Both SABM and HAKAM, the principal movers of the Social Inclusion Agenda, are non-partisan in their pursuit of seeing this very important proposal to urgently address the root causes of poverty and marginalisation in the country become a reality.
Hence, invitations to yesterday’s dialogue were extended to political parties on both sides of the divide.
Yes, to all BN parties and to the opposition parties, too.
I can even confirm that two Saturdays back, I arranged for the invite and the related documents to be sent to a senior UMNO leader who had intimated to me that to show how serious UMNO was about reforms, a representative would attend.
I am told that MCA replied to say they would not attend.
Not a word from UMNO, MIC, Gerakan or PPP.
Of the three Pakatan parties, DAP and PKR sent reps.
The PAS rep, with whom I had spoken the night before, was indeed taken ill.
PSM and PRM were present.
As were STAR and SAPP, both of Sabah.
What was most encouraging was the pledge by the four parties last mentioned, STAR, SAPP, PSM and PRM, that if they were to be part of the federal government post the 13th GE, they would push to realise the SIA.
Both the DAP and PKR rep said they would take this civil society back to their respective parties for serious consideration but, in their personal capacities, saw the vitality and use of the SIA.
I am, as such, quietly confident that Pakatan, too, will join the other opposition parties in pledging to implement the SIA post the 13th GE should we, the rakyat, succeed in ABUing the nation and give the mandate to administer the nation to a new non-BN coalition.
Now, against this backdrop, even as the initiators of the Social Inclusion Agenda, both SABM and HAKAM, continue in their non-partisan stance in furthering this effort, I hope that they and all of you will forgive me if I too pursue the realisation of this very important civil society initiative, but with my ABU hat on.
Quite simply, I do not believe that UMNO/BN and Najib would give us any of the reforms we seek, including the SIA.
And quite honestly, I believe that only a new regime in Putrajaya post the 13th GE comprising Pakatan Rakyat, PSM and maybe even PRM, if they are going to contest in the elections, and the United Borneo Alliance led by Jeffrey Kitingan, will allow us a realistic hope of seeing the SIA become a reality.
In my next post, I will share my thoughts on what precisely the Social Inclusion Agenda is and why it is no longer an option, but is an absolute imperative if we are to begin the process of bringing real change to the lives of millions of Malaysians who have been long neglected and marginalised.