan Harapan (PH) were asked to stay at home. Malaysians complied.

That message was enough to encourage the supporters of PH to stand back and exercise sheer discipline. The moral authority of Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim was of course critical. But Malaysians do want to live in harmony and in peace, in turn, the rule of law.

It is therefore nothing if not strange to see the likes of Professor James Chin at University of Tasmania and the Bureau Chief of The Straits Times in Singapore, both of whom are Malaysians, to wonder if Malaysia can stay intact as a Grand Coalition of the Unity Government. The issue is of course they can. If they don’t, not only will the nation feel the full whiplash effects of the triple whammy, but the country would be trapped in the escalating cost of the food, animal feed, fuel and fertilizer, all of which can be compounded by the insidious effects of financial leakages of Malaysia’s national subsidy programs that runs of tens of billions of the Malaysian ringgit.

As this is written on November 29th, the Cabinet has not been formed. Between November 25th and November 28th, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has had to live up to his original pledge, to create a “Malaysia that is for all Malaysians.” In this context, instead of forming a Cabinet first, which is concurrently being discussed with other coalition partners such as Barisan National (BN), Gabungan Parti Sarawak(GPS) and Gabugan Sabah Progressive (GSP), in turn, Warisan, that was pioneered by the former Chief Minister of Sabah, namely Warisan, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, has focused on instruction the civil servants to look into how to ensure that Council of Living Cost to focus on ensuring that the highly targeted subsidies program can ensure the respective deliverables to ensure the cost of living, especially on food items, moderates.

The fact that Malaysia can have an election without any fisticuffs, with 73 percent of the electoral turn out of more than 21 million voters on November 19 2022, has proven once again that Malaysians of all back-ground can exercise and choose the moderate way.

 That is no matter how acute each of the electoral contests was to be, all parties who subscribe to the basic tenet of elections, must be willing concede openly and willingly, consequently, without any rancor; should the losing party loses each of these electoral contests . It is to the credit of PN that had finally conceded on November 26 2022, that it was the PH who has won the 15th general eoectiion by congratulating the new PM.

While post election rhetoric betweeen the members can continue unabated even after their election is clearly over. The key is to work together to challenge only those causes worth opposing lest they lose sight of the importance of donning the role of checks and balance.

In a functioning and working democracy, effective and strong opposition is critical towards rebuilding this nation. PN through Bersatu, PAS and lesser Gerakan, can play that part, both in and out of the Parliament. It is important to note that all must stop immediately the escalation of identity politics of race and religion, two very combustibly toxic elements in politics.

The sudden avalanche of such messaging in social media and WhatsApp groups led the IGP, Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani to  issue a preemptive notice that such actions will not be tolerated and actions will be taken against such perpetrators.

Likewise, all political leaders across all aisles, must also encourage their respective followers to move forward and do not engage in actions that can fan racial and religious sentiments.

Election campaigns are over, elections are over, PM has been appointed. Now all need to move forward, unifying the people, rebuild our economy for the MANY. 2023 is going to be very harsh globally, with 1/3 of the global economy going to be in deep recession, Malaysia, included. Hence, move forward and all must play a role, administration, opposition, civil servants and the people.

Dr Rais Hussin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.

Bahasa Malaysia

Kerajaan Perpaduan – menyatukan dan membina semula Malaysia

Diterbitkan oleh Berita Harian.

Fakta penting tentang Malaysia yang sering kali “dilupai” atau “terlepas pandang” oleh khalayak ramai adalah Malaysia merupakan sebuah persekutuan yang terdiri daripada 14 buah negeri (termasuk 3 buah wilayah persekutuan). Walaupun hakikatnya bendera Malaysia (Jalur Gemilang) mengandungi pelbagai simbol dan jalur yang melambangkan gabungan 14 buah negeri untuk membentuk Malaysia, ianya (iaitu kerajaan persekutuan) kebiasaannya hanya dilihat sebagai entiti yang wujud dengan sendirinya.

Mereka yang bersifat sinis sering merujuk kepada “ketidakupayaan” Malaysia bersatu dengan penuh bermakna dan sempurna. Ramai yang masih mempersoalkan tentang struktur integriti penduduk, sama ada negara yang terdiri daripada pelbagai kaum dan agama dapat bertahan serta berkemampuan untuk berkembang maju.

Presiden Indonesia, Joko Widodo, dalam sebuah video yang tular di media sosial Tik Tok memaklumkan Tabung Kewangan Antarabangsa (IMF) dan Bank Dunia (World Bank) telah meramalkan bahawa sebanyak 60 buah negara bakal berhadapan dengan keadaan ketidakstabilan ekonomi dan politik menjelang tahun 2023.

Beliau bagaimanapun mengatakan bahawa Indonesia tidak akan terkesan. Oleh itu, Indonesia mampu bertahan dalam sebarang kemelesetan yang akan berlaku walaupun ianya mungkin berlarutan selama 2 hingga 3 tahun serta berdepan dengan kesulitan akibat peningkatan kos sara hidup.

Perdana Menteri Britain, Rishi Sunak telah mula mendorong Britain untuk berjimat cermat sebagai persediaan menghadapi kegawatan ekonomi yang mungkin berlaku selama 3 hingga 4 tahun. Kerajaan UK dianggap perlu melakukan pemotongan perbelanjaan bagi mengelakkan daripada meningkatkan perbelanjaan awam.

Impak daripada dasar sifar Covid yang menyebabkan ekonomi negara China diperlahankan dan menjejaskan rantaian bekalan global, serta peperangan Pan-Slav antara Russia dan Ukraine dan juga kononnya hasrat US untuk menyahgandingkan ekonominya memberikan impak ketara.

Memandangkan keadaan yang kurang memberangsangkan, pertumbuhan Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) Malaysia yang telah berkembang sejak 2010 terdedah kepada perdagangan global sebanyak 110 peratus, di mana Malaysia juga tidak terkecuali daripada berhadapan dengan “triple whammy” (“serangan tiga kali”). Malaysia berkemungkinan besar akan terjerumus dalam kemelesetan ekonomi walaupun tidak semestinya.

Kerajaan perpaduan dibentuk Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim pada jam 5 petang pada 24 November mengikut nasihat daripada Yang Di-Pertuan Agong dan Majlis Raja-Raja Melayu. Pada hari yang sama juga, Perdana Menteri Malaysia ke-10 itu dilihat telah mula bekerjasama dengan pihak media.

Pakatan Harapan di bawah pucuk pimpinan Perdana Menteri Anwar Ibrahim hanya memperoleh 11 peratus undi daripada orang Melayu, berbanding 94 peratus dan 83 peratus undi daripada pengundi Cina dan India, masing-masing. Namun, tiada satu pun peruntukan dalam perlembagaan berkaitan kedudukan agama Islam dan hak serta tradisi orang Melayu yang telah atau akan terjejas.

Perlu ditekankan ialah walaupun sebanyak 112 kerusi minimum di Parlimen perlu diperolehi bagi mencapai majoriti mudah, rakyat Malaysia daripada semua kaum dan agama mengelak daripada terjebak dalam perangkap yang boleh mewujudkan situasi berlakunya pertumpahan darah.

Malah, berbanding dengan retorik penyokong Perikatan Nasional (PN) yang berbaur hasutan, Perdana Menteri Anwar Ibrahim dengan bijaksananya meminta semua rakyat Malaysia yang menantikan selama 24 tahun untuk melihat beliau ditabalkan menjadi Perdana Menteri bagi mengawal diri daripada meraikannya di tempat umum. Penyokong Pakatan Harapan (PH) telah digesa kekal berada di rumah – bagi membantu pegawai penguatkuasa undang-undang menjalankan tugas mereka dalam memastikan peralihan kuasa yang lebih aman.

Apa yang disampaikan memadai untuk meyakinkan penyokong PH supaya lebih berdisiplin. Sudah tentu, kaliber moral yang dimiliki Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Anwar juga penting tetapi, rakyat Malaysia hanya inginkan kehidupan yang aman dengan adanya kedaulatan undang-undang.

Oleh itu, agak luar biasa untuk melihat rakyat Malaysia seperti Profesor James Chin dari Universiti Tasmania dan Ketua Biro The Straits Times di Singapura mempersoalkan sama ada Kerajaan Perpaduan Malaysia yang didukung gabungan yang besar mampu untuk kekal utuh. Sudah tentu mereka boleh, dan jika tidak, negara bukan sahaja akan merasai kesan “triple whammy”, malahan juga bakal terperangkap dalam peningkatan harga makanan, dedak haiwan, dan baja yang boleh memberi kesan yang teruk terhadap program subsidi kerajaan bernilai puluhan bilion ringgit.

Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim perlu memenuhi janjinya iaitu “Malaysia untuk semua rakyat Malaysia”. Perdana Menteri Anwar Ibrahim telah mula memberikan tumpuan terhadap siasatan oleh penjawat awam untuk memastikan Majlis Tindakan Kos Sara Hidup Negara (NACCOL) mencari jalan supaya program subsidi bersasar boleh mengawal dan menurunkan kos sara hidup terutamanya untuk barangan makanan.

Ketiadaan perbalahan atau pertelingkahan yang berlaku sepanjang pilihanraya berlangsung membuktikan sekali lagi rakyat Malaysia yang berbeza latar belakang, di mana 73 peratus daripada 21 juta pengundi yang hadir menjalankan tanggungjawab mereka pada 19 November 2022 yang lalu, mampu mengambil pendekatan yang sederhana.

Tidak kira betapa sengitnya perjuangan ketika pilihanraya, setiap parti yang bertanding perlu akur dengan segala keputusan tanpa sebarang permusuhan serta mengalah secara terbuka dan sukarela bagi parti yang menerima kekalahan. PN akhirnya memperakui bahawa PH telah memenangi pilihan raya umum ke-15 dengan mengalu-alukan PM baharu dengan ucapan tahniah pada 26 November 2022.

Asas penting untuk membina semula negara ini bagi sebuah kerajaan yang mengamalkan demokrasi ialah dengan mempunyai pihak pembangkang yang kuat dan lantang. Peranan tersebut boleh dimainkan PN sama ada di dalam atau di luar Parlimen melalui Bersatu, PAS dan Gerakan.

Amat penting untuk ditekankan bahawa penyebaran identiti politik berasaskan kaum dan agama perlu dihentikan dengan serta merta kerana melibatkan dua topik/perkara yang sangat sensitif dalam politik negara.

Mesej yang berkaitan perkara-perkara sedemikian dalam media sosial dan grup Whatsapp telah memaksa Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani untuk mengeluarkan kenyataan bahawa beliau tidak akan berkompromi dan akan mengambil tindakan terhadap pelaku.

Selain itu, semua pemimpin politik seharusnya menggesa penyokong mereka untuk terus maju ke hadapan dan mengelakkan diri dari terlibat dengan sebarang tindakan yang boleh mencetuskan ketegangan kaum dan agama.

Sekarang tibalah masanya untuk semua rakyat maju ke hadapan, berganding bahu dan membaik pulih ekonomi negara untuk semua.

Di peringkat global, tahun 2023 bakal menjadi tahun yang sangat sukar dan mencabar.

Ini kerana ekonomi Malaysia tergolong dalam satu per tiga daripada ekonomi dunia yang akan menghadapi kemelesetan yang teruk. Oleh yang demikian, pihak pentadbir, pihak pembangkang, penjawat awam serta rakyat perlu mengorak langkah ke hadapan dan memainkan peranan masing-masing.

Dr Rais Hussin adalah Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif EMIR Research, sebuah organisasi pemikir bebas yang berfokuskan kepada pencernaan saranan-saranan dasar strategik berteraskan penyelidikan yang terperinci, konsisten dan menyeluruh.

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