New Political Party in Malaysia–Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan)

May 15, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

Tan Sri Kadir,

I am sorry that I am unable to be with you and your friends at the launch of Ikatan. It is interesting to note Din MericanYthat 76 you still have enough energy and determination to be in the rough and tumble of Malaysian politics. It will be tough to make a comeback given the fact you have been associated with UMNO Baru, a corrupt and racist party over many years and have served both Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Your immediate challenge to convince voters that your party is in for the long haul, not a flash in the pan; that you have the sustaining power in terms of finance and organization;  and a team of outstanding and highly motivated leaders, political strategists, and operatives to carry your message throughout the length and breadth of our expansive country. I  think you now must explain fully why this change of heart and the need to return to politics.

You have made all the encouraging remarks at the launch, giving hope to Malaysians who are desperate for change. I wish you and your team, backers and supporters all the best. As an old friend and fellow Kedahan, you have my good wishes for your continued good health. Your second chance has come but please be sure that you remain true to your cause and not succumb to the temptations of power.--Din Merican

New Political Party in Malaysia–Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan)

Former Information Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir today launched a new political party named Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan) which he claims to be ‘pro-rakyat’.

“After struggling so hard for more than two years and with the help of a court order, Ikatan is finally registered,” Kadir said in his speech to some 300 people in attendance at the launching ceremony in Seri Kembangan.Kadir said his party was neither pro-BN nor pro-opposition and was instead closely aligned with the spirit of the country’s founding fathers and the aspirations of the country’s future generations. He also explained that the party’s focus would not be on the next general election, which is due in 2018.

“Hence, we are free to push our position on the various issues facing the country that would bring maximum benefit to the rakyat, the country and to our future generations. We need not be ‘populist’,” Kadir added.

‘We will be more issue-based’

Asked at a press conference held after the launch, Kadir said Ikatan would make a stand (on whether to contest in the next general election or not) when the time comes. As to whether the party planned to work together with other political parties, Kadir reiterated that the party is not placing its focus on the next general election.

“We are more concerned about various issues in the country. As such, we will be more issue-based.If we are on the same wavelength with Pakatan on certain issues, then we are with them. It’s the same if the government has good policies. What is good for the rakyat, we will give our support,” he said.

He also expressed confidence that many out there actually supported the party. “Many want to support us, but they are probably scared that they will not get contracts. “Many out there support us. But I prefer new faces. Although they are new, they know what’s happening in the country,” he said, adding that the party will be guided by the values of the country’s founding fathers.

Pointing out how the current spirit has veered far from the spirit then, issues such as corruption and power abuse are rampant today, he said.

“Back then, all these things did not happen. Our leaders knew that they cannot touch the rakyat’s money,” Kadir said, adding that the rakyat were initially successful due to the strong foundations set by the founding fathers.

Nevertheless, as based on 6,000 years of human history, Kadir said bad habits would set in for any government that remains in power for more than 30 years, continuously. “The present government in our country has been in power continiously for more than 57 years. It is not surprising that decadence and corrupt practices have set in.

“Corrupt practices are committed on a huge scale, without any feeling or consideration for the ordinary rakyat,” he said. Kadir also expressed confidence that without corruption, Malaysia would have long become a high income and developed country.

‘Close one eye, or else…’

“When you are already corrupt, it comes naturally to abuse power, which leads to wastage. If the political leadership is like that, when those under you want to steal a little, you close one eye. Because if you don’t, then your secret will be out. So it’s just like ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’,” he said.

Stressing that he was speaking on behalf of the souls of those who have passed on, Kadir added that he believes they were all “crying in their graves” as they  looked at the country’s current state. He also denied that he had launched the party because he was “ambitious”.

“I have been a minister, I even had to pujuk Pak Lah (former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, right) for nine months for him to let me resign.I deserve to have a good life, but I can’t sleep soundly thinking about our founding fathers,” he said.

Asked on whether the party supported former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in the tiff between the two, Kadir said his party would wait for investigations that are currently under way. “If the Prime Minister is wrong, then he is wrong and he will be punished. If he is not wrong, then what can we do? We just want investigations on 1MDB to be expedited. If he is not wrong, we won’t say he is in the wrong because that would be opportunistic politics,” he said.

Asked to comment on Najib’s leadership, Kadir said he preferred not to be “personal”. “We will not be personal in fighting for issues,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 76-year-old said they were determined to be a “massed-based” party with divisions and branches throughout the country.

“On Malaysia Day (Septeber 16), we hope to introduce to the rakyat the whole national leadership of Ikatan from all over the country. The recruitment drive for members starts today and those interested can register online,” he said.

Apart from Kadir’s speech and the press conference today, the launch saw party members leading the audience in reciting the “Rukun Negara”. The “Amanat Merdeka” of the country’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, was also read by his grandson, Tunku Muinuddin Putra, who is also Ikatan’s Vice-President.