My 76th birthday wish is that Malaysians will try to be more Malaysian in their thinking, outlook and response regardless of race, religion, region or culture
I thank all who have sent their best wishes in various forms on the occasion of my 76th birthday today.
My birthday wish is that Malaysians will try to be more Malaysian in their thinking, outlook and responses regardless of race, religion, region or culture.
Malaysia will celebrate the 60th National Day on August 31 to mark Malaysia’s independence in 1957 and the 57th Malaysia Day on September 16.
Malaysia is a nation of diverse races, languages, religions and cultures and this diversity is Malaysia’s greatest strength and asset.
Malaysia should be the showcase of peace, tolerance, understanding, inter-action and unity of diverse races, religions and cultures in the world to build a new global civilization of justice, freedom, dignity and excellence of humanity.
But we have still a considerable distance to go to reach this goal which must be predicated on the resolve and unity of diverse peoples of Malaysia to build a great Malaysian nation.
The horrific Johor Baru disaster in the early hours of Saturday, where eight teenagers died and eight were seriously injured when a car rammed into a group of some 30 to 40 cyclists out for a joyride at JB Middle Ring Road, is one example of why Malaysians need to be more Malaysian in their thinking, outlook and responses regardless of race, religion, region or culture.
Although the 22-year-old salesgirl driver, was a Chinese and the teenage casualties and victims Malays, this is not a racial but a social problem.
The Johor police chief, Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Wan Mohd, said that the woman driver, who has been released by the police, was not intoxicated or speeding at the time of the accident nor was she using a handphone at the time.
Like the parents of the eight teenage deaths and those injured, she is highly traumatised by the tragedy.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed admitted today that the Middle Ring Road in JB and Danga Bay were the two spots most frequented by “mosquito bicycle” groups in the wee hours of the morning – a problem which had persisted for almost ten years.
The Johor Baru tragedy brought to light the cycling sub-culture among children from low-income families who race with mosquito bikes (basikal nyamok) – “modified bicycles” without brakes.
The JB disaster highlights a major social problem, and all must bear part of the responsibility for the tragedy – the parents, teachers, community leaders, politicians and official institutions which by their inactions or omissions, have contributed to the making of the Johor Baru tragedy and disaster.
It is not just a problem of the Malay community, but for all Malaysians – as illustrated by the tragedy where the driver is a Chinese while the casualties and victims are Malay teenagers. The driver could have been a Malay but this does not make the mosquito bike sub-culture phenomenon/problem any less Malaysian.
Malaysians must grieve for the eight teenagers who died in the JB tragedy – Shahrul Izwan, 14; Fauzan Halmijah, 13; Muhammad Harith Iskandar Abdullah, 14; Mohammad Azrie Danish Zuldefli, 14; Muhammad Shahrul Nizam Maruddin, 14; Mohamad Azhar Amir 16; Muhammad Firdauz Danish Mohd Azahar 16; Haizal Kasrin, 16; and eight other kids who were injured in the horrible accident.
Malaysians must grieve for the parents and family of the eight teenagers who died as well as the parents and families of those injured in the accident.
Malaysians must also grieve for the 22-year-old saleswoman driver who will have to live with a life-long trauma of having caused the death of eight teenagers and injuring many others, although this was never her intention whatsoever.
But Malaysians must not see the problems highlighted by the Johor Baru tragedy as a racial one, least of all Malay versus Chinese.
It is our collective responsibility to ensure that those who died or suffered injuries and trauma in the Johor Baru tragedy would not do so in vain, and that immediate and urgent actions would be taken to ensure that what happened in Johor Baru can never recur, whether in Johore or anywhere in Malaysia.
All Malaysians, and not just DAP leaders, MPs, State Assemblymen and women, must be prepared to contribute to the mission for Malaysians to be more Malaysian in their thinking, outlook and responses regardless of race, religion, region or culture.
Just as Balamurugan Suppiah’s death is not solely an Indian problem, the recognition of United Examination Certificate (UEC) is not solely a Chinese problem, or the grouses and grievances of Felda settlers not solely a Malay problem – Malaysia must make the next quantum leap in Malaysian nation-building with more Malaysians trying to be Malaysians in their thinking, outlook and responses regardless of race, religion, region or culture.