(File pix) Semenyih town. The voters must send a clear message that they are pro-new Malaysia, want stability and a clean government. NSTP/AZHAR RAMLI

WITH 68 per cent of the constituents in Semenyih being Malay, the by-election on March 2 will be spun by Umno and Pas as the key to their strategic return to power by 2023 or earlier; as and when the 15th General Election is held.

Pakatan Harapan, which lost the Cameron Highlands parliamentary by-election, should be on its toes in every sense of the word.

To begin with, PH is now the ruling coalition. Although it was Umno and Barisan Nasional, indeed, Pas, that broke Putrajaya completely, devoid of any
political capital the ramparts of BN and Pas have nothing to lean on, except to subject PH to
this constant tirade that it has broken every single electoral promise.

This is false association and accusation, to say the least. Why? Hasn’t PH put the kleptocrats in Malaysia either on the run, in hiding, or faced with the almost certain likelihood of a full conviction across the board one day?

This in itself was the major redemption of PH, and a new Malaysia, without which the democratic transition of May 9, 2018, would not have happened to look into the sky-rocketing debts of the country.

At US$250.6 billion (RM1.2 trillion) and counting, which is almost 80 per cent of the gross national product, yet with no certainty of how many government- linked companies (GLCs) there are, many of which continue to rot from a worsening balance sheet, how can the old Malaysia be better than the one that is under PH?

But there are three reasons why Malays have not been forsaken, and the identity politics with which Malays are closely identified with — Islam.

FIRST, weren’t BN and Umno, with the support of Pas, the ones that had Malaysia entwined with Goldman Sachs? Goldman Sachs, which is heavily influenced by the Israeli lobby of the United States, has tried to wash its hands of any financial indemnity to Malaysia by merely issuing an “apology”.

Umno and Pas cannot be freed from the guilt of association with Goldman Sachs and/or Israel. They worked with the likes of Jho Low, in turn, Hollywood, another entity heavily under the influence of Israeli interest, to whitewash their own commercial misdeeds from 1MDB to many mini 1MDBs. Is this what Islam teaches ? No. Islam has always insisted on truth and justice. Yet, Umno and Pas have time and again skewered its central message.

SECOND, not only will PH not be forsaking Islam, indeed, it is trying to make sure the entire economic and political ecology is sufficiently clean to allow the
pristine values of Islam to emerge. Only when the universalism of Islam is permitted to don a key role will the statecraft of Malaysia be among the best in the world.

Take the economic crisis that hit Turkey between September and the end of last year, for instance. It has withstood the trials and tribulations of a financial crisis precisely because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stood firm.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may not have been able to produce an instant economic miracle, but then no one can when the Sino-US trade relationship is spiralling downward out of control. Thus, the
key rests with maintaining stability.

THIRD, while PH has stopped digging Malaysia into a debt trap, Pas and Umno, even MCA, appear bent on the East-Coast Railway project, which costs a whopping RM100 billion and
more. How can this make any sense?

Thus, Semenyih must be seen for what it is: the “decision day” for Malaysian voters, predominantly the Malays, to tell Umno and Pas that their politics of baiting the rakyat with trinkets, tokenism and tonnes of racial and religious verbiage are over.

Let’s send a strong and clear signal that Semenyih is not pro-PH but pro-new Malaysia in spite of the imperfections of the current coalition.

Better a coalition that is clean than one that is constantly scheming with various shenanigans to come back into office, without anything to offer.

Dr Rais Hussin is the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member and chairman Strategy and Policy

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