When Tengku Razaleigh speaks, he does so with such clarity and candour that our self-imposed blinkered psyche may find it difficult to process his words. But we must persist so that we can imbibe the wisdom and insight of Tun Abdul Razak's "chosen one". We need to do so in order that we understand what it means to be a proud and forward-looking Malaysian. By so doing we may yet avert the downward spiralling decline of our beloved country.
Here is an extract of a report on Tengku Razaleigh's speech in a private function tonight:
Tengku Razaleigh said that Malaysians should start trusting “less in personalities and more in policies.”
“Look less to politics and more to principles, less to rhetoric and more to tangible outcomes, less to the government of the day and more to enduring institutions,” he said.
In his speech, the former finance minister also spoke at length about the country’s affirmative action policies, the NEP and how he felt embarrassed that after 50 years of independence, “we are still talking about bringing Malaysians together.”
“Curiously, although the policy was formulated … for a finite period, in our political consciousness it has grown into an all encompassing and permanent framework that defines who we are.
“The NEP ended in 1991 when it was terminated and replaced by the New Development Policy, but eighteen years on, we are still in its hangover and speak confusingly about liberalising it.”
He said that it was a crushing indictment of the mediocrity of leadership that the NEP is considered sacrosanct and that departures from it are big strides.
“The NEP is over and we have not had the courage to tell people this.”
In a veiled attack against his own party, Tengku Razaleigh pointed out that the NEP had been systematically appropriated by a small political and business class to enrich itself and perpetuate power.
“We must break the stranglehold of communal politics and racial policy if we want to be a place where an economy driven by ideas and skills can flourish.
“We can do much better than cling to the bright ideas of 40 years ago as if they were dogma, and forget our duty to come up with the bright ideas for our own time.
“We need a Malaysian New Deal based on the same universal concerns on which the NEP was originally formulated, but designed for a new era.”
The Umno veteran also called for a fair and equitable political and economic order, founded on equal citizenship which he said was the only possible basis for a united Malaysia and a talent-driven economy.
You can read his entire speech here.
Read also The Edge Daily's op-ed piece, First, the straight talk, here.