“Given the times we live in, perhaps it might be appropriate for me to speak about the leadership transition that has been foisted upon us Malaysians.I say ‘foisted’ because neither me nor anyone in this room had any role or say in the choice of the person who will lead Malaysia next. We were mere bystanders in a political chess game. And yet the transition is a subject of great consequence to the nation, one I would say is of great national interest.
It is an undeniable truth that the average Malaysian is anxious about the anticipated transition. Many would prefer it did not happen.
A prime minister must have the confidence of the majority of the rakyat. In order for this to be the case, his integrity must be beyond question; not only must he be such a person character, he must be seen to be such a person. The office of prime minister is one of great trust, he who holds that office cradles the nation in his palms.
For this to be the case, there cannot be anything in the mind of the greater public that, correctly or otherwise, associates him with matters of criminality, wrongful action, improper conduct or abuses of power. In short, he must be beyond reproach in his dealings both official and private.
Without intending any accusation, it is regrettable that in the collective mind of the rakyat, Najib is not such a person. If a referendum were to be conducted on the subject or if the prime minister was to be elected directly by the rakyat, I do not think Najib would succeed. The reason for this is obvious: the rakyat has doubts, fuelled by the unanswered allegations against him and his unwillingness to confront these allegations.
With all of this, and more, how are we not to feel anxious? How are we to sleep peacefully at night? I know that I cannot. The situation is desperate and the air is pregnant with tension. We need the state of affairs to be resolved in a way that is in the best interests of the nation and the rakyat.
Malaysia needs someone who the rakyat can throw their weight behind without reservation. Someone they can trust and respect. Someone who has no scandal to distract him and thereby gain respect from the international community.
These are difficult times and be prepared for worst times to visit us. Malaysia needs a leader who will unite the country in the face of the adversity. Divided, we are weak. I am loath to say it, but for the reasons I have set out am compelled to say that Najib will most certainly divide us and in doing so, will nudge us closer to the edge.
Some of you may say that all efforts to promote the national interest are at this stage an exercise in futility. If truth be told, I am tempted to slip into cynical hopelessness too. I am fighting the temptation to give up for one simple reason: Malaysia and all that it represents. This is a blessed country, a country too valuable for us to turn our backs on.“
– from a speech given by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim delivered at a weekly luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur DiRaja on March 18, 2009
the above was taken mostly in context and definitely in order (frost/nixon, anyone?). it echoes what’s in the heart of every malaysian, including mine. i am not one for politics because it disgusts me, but there is no way for me to feign ignorance at what’s going on, there is no way for me to not care.
this is my future. i will be a government servant for at least 10 years. i will probably raise a family here. this matters to me.
it should matter to you too.
it’s true that we can’t choose who our next prime minister will be – well, we had the chance last march, but i guess people weren’t as fed up then as they are now – but at the very least we can continue collecting the evidence and decide for ourselves 4 years down the road if he still deserves the position he so covets.
i am still praying for a better malaysia. for selfish reasons, yes, but valid ones all the same.
*full text here.