|Written by Koon Yew Yin|
|Tuesday, 06 October 2009 14:20|
|On the invitation of the Perak Academy, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah recently visited Ipoh and delivered the most reassuring and inspiring lecture that I have heard from a Malaysian politician. This dinner talk on Oct 2 attracted a much larger audience than the regular talks organized by the Perak Academy. However, it really deserved a much larger audience – in fact it deserved a national audience and not simply an elite Perak one.
Tengku Razaleigh, or Ku Li as he is affectionately known, said that the timing of his talk was most appropriate since Perak is at its defining moment in its claim to the right to being a constitutional democracy. In his view, Malaysians who are committed to making constitutional democracy an integral part of our political culture should be watching closely the unfinished journey that Perak has embarked upon.
Ku Li pointed out that the current Perak constitutional crisis shows that democracy is not a ready-made formula or a preordained political system which will automatically follow once we have a written Constitution. The reality is far more complex and often uglier than what it is made out to be. In some cases – and the Perak situation comes to mind – we may have exchanged important democratic values and issues of public morality for the temptation and illusion of stability and prosperity promised by some leaders, regardless of the corrosive effect on democracy.
I and many others in the audience could see clearly that being an Umno leader and a former Finance Minister, his words were carefully chosen and his critical remarks were toned down. Perhaps, this was the reason why he chose to read out his prepared speech rather than provide a more spontaneous one.
Ku Li’s conclusion is the most important part of his speech. In it, he summarised what I shall call his ‘10 Golden Political Principles’ to ensure Malaysia’s future, as follows:
After listening to his speech, I have had discussions on the subject with friends who were also in the audience. I am fully convinced that these principles are important to disseminate, relevant to meeting the challenges of the present and future, and deserving of full support from all Malaysians. If adhered to, I believe that they can provide an important foundation for rebuilding our fragile Malaysian unity and solidarity.
Hence, for a start, I call on all Malaysians and especially all politicians, whether from BN or Pakatan, if they do not want the stability and harmony of the country to be further undermined, to unreservedly endorse and support the 10 Golden Principles.
Tengku Razaleigh on equality of citizenship