I wish to pay tribute to the Unity Government on the occasion of its first ever birthday.
Although there were some calls by an MCA strongman to call off the celebration because of concern for “waste of funds”, well, with due respect to the senator, we Malaysians are experts on wasteful financial scandals such as the 1MDB, of which we all can recall that MCA was the very party that was part of that “wasteful” government.
So, a small advice to the good senator, keep your peace on this celebration for the rakyat have a long memory.
I still remember the days that led up to the formation of the Unity Government. My wife and I were glued to Astro Awani waiting for the Agong to decide whether our hopes would be born or it was to be despaired with the Perikatan Nasional government.
So, when my wife screamed from the living room that Anwar Ibrahim was appointed Prime Minister of a Unity Government formed by PH, Umno, GPS and GRS, I immediately performed the Sujud Syukur.
After 23 years of supporting Reformasi, I had already given up hope of seeing Anwar as the Prime Minister, and having a decent government for my children and grandkids but through the wise and visionary efforts of the Royals in convening a momentous decision unprecedented in our nation’s history, I was more than thankful to God.
Note that I said the Unity Government was formed by Umno and not BN because we know where MCA and MIC sided then and even now. Rakyat bukan bodohlah! YB Senator.
Thus, it was a roller coaster of a ride for the Unity Government to stay being a coalition of expedience by respecting the wish of the YDP Agong into a workable government and finally towards redefining Malaysia as a nation for all, and not for just one arrogant race and a faith wrongfully interpreted.
I say wrongfully because I meant it that way. The way the PN and PAS has played Islam is unprecedented in any history.
I was also deeply disturbed by the masses of ignorant Muslims who believed in the lies and half-truths spun by influencer netizens who know nothing about decent values, sins of fitnah and above all the principles of Islam as stipulated by the Prophet Muhammad.
I was also aghast at the silence from the so-called professors of Islam and social science who sat stone silent while Islam was being sold as a commodity that was sullied to the core with evil intentions of justifying the ends by any means.
I was also angry at those who touted that they are the guardians of Islam for also being silent and let an unruly group of politicians claiming a false moral high ground in their slanderous statements and slogans that will destroy the very fabric of our society.
However, after all the suspense of a vote of no confidence, a vote against the budget and the actions of trying to oust Zahid in order to topple the resolve of Umno top guns, the dust settled and rakyat remained in good hands with Anwar and the Unity Government.
The first year is a scramble for survival of a ship filled with bullet holes and with a provision of sustenance that has been robbed almost clean by the previous two administrations while still carrying the financial burdens of Barisan Nasional under Najib, the prisoner in Kajang.
Then came the challenge of an arrogant young MP who thought he was strong enough to stand alone in the election as well as attacked the hands that fed him in another election.
This young YB could have made Selangor fall to PN but the rakyat saw through his mask of false morality and the Unity Government stayed in power albeit a loss of two thirds.
Now, after a judicious verdict of guilty, that young YB, once the hope, my hope, of a new generation, has fallen silent hopefully in humility and a bit of wisdom.
I still have hope for this young YB but he must do what must be done, step out of arrogance and embrace humility, wisdom and respect for others who have aided him to once again walk the corridors of hope in a new Malaysia.
Now, the challenge of the Unity Government is with the people that voted the PH overwhelmingly against the serious challenge of a coalition who used the name of Islam devoid of its core values of inclusiveness, tolerance and dignity as the rallying cry to reshape Malaysia into a warped idea of a theocracy never intended by our founding fathers.
The people who voted for PH seems too impatient, too unthinking and too aggressive in demanding change overnight.
Even the great man himself, Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang said in a forum that he too wanted to reset Malaysia quickly in 2018 but he had to learn that change in Malaysia as a government must be sure, steady and slow.
As I have said in one article after 2018, the power of policy-making now resides in the social media and the mosque, and whoever ignores these two elements will place Malaysia in jeopardy.
Like it or not, Islam will and presently is the high stakes game and currency that would resuscitate or doom Malaysia in the coming years.
So, when the civil society attacked PM Anwar for his stand on Islam and cursed him for “abandoning” the “promises” of reform, these Malaysians are throwing stones at a house made of glass that will eventually collapse on all of us with our ignorant good intentions.
We must realise that as a family we must bear with the time it takes for individual spouse and individual child to thread the change slowly but surely with experience, gentle guidance and a lot of prayers.
Our Malaysia under the Anwar Ibrahim premiership has the only potential to change the course of our nation back from the abyss of financial and racial corruption as well as the present dangers of an explosive extremist religious narrative.
To fight these three battlegrounds, we Malaysians must find in our hearts to support our present leaders, young and old, new and inexperienced, together to brave the future into a new Malaysia penned by our wisest of royals, the YDP Agong.
The ball is in our court and the we command the oars and tiller of our ship into the unknown sea of water and mist.
We, together with Anwar Ibrahim and the Unity Government, have braved the first hurdle, while there are four more years of patience, wisdom and tolerance to endure and share.
Happy well-deserved birthday to the Unity Government, our cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
May the waters in the days ahead be calm, the wind be on our backs and the mist clear towards a destiny of hope, faith and success for all of us in Malaysia.
(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)