Utterly shameful and disgraceful when we should be focused on how to achieve the lost Malaysian dream to be a world-class nation, we are caught in ugly dogfight insulting each other’s lineage and heritage
Today is August 1, 2017 – the 30th Day Countdown to the 60th National Day Anniversary to celebrate the nation’s attainment of Merdeka on August 31, 1957.
It is utterly shameful and disgraceful when we should be focused on how to achieve the lost Malaysian dream to be a world-class nation of achievement and excellence in every field of human endeavour, we are instead caught in a ugly dogfight insulting each other’s lineage and heritage.
As if further proof is needed, this is further evidence of how serious things have gone wrong in our six decades of nationhood.
I was in Form III in Batu Pahat High School, and all students were assembled in the school padang to hear the Proclamation of Merdeka read out by the founding Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman at Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, culminating with the chanting of “Merdeka” seven times.
Reading out the Merdeka Proclamation, Tunku Abdul Rahman pledged that the nation “shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations”.
When the country achieved independent nationhood on August 31, 1957, it heralded the beginning of a new era where all its citizens could dare to dream big dreams to remake the world.
But have we been able to achieve world-class status in every field of human endeavor, whether political, economic, educational, social, environmental or on good governance after sixty years?
Today, we have overnight become a global kleptocracy.
The doctrine of separation powers is suffering unprecedented strain – with the Executive led by the Prime Minister and his Ministers putting up a world-class charade pretending that the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal does not exist, although the 1MDB scandal has not stopped hogging global headlines in the past two-and-half years with new developments and revelations.
Parliament, meanwhile, has entered the Guinness Book of Records as a legislature which has refused to allow MPs to question or debate the greatest financial scandal to hit the country and which has made Malaysia into a global kleptocracy, on the ridiculous ground of sub judice to protect the independence and impartiality of the judiciary of another country!
While the Judiciary is speeding towards a new constitutional crisis with the unconstitutional extension of the Chief Justice in two days’ time, to be followed by the unconstitutional extension of the Court of Appeal President in eight weeks’ time.
What is our report card on the state of democracy, liberty, justice, people’s welfare and happiness promised in the Merdeka Proclamation 60 years ago?
Have we become a more united or more divided nation?
The ridiculous, illogical and even unconstitutional ban of the G25 book on “Breaking the Silence –Voices of Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” is a distressful sign of greater racial and religious polarization in Malaysia, a departure from the nation-building principles enshrined in the Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Runkunegara and a break from previous five Prime Ministers and previous nine Deputy Prime Ministers (i.e. Razak, Ismail, Hussein, Mahathir, Musa, Ghafar, Anwar, Abdullah and Muhyiddin) who would not have approved the ban on the G25 book.
Instead of pondering on the gulf between the promises and realities of the Merdeka Proclamation on democracy, liberty, justice, people’s welfare and happiness and the commitment to reaffirm our dedication, determination and resolve to achieve the goals of the Merdeka Proclamation in the face of the challenges of globalization, the nation’s leader have descended further down the gutter to insult reach other’s lineage and heritage.
The 60th National Day Anniversary and 57th Malaysia Day Anniversay should be occasions for moderate Malaysians to launch a virtuous movement of goodwill and solidarity among Malaysians regardless of race, religion or politics to build a nation of peace, tolerance, understanding and mutual respect to defeat those who want Malaysia to be trapped in a vicious circle of hate, enmity, intolerance, mutual distrust and extremism.
Malaysia is not a nation of one race or one religion, but a nation of diverse races, religions and cultures.
Malaysia as “Instant Asia” should not just be a draw for tourists to come to Malaysia from all over the world, as the racial, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity of Malaysia is a national asset and strength and not a liability or weakness for Malaysian nation-building.
Malaysia can become a world-class nation if we can leverage on the best qualities and values of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures which meet in confluence Malaysia, but Malaysia is doomed as a nation if we allow the voices of extremism and intolerance full and free rein in our national life.
The greatest challenge of Malaysia is whether we can build on the goodwill, solidarity, tolerance and mutual understanding and respect of the diverse races, religions and cultures or allow the voices of intolerance, hatred and extremism to destroy the bonds of reason, love, compassion and unity we have built in the past and replace them with hate, mistrust, intolerance and extremism which could only end with greater national discord and division.
Let us start with full respect of each other’s lineages and heritages especially as all the Prime Ministers of Malaysia have mixed lineages and heritages.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi should be graceful enough to admit his grave error of judgment in disparaging the lineage and heritage of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, tender an unreserved apology, and let the country move on to properly celebrate the nation’s 60th National Day anniversary, with the 30-day Countdown today.