Laying ABU to rest, and getting SABM dusted and off the shelf

Posted on May 16, 2018

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many-colours-one-dreamIMG-20180512-WA0040On 16th September, 2009, at Rumah Anak Bangsa Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, a few friends and I launched a people’s initiative called Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia.

A non-partisan, people-driven journey to change the hearts and minds of the rakyat, in the hope of one day seeing this as truly a nation of a single people.

In a blog post the following day, I wrote of this fledgling initiative :

“Nothing fancy.

No frills, but she is a labour of love and we are certain that she is not only sea-worthy but that she will see us through the roughest of storms that we see ahead of us.

Built by men and women who, by God’s grace, are free from the shackles of ‘tribal think’.

Who look at each other and see, not Malay, not Chinese, not Indian, but fellow human beings, equal and free.

Who respect, embrace and celebrate our cultural differences.

And though the oarsmen were small in number, as we put our sampan out to sea yesterday, we were greatly encouraged by the many who,notwithstanding the intermittent rain, came to wish us well on this journey…

…However, we have not deluded ourselves and we will not deceive you.

We do not pretend that these few oarsmen can, by themselves, undo the damage inflicted by 39 years of divide and rule based on race and religion in this country.

This can only be done if every decent anak Bangsa Malaysia will join us in this journey.”

We had programs planned out for a year.

These included :

  • hosting a roundtable to share the SABM Charter with potential smart partner NGOs and NGIs;
  • a dialogue with political parties from both sides of the political divide; and
  •  to take the SABM roadshow to Sabah and Sarawak, to Penang, Kelantan, Selangor and Johore.

With the encouragement of many, we were able to see these programs through.

At the same time, my efforts, that started in the build up to the 12th GE in 2008, to remove UMNO / BN from Putrajaya, in the next GE, continued.

These included :

  •  the soft launch of the very partisan ‘DNBN Kuburkan BN’ initiative at the Hulu Selangor by-elections;
  •  criticising PKR and its ongoing party elections in this blog; and
  • efforts to push for an independent candidate initiative for the 13th GE.

Unfortunately, because of my close association with SABM, these efforts were seen by certain quarters as SABM initiatives, and this impacted the efforts by SABM to reach out with its non-partisan message.

For this reason, with the full blessings of the SABM core group, in November, 2010, I took leave of absence from SABM to enable me to focus my efforts in burying UMNO / BN at the 13th GE.

There was another reason.

I felt that the SABM mission to change hearts and minds of the rakyat so that we might one day see ourselves as a single people was going to be a long haul. Standing in the way of this initiative was a racist UMNO and their partners in BN.

It therefore made more sense for me to focus on getting rid of UMNO and BN from Putrajaya, which would then clear the way for SABM to go into overdrive to take this initiative to the rakyat.

With this in mind, on 15th December, 2011, together with Chegubard, the Asalkan Bukan UMNO (ABU) movement was launched.

From the launch of ABU up to the 13th GE, and thereafter, until the 14th GE, albeit with a different methodology, my efforts have been with the ABU effort.

Whilst I was on leave, in August, 2012, SABM, together with the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM), launched a very, very important initiative.

The Social Inclusion Agenda, or SIA.

There is so much that I want to share with you about the SIA, but I am going to save that for another post.

Very soon.

After 9th May, 2018, my work in ABU is done.

UMNO and BN have been removed from Putrajaya.

The obstacle to nation-building has been removed.

In its place is a government that is showing itself earnest to work with the rakyat to put in place reforms that will best serve the nation.

My friends and I feel it is timely to get SABM involved in this passage of reform.

Why is this important?

I leave you with a quote from one of our earlier publications.

“Nation-building is a journey, not a destination! Forging a national identity cannot be left to chance. Each and every generation needs to be inducted and socialised into the process.

Politicians are not focused on nation building, rather on building their respective power bases. Political parties on both sides of the divide are pursuing agendas that are transactional and short-term, not transformational and long-term.

There is a real and urgent need for Civil Society to act in a non-partisan manner to forge national identity formation. The future of the younger generations of Malaysians, and the generations to come, depends on this.

Civil society must take the responsibility to refocus the People on nation building.”

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