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Let Malaysians make a joint
2007 New Year-50th Merdeka Anniversary Resolution to stand up
for fair, just and progressive nation-building policies to create towering
Malaysians and to stop Malaysia’s loss of international competitiveness
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : The new year 2007 is also the 50th Merdeka Anniversary for the nation.
There are two ways to celebrate the half-century of nationhood - in a lavish expenditure of public funds in fireworks, extravaganzas and pageantry or to celebrate it in a meaningful manner to instill greater national solidarity and sense of purpose in the nation’s journey to achieve a Bangsa Malaysia and a fully developed nation status.
Let Malaysians make a joint 2007 New Year-50th Merdeka Anniversary Resolution to celebrate the half-century of nationhood in a meaningful manner, with Malaysians regardless of race, religion, class or political beliefs standing up for fair, just and progressive nation-building policies to create towering Malaysians and to stop Malaysia’s loss of international competitiveness.
The most meaningful way to celebrate the half-century of nationhood is to seek a national consensus as to what had gone wrong with nation-building and how we can learn from the mistakes and failures of the past decades so that we can be more successful in the next 50 years, in particular on the following issues:
National unity – why after nearly five decades of nationhood, race relations in Malaysia is “not good, fragile and brittle”, as publicly admitted by the Prime Minister.
Inter-religious relations – In the first two decades of nationhood, the government sponsored the establishment of a Inter-Religious Council headed by a Cabinet Minister to promote inter-religious dialogue, understanding and goodwill. Today, a very similar proposal, the Inter-Faith Council, is regarded as highly sensitive and intolerable by the government-of-the day. What has gone wrong?
International competitiveness – the nation was the most developed country in Asia after Japan during Merdeka, but we have not been able to maintain our competitive edge. We are now in the third generation in our downward spiral in the international competitiveness stakes - after falling out of the company of Japan, we have also lost out to Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong and is now engaged in competition with Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Why?
An independent judiciary – Malaysia was held in high international esteem until the 1988 judicial crisis, and the nation has not fully recovered from the trauma and fall-outs of the successive series of judicial crisis for the ensuing 15 years. How to restore full public confidence in the system of justice in the country?
Excellence of education system – In the early decades of nationhood, Malaysia enjoyed international reputation for the quality of its educational system, whether primary, secondary or tertiary. Today, all levels of the education system is in permanent crisis with no solution in sight. Why?
Integrity in public life – Corruption and integrity of public life was not a big issue in the early decades of nationhood. Today, it has become a national cancer, Public Enemy No. 1, with worsening national and international perception of corruption in the first three years of the Abdullah premiership. Why?
World-class civil service - The nation has lost the world-class civil service and public service delivery system which it had started five decades ago. Why?
Human rights and good governance - Why Malaysia has failed in the past five decades to keep abreast with international progress in human rights and good governance.
The best and most patriotic way for Malaysians to celebrate the 50th Merdeka anniversary in 2007 is to have a national debate as to how the nation can fare better in the next half-century to create a united, progressive and prosperous Malaysian nation with every citizen proud to be a Malaysian first, with the Malaysian nationality overriding race and religious identities.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman