By Ron CK Sim
Our beloved nation will celebrate her 52nd birthday on 31st August 2009. We have come a long way since that historic day when our Founding Father, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj proclaimed the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule at Stadium Merdeka.
Many young Malaysians have never been reminded by our present or past leaders about the foundation upon which our beloved independent nation came into being – the principles of justice and liberty. Is it because these so-called leaders do not wish the people to know what they as the government of the day cannot give or guarantee every Malaysian?
In his Proclamation of Independence speech, the great Tunku called on the people of Malaya to dedicate themselves to the service of the new nation, to work and strive to create a new nation inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty. He proclaimed that the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu “shall be forever 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.”
The road since independence has been a winding one full of potholes. The task of nation-building is indeed a challenging one. Looking at the state of lawlessness in our nation today only serves to highlight the stark contrasts between what was envisaged by Tunku and his generation of leaders, and what has become the collective product of the three most recent Premiers the country has had.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad started the rot through his 22 years of autocratic rule signified by massive corruption and abuse of power; Tun Abdullah Badawi simply sailed through for a term with his half-hearted reforms (while accumulating many hours of deep sleep along the way!); and now we have Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, while ‘sloganeering’ his One Malaysia vision, doing more and more damage through his blatant disregard for the rule of law and his administration’s racist rhetorics.
It looks increasingly clear by the day that Najib is trying not merely to emulate but to surpass the ‘high standard’ set by Dr Mahathir.
When the people of a nation give up their dreams, the nation loses its soul. This must not be allowed to happen. Sadly, what have been happening in our country in the last two decades (and more so in the last two years) are making Malaysians at large hopeless and restless. The state of lawlessness has prompted many to opine, rightly or wrongly, that our nation is heading towards a nation in which the likes of Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong Il would welcome with open arms into their ‘exclusive league of nations’!
How are we to endure another half of our lifetime witnessing events which many a times make us laugh and cry at the same time? The events happening back home have thus far proven to have an adverse effect on my brain, my heart and my digestive organs!
Many Malaysians young and old have given up hope and would no longer dare to dream of a better Malaysia for the remaining of our lifetime and those of our next generation. Many have migrated to foreign lands to seek greener (and fairer) pasture and many more are considering that option. There are also the majority who have no where else to go but to stay put, either watching with folded arms and legs, or for the braver and awakened ones, joining the cause and the struggle for change.
What do Malaysians want? What is the Malaysian Dream? The Malaysian Dream means different aspirations to different people and it is therefore not my intention to define what is by nature indefinable. Here is my wish list for a start (and I have many more!):
– I dream that Malaysians of all races and religions can live happily in peace and harmony without being ultra-sensitive and looking at each issue from the angle of race and religion.
– I dream that all Malaysians can be treated with fairness and equality under the law in accordance with the letter and spirit of our sacred Constitution.
– I dream that corruption of any kind and amount and at every level of society will be viewed by society at large with utter disgrace and contempt, and not generally viewed as a norm as it is today.
– I dream that our mainstream media can be free, fair, independent and professional in performing their roles as the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’ and as an effective check-and-balance apparatus on our Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
– I dream that the Doctrine of Separation of Powers can be upheld and that our Judiciary and all other institutions of the state can function according to their constitutional and statutory roles without fear or favour, and not according to the order, whim and fancy of the government of the day.
– I dream that a two-party system can fully flourish so that the government of the day, be it BN or PR, will always be humble and people-centric knowing that Malaysians will have the alternative and the ultimate power to renew or to withdraw their mandate every five years.
– And last but not least, more specifically, I dream that PR will ‘renew’ our nation’s independence come the next General Election and thereby embark on the arduous journey of realising our Malaysian Dream.
The next few years will witness a sea of change for our beloved nation. Whether we succeed or fail depends entirely on us.
I call on all Malaysians who have their own dreams for the nation to hang on there and don’t ever give up on your Malaysian Dream. Like President Obama said during his victory speech, “While we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can.”
Let us give the oft-ridiculed phrase of our very own “Malaysia Boleh!” a new, true meaning.
Happy 52nd Birthday Malaysia!
Quote of the Day: “We are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility.” ~ Tunku Abdul Rahman, 31st August 1957
Injury Time: The latest score is 7-1. Thank you, the wise people of Permatang Pasir!