THE MALAYSIA WE WISH FOR IS POSSIBLE
31 AUGUST 2014
On the occasion of the 57th anniversary of Malaya’s independence, we are again forced to confront the grim reality that is Malaysia today. Despite all the feel-good Merdeka day video-clips released by the major businesses and the public service announcements on radio and TV, the events that have happened or that have been allowed to happen by the authorities demonstrate all too clearly that Malaysia has become a country beset by ugly racism, religious extremism and fanaticism, political persecution, entrenched institutionalised discrimination, increasing crime and a gradual but undeniable deterioration in inter-racial harmony and mutual respect amongst various groups in this country.
In the days of Malaya’s newfound independence, the leaders of this country were men of integrity who had respect for all races and religions and practised what they preached. Now we have leaders in Malaysia who tolerate and even condone the actions of supremacist groups who preach hate and violence, their repugnant arrogance masking the insecurities they harbour. The actions of such groups threaten our peace and harmony and are a source of much concern for us. That these groups exist is sad, but the tragedy is in the fact that our nation’s leaders and even members of our judiciary, do not feel morally obliged to fulfill their duties towards all the citizens of this country, to ensure that every citizen’s rights are protected. “Without fear or favour” has lost its meaning and significance at a time when it is desperately needed.
Nevertheless, I believe that there are many people in this country who still have a vision of the Malaysia that was intended to be, and that could still be. This mostly silent majority must speak up, in whichever voice suits them best, and show the leaders and judiciary that their failure in fulfilling their sworn duties towards the people is unacceptable. I echo the call of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) for the people to ‘push harder for personal and institutional changes that will transform the country into a more tolerant and caring society’ so that religious extremism and racial polarisation will cease to exist in this country. We need not look further than to our closest neighbor Indonesia for inspiration. Joko Widodo, the new President of the world’s most populous Muslim country recently declared with full conviction, without fear or favour, that ‘When all is said and done, Indonesia is a secular country which protects freedom of religion and expression. Everyone must work to protect this. This is the only way to guarantee our future.’ This is the sort of leadership Malaysians need now, more than ever. Let us all do our part to bring about the change that will restore the real peace and harmony we all crave for Malaysia.
We wish our fellow citizens in Peninsula Malaysia a happy 57th Merdeka celebration on 31 August 2014.
Chairman, PKR Sarawak