Citizens’ Declaration: Political Garbage In, Garbage Out, but Najib remains

March 17, 2016

Citizens’ Declaration: Political Garbage In, Garbage Out, but Najib remains

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

Is the Citizens’ Declaration a one day – or at best, one week – news story that is now already stale and forgotten? Or can it really galvanise the Opposition and public? Will it spell the beginning of the end for Prime Minister Najib Razak and the BN? Or has it had the opposite effect of fortifying Najib’s and BN’s hold over power in Malaysia? These are among the questions that concerned Malaysians are asking.

There is another set of questions being asked by activists from civil society, and the answers to which are being viewed apprehensively, by leaders from both sides of the divide. This is whether this latest version of an opposition front, hastily put together, represents a breakthrough in Malaysian politics? Or will the desperation, idealism, opportunism, hypocrisy and the many other motives ascribed to the group that has consummated this unexpected marriage of formerly bitter enemies backfire?

A Kadir Jasin-Mahathir’s  Goebells

Defenders of the declaration, including Anwar Ibrahim from his prison cell, and those who have signed it, argue that the strength of the declaration lies in the call for institutional reform to restore democracy, and protect the separation of power of the executive, legislative and judiciary.

But to the casual reader, this call for broad political reform appears as an after thought.

An examination of the declaration which is available in the internet for the public to support shows that only one or two of the 37 paragraphs of the Declaration calls for a repeal of recent laws that violate fundamental rights, and for the restoration of the integrity of institutions such as the Police, MACC and Bank Negara.


The major focus of what has now been renamed as the “Save Malaysia” campaign is the removal of the Prime Minister. This is the sole objective of Dr. Mahathir, the prime mover of the Declaration, and apparently, its author.

Following the signing of the declaration, we have seen Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin, Mukhriz Mahathir and others from the UMNO ‘dissident’ side reiterate that the main objective is to rid the country – and UMNO – of Najib’s leadership. Then, presumably, after that, it will be business as usual for UMNO and Barisan in its running of the country’s government?

Or as Dr Mahathir phrased it in his inimitable way of spinning in his latest blog posting response to the wave of cynicism that has greeted his initiative:

“It is this consciousness (about the dire situation) that has prompted enemies to temporarily set aside their hostility towards each other to save their beloved country.

If they emphasise the interest of their respective parties, it would mean supporting and retaining Najib’s regime.When democracy and freedom are restored, then they can continue with their disagreements.”

One week after the declaration, even the most optimistic and least cynical of those who support this latest attempt at political reform or change – even in the limited fashion that Dr Mahathir and his UMNO supporters see it – will concede that no fundamental realignment has taken place in the country’s political landscape which can lead to any dramatic or unexpected development, either now or in the foreseeable future.

PAS leaders have stayed aloof. They have also supported the government’s contention that only a vote of no confidence successfully introduced in parliament or a general election can bring about a change in the prime ministership or government. They are right.

State of the Two Political Camps

Pakatan Harapan –The No Hopers

Meanwhile there has been no break of ranks within UMNO. The party’s leadership appears solidly united behind the Prime Minister. Despite talk that the Deputy Prime Minister, Zahid Hamidi, may be positioning himself for a takeover of the party should Najib’s support be seen to waver or diminish, he and other heavy hitters from the party’s top leadership and grassroots divisional leaders have targeted their anger and outrage at Dr. Mahathir’s big mistake in aligning himself with the opposition DAP.

For now, the party’s faithful is standing firm against those seeking to bring down the Prime Minister. And what of the brave new front opened in the battle to bring about political change in the country? The organizers have announced a nation wide campaign aimed at getting several hundred thousand signatories in support of the campaign, beginning with Trengganu, Sabah, Kedah and Johore.

This is a start but it is clearly inadequate. Any successful strategic plan calls for set priorities, focussed energy, resources and common goals. The campaign lacks all the above and is likely to prove little different from what has emerged from other civil society/political reform efforts in the past; with the input of Dr Mahathir the lone difference.

Another of the original group if signatories, however, could make a bigger difference.

If Tun Daim Zainuddin could only bring back a part of his enormous wealth from overseas – a couple of hundred million ringgit is small change to him? – to beef up the “Save Malaysia” campaign so that it reaches into the rural grassroots, then perhaps the movers of the declaration may have a chance of success. And if a share of Dr. Mahathir’s family’s wealth and that of his ‘kakis’ were deployed for a similar objective, the opposition’s cup will probably runneth over.

Zaid Ibrahim’s proposal that every Malaysian contributes ten ringgit to the Save Malaysia Movement to ensure that the country is not subservient to the country’s oligarchy makes fine reading. However it is not the way to resolve the basic, and ultimately fatal, weakness of the woefully inadequate financial and material firepower of the movement.

Finally, success for those who want to see the movement’s objective of institutional reform become reality will be short lived too if the only concern is with replacing the current Prime Minister.

Winning the next election is the only game changer that can work for the opposition and civil society if they want to regain the democratic rights and freedoms and institutional integrity eroded ever since Dr. Mahathir came to power.

Meanwhile teaming up with Dr Mahathir is one step forward and two backwards.

15 thoughts on “Citizens’ Declaration: Political Garbage In, Garbage Out, but Najib remains

  1. Very good article but you have not answered the question and more importantly your own questions.
    We are all looking for answers. But right now it is gloom and doom because of a system gridlock.–Din Merican

  2. “Winning the next election is the only game changer that can work for the opposition and civil society if they want to regain the democratic rights and freedoms and institutional integrity eroded ever since Dr. Mahathir came to power.”

    Ahhhhhhh, Dr Lim.

    You are indeed master of the Banal Truism, but your place in Platitude Palace is being challenged by several others who are also merely rewriting the same article, again and again. And you (like them) have not the faintest whiff of a tangible solution.

    Seeing as this copious verbiage makes no difference (nor is it read) by segments of the population who actually wield the power to change the system, one can only hope that someone – anyone – is getting off their backside and doing something more tangible than your exceedingly cliched navel gazing.

    We hope.

  3. In all those enlightenment, it appears the gist is not do anything. So Malaysians hope of change is GE14 which gives BN more time to find more Billions to pay off election officials, print fake ballots. We could also fantasize that the likes of Jaaffar Onn, or Tuanku Abdul Rahman will come into the scene to save the country. Or even Ong Boon Hua or a new Lee Kuan Yew. Or let us all wait until Najib turnaround and decide that all ill gotten money must be returned to Bank Negara. Or better still in GE 14, PAS will win and there will be no more corrupt politicians in Malaysia. In the end, we will gain nothing because we have expended nothing.

  4. My simple logic says UmnoB under Najib will not be able to win the next election if there is going to be one. The goverment’s biggest enemy is the very same rakyat who helped put him where he is today. He and his selected cronys are obsessed with wealth and will do anything to steal as much as possible and make the country debt ridden.

    Rakyat has no choice but to swallow his sh.t policies. Malaysians are not capable of embarking on any uprising that we have witnessed in many other countries as their nasi lemak and teh tarik is not under threat.
    Change will happen when the country becomes banktupt and declared a pariah state.

    Under this scenaio, what institutional changes are we talking about? Don’t also forget that the Agong and all other royal institutions are also under the PM”s control by default.

  5. “And you (like them) have not the faintest whiff of a tangible solution.”

    And neither do you or anyone who supports this crap document. I know what a cohesive Oppo is capable of but I have no idea how this declaration is capable of bringing down the Najib Regime.

    Nobody knows (or cares) of the kind of negotiations that went on between PH and Octo or the DAP and Octo, which begs the question, does the DAP want to replace the MCA in a new Alliance ?

    And we all know how well the DAP is when it comes to making alliance with Malay/Muslims *cough* PAS entities, and then feeling all butt hurt when the marriage breaks up.

    Oh wait, Zaid Ibrahim has said that a Malay (sic) will always be PM because Malays are the majority – I have no idea where he read law – but this is not really a problem because Lim Guan Eng has more or less said the same thing. So, there’s a truism for you .

    Octo of course says the opposite but wink, wink, there will be trouble most probably started by him or his sub contractors if this ever were to happen. Another truism in Malay(sian) politics.

    And pairing “banal” with “truism” is redundant, as is most of your posts on this issue.

  6. Conrad, it may surprise you that the head of a ‘chauvinist kiasu socialist’ Oppo party is a business partner with an Establishment Goon UMNOb minister, who’s yodeling blue murder to whomever threatens his ‘Boss’. Commercial interests certainly ‘Trumps’ pedestrian political opportunism.

    There are ways out of this impasse, but no One really wants to hear them now, that’s all. Just like MY is insisting that he knows about a ‘plot’ to do in Jibros, with his replacement DPM sitting beside his – but denies taking part in it. Is that viral vid true and has it been released on cue?

    As for DAP’s replacement of MCA – stranger things have happened before. Honestly though the lap-mongrels have much deeper pockets/assets. It won’t be so much as replacement but ‘melding’..

    Let’s just watch how this FUBAR tragicomedy unfurls. Our main concern should be saving idiots from themselves.

  7. “And pairing “banal” with “truism” is redundant, as is most of your posts on this issue.”

    You mean “as *ARE* most of your posts”.

    OK, let me get this straight – you don’t understand the difference between singular and plural, and you are lecturing others on English???


    Oh, Conman, Conman. You’re just a train wreck, aren’t you? The next time your keeper comes in to clean your cage, ask him to explain this to you:

    Here. Come. Come. I feed you. Num nums! You eat. Eat. Good boy. Clever boy. (Well, not really.)

  8. It will get more and more expensive for the King of Cash — as the shrewder ones demand more and more $$$ in return for their “support”.
    This is blackmail/extortion, 1Malaysia-style.

    So, expect more and more cynical schemes, including sneaky ones, of “revenue enhancement” to extract more $$$ from the ordinary rakyat.

  9. “Conrad, it may surprise you….”

    CLF, the only people who would be surprised are the morons who posts on the Malaysiakini comment section. Truth be told before I dived off the “what am I doing with my life” cliff, I was professionally facilitating such hook ups between men with money and men who wanted more money all under the delusion of practising law.

    A small part of this of this involved personalities (admittedly junior lackeys) from both sides of the political divide doing theirs masters bidding and skimming of the top.

    Anyone who believes that politics is this country is as publically partisan as they read in alternative media…..well are the kind of people that hang out in the comments sections of Malaysiakini.

    I think you may be right about the melding especially since the deep pocketed Evangelical Wing of the DAP, has strong ties with their brethren in the MCA. Either way I personally don’t think its a good idea. Sooner or later dogs start running.

  10. “OK, let me get this straight – you don’t understand the difference between singular and plural, and you are lecturing others on English???”

    The last sentence of a whole take down on your disregard for syntax hardly a lecture makes. Like I said, so Usenet.

    And that’s really the problem with you Ferdi. The more you write the less interesting you become.

    Rabbling on about clichés, truisms, yakking endlessly about how critics of this piece of crap Declaration don’t have any solutions without ever offering a cohesive, counter argument but instead engaging in ad hominems, straw men and whatever you assume passes as smartass in your neck of the woods.

    And you do this on every thread about this subject.

    But thank god, you abandoned the music video shtick. That’s progress I suppose.

    Honestly reading your drivel is like watching porn without the money shot.

  11. Monkey know Usenet! Monkey smart! Monkey….no, monkey not smart. Monkey stupid. Also monkey not funny. Monkey learn:

    Oooo oooo ahhh ahhh!

    Monkey no watch porn. Bad monkey!

  12. Why is there a gridlock? Because of Hadi’s PAS. Hadi’s PAS basically admitted they broke up with DAP because they believe the Malays Muslim are racist and bigots. They have joined with UMNO except in name only.. That is the core problem. There is no solution so long as Malay opposition avoid confronting that dark pit..

  13. That’s a good lad Ferdi.

    I normally have to put in a little bit of effort into breaking down, folks like you who unfortunately think they are smarter than they actually are.

    Mommy and daddy were wrong, Ferdi.

    But you give in too easily. No sport.

    Like I said, Mara, right ?

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