Difference between real hope and false hope

Karambir Singh

Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope.
Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.
– Tena Desae, Indian actress and model

2020 is the year! The date is May 10. It is exactly two years after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and the Pakatan Harapan coalition (PH), was sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister on May 10, 2018 in an atmosphere of much joy and jubilation.

Dr Mahathir had promised he would step aside as Prime Minister after two years. Being a statesman and a person of international standing, he is a man of his word. He had finally agreed to hand over to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). Today he was at Istana Negara to witness the swearing-in of the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Several weeks ago, the seventh Prime Minister had declared that he was satisfied that he had managed to steer Malaysia into the right direction with good governance and that all the promises made had been accomplished. He had managed to avert the predicted disaster after one and a half years into the PH government at the 11th hour. Thus drastically turning a stale, unimaginative and stagnating Cabinet into a high performing team.

Just about six months ago, it looked like a virtually impossible task for the PH government to overcome the many challenges facing it. This was made possible when the two leaders of Bersatu and PKR had removed the hatchet from each other’s back and once again buried it elsewhere, to settle their long-running drama and acrimonious relationship with each other.

One of the most contentious issues in Malaysian politics, racial and religious issues had been resolved by PH. Cooler heads prevailed to ensure stability and economic prosperity.

The much-publicised promise of subsidised petrol by PH at RM1.50 was finally introduced as a New Year present to all Malaysians much to the joy of all its citizens.

GST was reintroduced, but at 4 per cent. This much-awaited U-turn on GST was effective from Jan 1, 2020 after the failed implementation of SST that deprived the federal government of billions in much-needed revenue.

The long-awaited announcement by PH Sarawak of names of the seven sugar import AP holders in Sarawak was revealed and all were found to be innocent and the matter became a non-issue.

In December 2019, PH Sarawak also announced that the federal government would completely fund the international schools announced by Sarawak Chief Minister in the Sarawak government’s proposed 2020 Budget since they claimed to have proposed it in 2015. It was announced as a Christmas present to Sarawak.

To everyone’s surprise, Petronas paid up the 5 per cent Sarawak sales tax without the Sarawak government having to take it to court.

In a stunning reversal and as a gesture of solidarity with Sarawakians and a 2020 New Year goodwill gesture, the Prime Minister announced full compliance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963. All the oil and gas rights were returned to Sarawak and an equitable negotiated settlement on oil revenue was reached.

The dilapidated and neglected schools in Sarawak are now well on their way to being upgraded with an initial one billion in federal funds being committed and promises of more to come.

Very importantly, we were also given autonomy in education and healthcare with full federal financial support.

The PH government also agreed to disband the Federal Village Committee Management Council (MPKKP) and restored funding to our JKKKs.

The Malayan Cabinet, having seen the errors of their ways and to atone for their past self-centred behaviour, the past six months saw an unprecedented and accelerated rate of development in Sarawak to make sure we catch up with IR 4.0 and even to start planning for IR5.0.

Due to the many other successes and achievements by the PH federal government, PH Sarawak is now in a buoyant mood. It senses total victory at the next Sarawak state election, PRN12.

After a troubled and sputtering start with the implementation of their Buku Harapan promises, they seem to have pulled off a miracle, especially since the newly re-minted Prime Minister Dr Mahathir had in July of 2018 said: “The pre-election manifesto is not a bible that has to be followed and abided by religiously.” So it seems to have turned out that it was a bible of sorts that PH was carrying and waving around after all.

The hard work and efforts of PH Sarawak to change the minds of Sarawakians had paid dividends with many now expressing admiration and support due to their ability to deliver all their manifesto promises and more. Syabas!

I am sure the above scenario is one that most PH members would ideally like to see to have taken place after two years in power and their much-celebrated victory. Why not? After all, it would benefit all of Malaysia.

However, the scenario above is my first attempt at writing fiction. I ‘harap’ it came across well.

Indeed, if people believe that PH has already done it, then they are living in a fantasy world. If they believe and hope it will happen under PH, then they are utterly delusional and need treatment of some sort.

I can assure you that the words ‘Develop Sarawak’ or ‘Sarawak First’ is not in the PH dictionary or in their hearts. Let’s hope that we Sarawakians can distinguish between ‘false hope’ and ‘real hope’ and also between ‘real sustainable help’ and ‘help with hidden and destructive agendas’.

If we keep in mind the parting words of the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, “Jaga Sarawak tok bait bait” at the ballot box, we will surely be in safe hands.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.

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