Kit Siang: Will Penny Wong be able to be Foreign Minister of Malaysia if she had not emigrated to Australia?

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Will Penny Wong be able to be Foreign Minister of Malaysia if she had not emigrated to Australia and given up her Malaysian citizenship for Australian nationality in 2001?

The answer is in the negative.

Whose loss is this, where a person could be foreign minister of another country but could not be a foreign minister or any Cabinet Minister in Malaysia if he or she had not surrendered her Malaysian citizenship?

The answer is very obvious, and this is why Malaysians must ponder the question what went wrong” in Malaysian nation-building that for 65 years, we have failed to realise the vision of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, for the country to be “a beacon of light to a difficult and distracted world’”, the Vision 2020 of Bangsa Malaysia and a developed state, the National Integrity Plan to be among the top 30 countries in the world by 2008 with least corruption and the Education Blueprint objective to be above global average and be in the top one-third of countries in international educational standards by 2025.

Before1970, it would have been possible for a Penny Wong to aspire to be the future Foreign Minister of Malaysia, but not after 1970, when more than a million of the best and brightest Malaysians of all races took part in the First Malaysian Diaspora to make other nations all over the world great instead of making Malaysia great!

What went wrong in the Malaysian nation-building process?

We have increased our national per capita income by 30-fold from 1970 to the present day but we have increased by more than 63,000-fold the corruption and financial scandals in this period, as illustrated RM100 million Bank Rakyat scandal in 1979, the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal in 1983 and the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal in the last decade.

In the past half-a-century, Malaysia lost out to Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Will we lose out China and Indonesia before the end of this decade in the annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI)?

Will we lose out to more countries in economic development, even to Indonesia and the Philippines, come 2,040 or 2,050 – well before Malaysia’s Centennial?

Can we return to the nation-building policies and principles in our Constitution and Rukun Negara – constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, rule of law, good governance, public integrity, respect for human rights, meritocracy, Islam as the religion of the nation and freedom of worship for all other religions and national unity from our multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural diversity where there are no first-class and second-class citizens whether based on race, religion or region?

Did we go wrong in 1990 in continuing the corruption, abuses of power and breaches of trust in the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1990 until Malaysia became the “kleptocracy at its worst” with the monstrous mega multi-billion 1MDB scandal instead of replacing it by a needs-based policy declaring a war against poverty regardless of race, religion or region.

Under the Merdeka compact 1957 and Malaysia Agreement 1963, Malaysia has only a future as a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation and not as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak land or as a Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Sikhist or Taoist country.

That is why there is the provision in the Malaysian Constitution that any Malaysian can be a Prime Minster of Malaysia, and the post is not exclusively only for a Malay or a Muslim.

There is of course the political reality, and even in the United States, it has taken more than 200 years for a black man to become the President of the United States and an ethnic Indian to become the Vice President of the United States.

I do not know whether it will take 200 or more years for a non-Malay to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but under the Merdeka and Malaysia compacts, any Malaysian can aspire to the highest political office in the land, whatever the political realities of the country.

We must return to the forefront for Malaysians to be Malaysian first, and not Malay first, Chinese first, Indian first, Kadazan first or Dayak first.

The question “What Went Wrong” is a question that should be asked by all Malaysians, whether in Sabah, Sarawak, Penang, Johore Selangoir and any of the Peninsular States; whether political parties, NGOs, organisations, youth associations and student clubs as to why Malaysia, in more than six decades of nation-building, failed to achieve her potential to become a world-class great nation and what is the way forward. – Lim Kit Siang

Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Friday, 1 July 2022