50th Merdeka anniversary must
be occasion for national introspection on the reasons for both our success
and failures in half-a-century of nationhood so that Malaysia can learn the
lessons of history to achieve the optimum national potentials in the coming
50th Merdeka Anniversary Message
by Lim Kit Siang
Unlike previous years, on the
occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, I am issuing a message on the
day itself instead of the usual practice of on its eve.
Just one or even two months ago, no one would have predicted or expected
that Malaysians would be troubled by many national issues of import come
August 31 when the nation celebrates its Merdeka golden jubilee – whether
about the Merdeka “social contract” on the fundamental cornerstone of
Malaysian nation-building; racial and religious polarization; the
independence and integrity of national institutions like the Cabinet,
Parliament, Judiciary, Police, Anti-Corruption Agency, Election
Commission, the public service; plunge in educational standards and
international competitiveness; decline in quality of life with unchecked
rise in crime; increasing intolerance towards dissent, press and internet
freedom; or a host of other major concerns.
With the 50th Merdeka anniversary, the “feel good” euphoria in Malaysia
should be even more effusive than in 2004 which gave Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi the unprecedented landslide general election victory,
sweeping over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats, a feat which had
eluded all the four previous Prime Ministers.
In actual fact, the “feel good” euphoria is singularly absent in the
country on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary. Instead of the
“feel good” euphoria, there is the “feel worse” sentiment among the people
which is even more prevalent and acute than at any time during previous
Malaysians have both chalked up successes and achievements as well as
experienced failures and setbacks in our 50 years of nationhood.
We are right to be proud of our successes but we must be prepared to
address our failures of half-a-century of nation-building.
If our 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations is one-sided, focusing only
on the success story while ignoring completely our failures, we are not
doing ourselves and future generations any service – for we are only
continuing to wallow in the pond of denial refusing to learn from the
mistakes which history can teach us, condemning future generations to
repeat the same grave errors.
The 50th Merdeka anniversary should be an occasion for a national
introspection of the formula of our successes and the reasons for our
under-performances so that Malaysia can fully achieve its optimum national
and international potentials, based on our human and natural resources.
If this is not done, then the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations would
have failed to achieve its true and full purpose and meaning.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman