Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad TRUE PARTNERSHIP: All Barisan component parties share the principle that compromise is integral to the unity of the country IF there is any one thing that has made Malaysia the prosperous country that it is today, it is the concept of kongsi, or sharing. The founding fathers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Cheng Lock and K.L. Devaser could have led their communities to fight and confront each other in the attempt to grab the fruits of independence. But they decided instead to share the wealth and power of this great country between the three major races. Later, they extended the sharing to the different races in Sabah and Sarawak. But sharing means having to give up something so that other parties can also enjoy their portions. Taking everything that each believes is his entitlement would not make sharing meaningful. And so it was that these major races, and later the other races, decided that this country be ruled by all of them through a political coalition. There was an acknowledgement of the numerical strength of each, but none of the races could have an absolute say in the affairs of the country. To realise this sharing principle in a practical way, the race-based parties formed a coalition. This means that they do not contest against each other. Rather, they would support the coalition candidates irrespective of which coalition partner they are from. The combined support enabled the coalition to win against the fractured opposition. In the governance of the country, the sensitivities and rights of each member is balanced against the sensitivities and rights of the other members. In the end, a compromise would be reached. No one party would be completely happy as compromise means surrendering something of one's demand. But the state of not being completely happy is the ideal if the coalition is to succeed. The compromise must also extend to the sharing of wealth generation through economic activities. This is more difficult to achieve. It is not just a matter of apportioning business opportunities, but also of business skills. Those with business skills are more likely to make a success of the opportunities they get. But still, the effort must be made to give a fair share of the wealth of this country to each and everyone. That the effort has yielded results was exhibited by the peace and stability which prevailed in this country even during the currency crisis. And the stability saved the country and everyone. But the attempt to share the wealth must go on until competition becomes fair. This will ensure stability and peace. And only stability and peace can ensure the growth of wealth for all to enjoy. Indeed, that is what we are all enjoying today.

That the kongsi concept has contributed much to the development of Malaysia, no one can deny. Had the Malays upon independence tried to grab everything for themselves, both the political power and economic wealth, there would not be the growth that we see today. Or, if the Chinese refuse to share the opportunities and wealth of this country, the extreme disparities in ownership of wealth would render the country unstable and unable to prosper. As for the Indians, powerful as they can be as leaders of workers and unions, and as professionals, they would not enjoy much if they stifle the growth of the country with their demands. We see this in the decline of the United Kingdom as an industrial nation. The peoples of Sabah and Sarawak also contribute with their willingness to work within the same framework, the same kongsi principle. Now the opposition has decided to copy the concept of coalition, the kongsi principle. But theirs is not a kongsi. Theirs is a "pakatan". The Malay word "pakatan" is not the same as the Chinese word kongsi. Kongsi is about sharing. Pakat is about a temporary cooperation for a certain purpose. There is no give and take. There is no sharing. Pakat is more akin to conspiracy to do something together. Since competing against each other will divide the opposition vote, causing them to lose, the opposition will "pakat", i.e. work together merely to prevent a split in votes. They will even contest under their separate symbols. After that, there will not be a true coalition government. Each will pull in its own direction. They may try to have a common objective. But, as in the case of the use of "Kalimah Allah", the Islamic state and hudud laws, the moment Pas leaders tried to water down their objectives, their supporters objected strongly. They were forced to retain their Islamic state, hudud laws and the exclusivity of "Kalimah Allah". DAP has openly declared that they reject Pas' Islamic state objective, the hudud laws and demand that Pas honour the agreements it had entered into with the other partners. Parti Keadilan Rakyat, on the other hand, supports Israel's rights and action to ensure security for itself. This actually means endorsing the seizure of Palestinian land, erection of walls, and detention and killings of Palestinians as well as Turkish aid workers. Pas cannot very well support Keadilan's pro-Israel views for fear of losing the support of its members. Clearly, Pakatan Rakyat cannot cooperate if it wins, much less forms a coalition government. They are not a kongsi, nor do they wish to kongsi or share anything other than trying to win elections. It was the Alliance which proposed and adopted the kongsi concept. For 55 years, the Alliance and Barisan Nasional kongsi has brought peace and stability to Malaysia. Pakatan has never really functioned as a kongsi. In Kelantan and Kedah Pas rules. In Penang, DAP rules. In Selangor, PKR tries to rule. There is no coalition. No kongsi.

Malaysians who love this country should uphold the only concept that can work in this multiracial country -- the kongsi concept. Only BN can provide this kongsi. The opposition simply cannot kongsi. A mandate for the opposition will be disastrous for Malaysia.

Sharing means having to give up something so that other parties can also enjoy their portions. The effort must be made to give a fair share of the wealth of this country to each and everyone.

New Straits Times, 5 April 2013
Read more: Only BN makes 'kongsi' idea work - Columnist - New Straits Times

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