The gaping hole in our nation

May 5, 2018

4 DAYS to GE-14 on May 9, 2018: GO out in large numbers and VOTE for CHANGE

The gaping hole in our nation

by Ambassador (rtd) Dato’ Dennis Ignatius

The first law of holes: if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad ” is an idea whose time has come”(Dennis Ignatius).

COMMENT | Videos of enforcement officers going around cutting out photos of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad from campaign billboards leaving a gaping hole in its place have gone viral.

If they think they can remove Mahathir from our hearts and minds by literally cutting him out of campaign posters, they are wrong and stupid. All it will do is remind us that there’s a gaping hole in our nation that only Mahathir can fill.

Mahathir is now more than just a former Prime Minister trying to make a comeback; he is an idea whose time has come.

Like it or not, he now embodies the change we want and gives expression to the future we long for. He may have been part of the problem before but now, by his actions, he has chosen to be part of the solution and millions of Malaysians love him for it.

Promises, promises, promises

BN, of course, talks a lot about its manifesto with the caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Zahid Hamidi even boasting about a surge in support due to the manifesto’s “wow” factor.

The BN manifesto runs some 220 pages and contains 14 “thrusts” and 364 initiatives. It promises everything under the sun. Those who can, do; those who can’t, make promises, I suppose.


Promises, promises, empty promises (Janji, janji, janji kosong)

The MCA, in a bid to distance itself somewhat from UMNO came up with its own 10 promises and 10 initiatives while the MIC, teetering on the edge of extinction, had a more modest four “components.”

Reading through the various BN manifestos, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that they are out of touch with public sentiment, bereft of imagination, low on ideas and high on desperation. They offer to do what any self-respecting government, particularly one that has been in office for so long, ought to have done a long time ago, and try to make a virtue of it. Promises sound like excuses when one has been in office for a very long time.

Instead of, for example, announcing official recognition for the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) which Chinese educationists have long campaigned for, they merely promise to recognise it if BN is returned to power. Why hold the Chinese community to ransom this way? If it’s a good thing, recognise it right away.

The MCA also promised to safeguard moderation, uphold the Federal Constitution and represent the constitutional rights of Malaysians. How can Malaysians take such a promise seriously coming from a party that supported, promoted and voted for every single piece of repressive legislation in Parliament?

In the meantime, the MCA chief, perhaps not wanting to be too closely associated with his boss in UMNO, promotes himself as a close friend of President Xi Jinping of China. If he is hoping that an endorsement from President Xi might improve his dismal ratings among Chinese Malaysians, he is going to be disappointed.


Most pathetic of all was the MIC’s manifesto which highlighted fulfilling “the basic needs of the Indian community.” While others are focusing on the digital economy and global connectivity, the MIC is still talking about meeting “basic needs.” If after 60 years of power-sharing with UMNO, the basic needs of the Indian community have still not been met, the MIC should simply accept that it has failed and failed miserably, and just go quietly into the night.

Image result for MIC President Subramaniam


In any case, if UMNO and its BN partners really believed that people would buy their promises, they wouldn’t need to go around throwing money in all directions and offering to build roads, bridges, airports, etc, in a desperate bid to gain support. The truth is we don’t need new roads as much as we need a new government.

The first law of holes (Lobang in Malay)

Whatever it is, it is not manifestos that are going to be the deciding factor; anyone who thinks that their manifesto will induce a “wow” factor is simply dreaming.

What matters most is the widespread perception that the nation is headed in the wrong direction and that change is urgently needed. Rising costs and growing economic hardship, as well as the long years of scandal, corruption, mismanagement, abuse of power and racial and religious exploitation, have finally taken a toll. People are tired and weary and long for change.

There’s a hole in our nation, a leadership vacuum, a moral bareness, an integrity deficit that all the BN manifestos and promises cannot fill.

The first law of holes states that “if you find yourself in a hole, stopping digging.” Digging makes it deeper and therefore harder to get back out. It is a metaphor that means when in an untenable position, it is best to stop carrying on as usual and exacerbating the situation.

To continue to support BN is simply to keep digging deeper into that hole and making it even more difficult to get out of the mess we are in. It’s time to look elsewhere for solutions, to give someone else a chance to get us out of the hole we are in.


Image result for pakatan harapan leaders

Pakatan Harapan has come a long way. Their spirit has been forged in the struggle for freedom. Their leaders know what it is like to suffer imprisonment, to endure hardship and vilification. They are courageous enough to acknowledge their mistakes and commit to doing better. They’ve learned to give and take, build new bonds of fellowship and trust, found a way to respect differences and build on what unites us”.–Dennis Ignatius


Pakatan Harapan has come a long way. Their spirit has been forged in the struggle for freedom. Their leaders know what it is like to suffer imprisonment, to endure hardship and vilification. They are courageous enough to acknowledge their mistakes and commit to doing better. They’ve learned to give and take, build new bonds of fellowship and trust, found a way to respect differences and build on what unites us.

We finally have an alternative that we can be proud of, one that shares our hopes and aspirations for the future. We must give them that chance on polling day or be stuck in a rut for decades to come.


DENNIS IGNATIUS is a former ambassador. He blogs here.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

8 thoughts on “The gaping hole in our nation

  1. Yup. The EC and their associated Town/City hall/Local Authority Goons are beyond redemption. Be_end no doubt is terrified of losing, but i think so is the Oppo. The only ones who will win, will be Octo and Geng – whatever the result.

    So Dennis, while the Establishment are no doubt dirty rotten scoundrels, tell me what your evangelical Christian roots say about this most disgusting of hypocritical propaganda – put up by Oppo (read DAP) shits:

    • @CLF: I cannot answer for Dennis. I see no Christian message in the youtube, except that the song that was played in the background. Some Muslims have no issue with Amazing Grace. What is the issue again?

      To me, If there is anything ironic, it is about the attempt to link the youtube’s narrative to the story behind the song.
      To me, no matter what religious (or non-religious) background one has, the song is a record of reflections of failure of a few wretched souls began to see the ill of slavery. If the story behind the youtube is about addressing that grievance, we still have a long way to go, Harapan or not. Harapan and this GE is not even addressing it.

    • Do you know what’s the meaning of Amazing Grace? John Newton’s anyway – where there is undeserved forgiveness and spiritual conversion. How does that square with this ridiculous Taoist vengence vid? Only in your warped sense..

      Perhaps’ your Amazing Grace is only for Slavery and is totally secular? But it’s beyond that. Gimme a break from your Calvinistic predestiny and irresistible grace.Total depravity too..

  2. Malaysia suffers from poor leadership. Good leaders are men of character and integrity. The idea of service is at the core of it. Look at the so-called leaders (political leaders I mean) today and you will now what I mean. It is not just Najib Razak, although he is the prime example and our focus.

    Leaders must groom their successors, but they cannot groom them if they themselves do not have character and can succumb to power. Or it in the nature of politics ala Hobbes and Machiavelli that leaders should be devoid of values to stay in power, and that was also why Sir Thomas More did not know how to handle King Henry VIII and lost his life. He was utopian. Anyone care to explain my dilemma? Philosophers of Politics, please help.–Din Merican

  3. The vast majority of my friends, former students and relatives are going for Harapan. There’s no doubt that the Opposition have done a better job at state levels. Whether they would also be better than BN at national levels is another matter. I still think, however, that the odds continue to favour BN, despite the widespread pro-opposition campaigns.

  4. The King shall remain apolitical and this may remain so as long as the country is run in a democratic way in a wider sense. But what if there is allegations against a sitting PM of having received corrupt money and illicit flow of funds into his personal account? Can the King ask for an explanation and if it is unsatisfactory and points to some acts of maleficence, order for a full investigation with a view to discover the truth and charge the person if there is wrong doing?

    But will the judiciary have the gumption if such a case come up? The Courts in India sacked and jailed a serving PM. So did the judiciary in Pakistan which sacked a PM.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.