Surprise PKR vice-president appointee John Tenewi Nuek is convinced that political reform is vital to combat BN's corrupt ways.
KUCHING: Newly-appointed PKR vice-president John Tenewi Nuek says that the Barisan Nasional has deteriorated because of too much corruption and cronyism.
“I think corruption is beyond redemption,” he told FMT, adding that as such, it was in the best interest of all Malaysians to have an alternative voice.
“That’s why I think it is in the best interest of all of us as Malaysians to have an alternative voice that can provide an alternative government.
“This alternative voice can also provide checks and balances,” he said.
Nuek, 65, retired in 2004 as a career diplomat after serving the Foreign Ministry for 33 years. His last post was as the Malaysian ambassador to Myanmar.
When asked why he chose to join PKR and not any party in the BN, Nuek said: “As an ambassador, I served the BN government, and at one stage it was with full conviction and I was proud of it.
“But I have observed that the BN government has deteriorated.
“There is too much corruption, far too much cronyism in Malaysia. In my view, the corruption, cronyism and nepotism in the BN government have now gone from bad to worse,” he said.
He added that during his days as a diplomat, it was one of the principal roles of Malaysian diplomats to project the good image of the country.
“For example, you must defend government policies, especially on ISA, explain to other diplomats Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘black eyes’, Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on ‘shoot on sight’ rather than the word ‘shoo’ against the Vietnamese refugees, Bruno Mansur’s presence in Malaysia and on environment and so on.
“But I will tell the truth: there is too much corruption and nepotism in the country. It is a question of how deep,” he said, adding that there are leaders in BN who also admitted that there are corruption and nepotism in the government.
Need for political reform
On his appointment as PKR vice-president, Nuek regarded it as an honour.
“I am entering politics because I feel that we need to have a reform in our political system.
“I have been an ambassador and a career diplomat for 33 years serving in eight countries. My job was as a political and economic analyst.
“When people ask me about the most significant factor that will determine whether the country will progress or regress, my answer is – and I would like to say in one word – politics. If your politics is bad, your country will decline.
“Look at the Philippines in the 1950s and 1960s, it was very much ahead of us. Myanmar was not doing too badly.
“In Africa, we see that Ghana and Nigeria which obtained their independence at almost the same time as Malaysia, were doing very well. But because their politics was bad, these countries have declined,” said the New Zealand political science graduate.
“I observe the trend in our political system here and that is why I started to enter politics so that I may do my little bit,” Nuek added.
He said that he chose PKR and Pakatan Rakyat because he hoped it would one day form the alternative government.
Politics is about ideas
Nuek said that Malaysians must look at politics in the broad sense in that the people must not be narrow in their thinking, because in a country like Malaysia, which is multi-racial , multi-cultural and multi-religious, the people have to co-exist as equal partners.
“There should not be a group which wants to dominate others. We fought against colonialism which was a form of domination. And are we going from external to domestic colonialism?
“That is why there must be inclusiveness always in our approach, because there is room for everybody in Malaysia.
“I think if we work together, we will be able to turn Malaysia into a dynamic country in all aspects,” he said.
On the question of Bidayuhs’ “disunity”, Nuek said: “I think one of the reasons the Bidayuhs are in this political situation now is their lack of knowledge of politics. It’s just like the Ibans.
“I think we need to deepen our knowledge of politics.
“Politics to me basically is a question of ideas. I am not going to politics because I do not like so and so; I think that my idea is the better idea.
“But I think that most of us unfortunately go to politics for a narrow vision, sometimes for personal reasons,” he said.
Nuek was the first Sarawakian to be appointed an ambassador.
Two others who had been appointed High Commissioners to New Zealand were Dunstan Endawie and Daniel Tajem. Both of them were political appointees