I have been guided all my life by Wen Tianxiang’s immortal words “All men are mortal but my loyalty will illuminate the annals of history forever” and have never compromised my loyalty to Malaysia to make it a world-class great nation
Two days ago, I visited the Sam Tiong Keng temple in Semabok, Malacca which is in the Banda Hilir state constituency where we are fielding Malacca DAPSY Deputy Chief Leong Chau Yan.
I was in for a surprise as the main historic figure the temple was dedicated to was Wen Tianxiang, the poet-politician of the Southern Song dynasty, who chose death instead of betrayal of his loyalty to Kublai Khan and the Yuan dynasty.
I have been guided all my life by Wen Tianxiang’s immortal words “All men are mortal but my loyalty will illuminate the annals of history forever” and have never compromised my loyalty to Malaysia to make it a world-class great nation.
Wen Tiansiang owed his loyalty to the Song dynasty in China but I owed my loyalty to Malaysia, where I was born, educated and will die in Malaysia.
This was why I came back to Malaysia a week after I was first elected Member of Parliament on Bandar Melaka, although I was advised to stay abroad until the storm of the May 13, 1969 riots blew over because I was on the blacklist to be arrested under the Internal Security Act. But y place was in Malaysia and not elsewhere.
That was why I had three times in my political life proposed a political moratorium as every Malaysian must be Malaysian first, and not Malay first, Chinese first, Indian first, Kadazan first or Iban first.
The first time was during my first Internal Security Act detention when on 5th August 1969, I wrote a letter from the Muar Detention Centre to the then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman “not as a party politician but as a Malaysian nationalist” and conveyed to him my anxieties for the future of Malaysia.
I said that the result of May 10, 1969 General Election was the people’s verdict for democracy, as against the MCP campaign of boycott of elections. There was joy and expectancy after the results, not to deprive anyone of his or her rights but at the new hope to work for a more just, equal and fulfilling society.
I appealed to Tunku at the moment of the nation’s trial to “rise above party politics and think only of the long-term national interests” and proposed a political moratorium for all political parties.
To ensure communal harmony and goodwill and the development of a Malaysian consciousness and identity transcending racial ties and affinities, I proposed the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe into “the entire gamut of racial problems in Malaysia with the view to seek long-term solutions”.
The second time was one day before my second Internal Security Act detention and I made the proposal in Parliament during the debate on the 1988 Budget on October 26, 1987 – a day before the Operation Lalang mass arrests were launched.
I proposed a one-year moratorium for all political parties where no racial, language, cultural or religious issues would be created or raised for everyone to concentrate on the national priority of achieving economic recovery and growth.
The third time was during the Covid-19 pandemic when on June 17, 2021, I called for a political moratorium where there was only one national priority – to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure that the Covid-19 fatalities did not exceed 5,000 deaths.
From a country which was doing quite well in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia had suddenly become one of the world’s top worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic.
When we celebrated our 63rd National Day on August 31, 2020 eight months after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had cumulative totals of 9,340 Covid-19 cases and 127 Covid-19 deaths.
Now, 14 months later, we have cumulative totals of nearly 2.6 million Covid-19 cases and nearly 30,000 deaths.
This is why we should end the crazy upsurge of Covid-19 cases and deaths, which we have succeeded in doing after the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and the Pakatan Harapan, but the decrease of Covid-19 cases and deaths are agonisingly slow, even when compared to nations with larger populations like Indonesia, Philippines, India and China.
Before I visited the Sam Tiong Keng temple, I was at Hang Tuah’s grave with the DAP candidate for Duyong, Damien Yeo.
Malaysians must be inspired by the examples of Wen Tiansiang and Hang Tuah to make Malaysia a world-class great nation.
I always believe that Malaysia, at the confluence of four great human civilisations – Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western – must leverage on the values and virtues of these four great civilisations.
Malaysia is Instant Asia – this should not be just a slogan to attract tourists all over the world to Malaysia but should be the very essence of life in Malaysia.
This is why we have the five Rukun Negara principles of Malaysian nation-building to achieve unity among Malaysians, preserve a democratic way of life to create a just society where the prosperity of the nation can be enjoyed together in a fair and equitable manner, while guaranteeing a liberal approach towards our diverse and rich traditional heritage and forging ahead towards a progressive society that will make use of science and modern technology.
These objectives are crystalised into five nation-building Rukun Negara principles, viz:
- BELIEF IN GOD
- LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY
- SUPREMACY OF THE CONSTITUTION
- RULE OF LAW
- COURTESY AND MORALITY
Malaysia’s trouble is that while in the seventies and eighties, the five Rukun Negara nation-building principles are taught to all students and engraved on walls of all schools, universities and important public areas, we have now Cabinet Ministers in the last two “backdoor” and illegitimate governments who do not subscribe or accept all these five nation-building Rukun Negara principles leading to the banning of liquor and gambling in Malaysia.
We must now emulate the example of Wen Tianxiang and Hang Tuah to make Malaysia a world-class great nation.