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My fellow Malaysians,

In a few days, we will be exercising our right as citizens to elect a government of our choice. It is a sacred responsibility. The future of our nation is in our hands.  I don’t need to remind you that the stakes have never been higher. 

From my long years abroad as a diplomat and ambassador, I can tell you one thing: when there is a government that is just, accountable and truly committed to serving the people, a nation can rise to greatness; people prosper, live in peace and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. But when  the government is corrupt, the whole country suffers.

There are already too many examples of countries which started off with great potential only to end up mired in corruption, mismanagement and instability.

I never thought such a fate would befall this beloved country of ours, that the Malaysia we know and love would come to be known as a kleptocracy, an object of scorn, a land of scandal, injustice and extremism. It is particularly sad as well that some 60 years after our independence, so many Malaysians are still struggling just to provide a decent life for their families. This is not the Malaysia I was so proud to represent as ambassador.

We live in a blessed land, richly endowed with natural resources and opportunity; our people are industrious and our diversity makes us unique. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot be the best nation in the world. All that is missing is good, responsible and accountable leadership.

There are those who say that change is too risky, too dangerous. They point to the instability and chaos that followed a change of government in other countries. They hint at a recurrence of experiences that traumatized our nation before.

But Malaysia is different. We have experienced and capable leaders in Pakatan Harapan who are able to usher in change without the chaos and instability that those other countries experienced. Look at Selangor. Look at Penang. And look at Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Mat Sabu and others.

In fact, never before have we  had such a talented, passionate and committed team standing for parliament under the Pakatan Harapan banner. I have met many of them and I am excited that the future of our nation will be in the hands of such outstanding and dedicated men and women, but we must empower them with our vote if they are to bring about the change we all long for.

Let there be no mistake: this election is not about race or religion or putting one group or another down; it is about lifting all our people up, about good governance, responsibility, integrity and justice.

The only people who fear change are the people who have exploited our weaknesses, manipulated our fears and kept us from our destiny. They cannot be allowed to continue to hold sway over our nation.

Change is possible. Who would have thought that powerful men like Ferdinand Marcos, Suharto, Hosni Mubarak and Robert Mugabe would someday fall. They held all the levers of state power, dominated all the country’s institutions and surrounded themselves with a tight group of loyal cronies to do their bidding. They appeared invincible and secure. And yet they fell.

I don’t know what lies ahead but I know that this is our moment to send a clear message to those who would govern us that we will never again tolerate corruption and injustice, overlook abuses of power and impunity, or accept the manipulation of race and religion. A government that is not servant of the people is an enemy of the people.

My fellow Malaysians,

This is our last chance to save our nation, to salvage our democracy, to redeem our future. If we don’t act now, the Malaysia we know and love will end up a failed state and our name will be synonymous with corruption, extremism and instability. Please don’t let that be the fate of our beloved nation.

I urge you, therefore, to vote for change, to vote for a better Malaysia, to vote Pakatan Harapan.

Ambassador (R) Dennis Ignatius

Kuala Lumpur | 7thMay 2018