We are racists in the Post Mahathir Era


August 31, 2010

Post-Dr M, we are all racists

by Neil Khor@http://www.malaysiakini.com

Dr Mahathir Mohamad stressed that Malaysians are more divided than ever. Never assuming any culpability himself, he blames the situation on governmental mismanagement allowing for the rise of the opposition and the resultant voices criticising the NEP.

chedet mahathir blog 210508In short, overnight, after some twenty-two glorious years of unity and peaceful nation building, we have, all of us, become racists!

The crux of the matter has less to do with nation-building and all to do with protecting the interests of the status quo. The wealthiest Chinese in the country did not become rich during the tenure of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or Najib Abdul Razak. Of course, the CEO of SP Setia did well out of the NEP.

But it was not during the time of Abdul Razak Hussein’s NEP but rather Mahathir’s NEP, the ones infused with “free market” ideology and small government. Malaysia’s merchant aristocrats are, all of them, the children of Mahathir.

In a most cynical and cruel twist of logic, Mahathir conflated race and class, stressing that any let-up on the NEP-like race-based affirmative action is “the rich non-bumis taking whatever little wealth the poor bumiputeras have”. He gave two examples, the construction sector and higher education.

But as usual he did not tell the whole story. Mahathir said that the bumiputeras did not have the capacity to carry out the government contracts awarded to them and most would sub-contract out the work. The ultimate beneficiaries were the Chinese.

But why did his government not take measures to monitor and tighten the implementation process? Why did the government not nurture bumiputera developers, provide training and skills-upgrading for class F contractors?

In Abdul Razak’s time, the government built affordable housing but Mahathir privatised this integral function of government and dubbed them “low-cost housing”. All was done in the name of efficiency.

We are expected to put our trust in private developers, whose main duty is to make money to build affordable housing?

Mahathir also trimmed the civil service and the Works Ministry played a monitoring role instead of actually building roads and houses! Of course, the unintended consequences is that today this same agency has very little “capacity” to build, monitor and implement national projects.

The Mahathir government did not tackle corruption as seriously as his predecessor Hussein Onn and allowed developers to do what they liked. Whilst Mahathir asked us to “Look East”, he looked so far east that his policies resemble those of the US. His government “freed” the private sector and clipped the wings of local governments to regulate development.

The travails of the rentier class

Over time, these policies reduced the National Development Policy (NDP) into a worthless academic exercise. As for the bumiputera contractor, Mahathir’s NEP created a class specialising in getting governmental contracts for the sole purpose of sub-contracting them out for a quick profit. Mahathir’s NEP generated wealth for UMNO Malays, but it also swelled the ranks of the rentier class.

If one thinks it is easy to be in the rentier business, think again. There are so many political pitfalls, so much greasing of palms and egos to placate. So, after years of “closing one eye”, we have an entire class of rentier-contractors who are not really interested in building bumiputera capacity to do anything except get the next governmental contract.

If the analysis put forward is faulty, can Mahathir please explain why bumiputera capacity to carry out construction work still an issue in 2010?

If, as Mahathir himself admitted, the sub-contracting happens because the bumiputeras have no capacity to carry out the contracts given, how can he expect the private sector to give contracts to the very same firms he acknowledges as “not having the capacity to carry out the projects”?

Plus, some of the giant construction companies who benefit from huge governmental contracts are truly “Malaysian” in the composition of its board of directors. These firms have investors like the Employee Provident Fund as well as international investors. They also have a comprehensive work process from design to actual construction. There is no need to sub-contract any work out.

Did not Mahathir’s government advocate efficiency? Did he not say that Malaysian firms needed to be more competitive? Did his government not advocate a free market ideology? The profits from these firms swelled the coffers of the government as well as retired civil servants and other governmental luminaries enriching the elites.

Higher education not the panacea

In higher education, the scenario is the same if not worse. In 1992, there were not more than six public

He should leave Najib to get on with his PM duties

universities, including ITM. Now there are 22 and at least a hundred degree-awarding institutions of higher education. Education was supposed to allow the bumiputeras to catch up. Instead, we have a lot of graduates burdened by student loans and doing jobs that do not need a degree anyway.

Meanwhile, those who have the means to go to foreign universities either do not return home at all or are working for multinationals.

In short, higher education has not been the panacea for race advancement that Mahathir had hoped for.

He also liberalised the sector, allowing for the devaluation of the degree, whilst affirmative action in academia has resulted in mediocrity. Mahathir knows this and that is why he seldom borrows any ideas or statistics from any Malaysian academic or locally-researched work.

One thing that Mahathir said is correct. No country should practice 100% free market enterprise. The government has a duty not only to grow the economy but to make sure that development is sustainable, does not harm the environment and most importantly, is equitable.

Meritocracy more about fairness

Mahathir should also point out that meritocracy is not all about grades but more so about fairness. Obviously if a person has no access to a proper library, he or she should be given a helping hand.

However, the assistance should not be based on ethnicity. The NEM’s objective of helping every Malaysian in the lower 40% of the income bracket regardless of race is laudable.

Affirmative action, studies worldwide have shown, is good for a while but in the long term the benefits diminish and the psychological scars damage the community or ethnic group it aims to help.

The framers of the NEP were not overly optimistic, they were realistic. If Mahathir had followed through with the policies of Abdul Razak and Hussein Onn, we may not have developed so rapidly but we would have been a far more equitable country today.

NONEMoving forward, the government must live up to its responsibilities to protect the rights of every citizen. If the Malays are worried, the government need not side with the far right to assuage them.

It must instead demonstrate that it will protect the interests of the Malays and other Malaysians by getting competent people to head governmental agencies, come down hard on corruption and devise policies that will help build the community’s capacity to participate meaningfully in the national economy.

Affirmative action should be continued in perpetuity so long as there are poor and marginalised Malaysians, but it must never only benefit one ethnic group.

The prime minister must find the courage and the tenacity to return to the policies of his father and break with the unsustainable “free market” enterprise associated with Mahathir’s 22 years at the helm.

Mahathir’s NEP created merchant aristocrats and some very wealthy bumiputeras. It is time that the Najib government made amends to the rest of us.

NEIL KHOR has recently completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge. He is co-author of ‘Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia’ (2008).

Towering Malaysian of yesteryear


August 31, 2010

On James Puthucheary, Towering Malaysian of yesteryear

By Karim Raslan (newsdesk@the star.com.my)

AS Malaysians celebrate Merdeka, I find myself thinking about the late James Puthucheary. A giant of the Merdeka Generation, he was (among other things) an activist, intellectual and lawyer.

James was already a legend when I first met him at the legal firm of Skrine & Co back in 1987. White-haired, Pickwick-ian and wry, few details escaped his observation.

As a former detainee of the British, Singaporean and Malaysian governments, he possessed an undeniable glamour for idealistic young lawyers. Needless to say, when he talked about “Harry”, “Hussein”, “Mahathir” and “Keng Swee”, we all listened attentively.

As a very half-hearted lawyer baffled by contract law, I tended to shirk my work and disappear into James’ office.He would regale me with stories about 50s and 60s politics and the latest updates on the turmoil in UMNO as Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah struggled for control of the party.

One never gets tired of listening to him talk about his days as an Indian National Army officer or as a leader of the University Socialist Club at the University of Malaya in Singapore. That strikes me now, as I reconstruct those conversations, was how truly Malaysian his life was.

It is true that he cut his political teeth in Singapore, where he was a founding member of the People’s Action Party.

Nevertheless, James was born in Johor and after his banishment from Singapore in 1963, resided here permanently. In many ways, his biography reminds us of when the borders between Malaya and Singapore were fluid.

It also harkens back to a time when their men and women could speak their minds without fear or favour, and transcend ethnic, class and ideological barriers.

The collection of James’ writings, No Cowardly Past, which was re-launched this year, captures some of this ethos. It reads almost like a yearbook of the Merdeka Generation, encompassing all sides of the political spectrum.

It was edited by his brother Dominic (a one-time Gerakan MP) and the outspoken academic Jomo K.S. Pictures of James with Lim Chin Siong, Sydney Woodhull and Devan Nair are blended with the reminiscences of A. Samad Ismail. There are mentions of his associations with the likes of Abdullah Ahmad, Phillip Kuok and others.

Tengku Razaleigh spoke at the launch of the book’s second edition. This is a tribute not only to his greatness as a human being, but his uncanny ability to make friends from all walks of life.

It was a trait that many of his cohorts shared, which their successors — Malaysia’s current political and intellectual elite — have lost. How many of our current leaders are truly Malaysian, rather than communal, sectional figures?

One struggles to name even a handful. More disheartening is the fact that none of them can articulate ideas or policies like James did.

In his Who Owns Malaya and Significant Changes in Ownership and Control in the Malaysian Economy, he argued for state intervention to adjust the historical socio-economic imbalances in the country. These principles later helped shape the New Economic Policy (NEP) of Tun Abdul Razak.

Unlike today’s Malay extremists however, James did not see the NEP as a permanent fixture.Indeed, he believed that the “domination” of Malaysia’s economy by the Chinese was a myth, and that it was really the concentration of capital in foreign (i.e. British) hands that needed to be addressed.

Despite the nearly 40-year time gap, many of his contentions are still relevant. He saw that communal-based parties — no matter how closely allied — would eventually fail to deliver on nation-building.

James, furthermore, worried about sectarianism creeping into our educational system, seeing the “… dangers of large sections of Chinese and Malay children spending very large parts of their formative years in communally separate compartments.

“The existence of two communal educational structures should be frightening to all those who believe that the country’s future is dependent on non-communal politics.”

We may disagree with his proposed solution to Malaysia’s problems: namely socialism, or rather social-democracy, but no one who looks at Malaysia today can deny that his writings have an eerie, prophetic ring to them.

What’s saddening is that we have not only disregarded his warnings, but also rejected the liberal, accepting and pluralistic legacy of Malaya and Malaysia’s founding fathers.

Towering Malaysians like James have been replaced by minnows. Nevertheless, I still have hope that this land, which gave birth to James and others like him, may see the rise of young people who can move it forward.

I keep this hope alive in my heart, like so many other Malaysians waiting for a better tomorrow. And while we wait, let us honour the memory of James Puthucheary.

Rethinking Merdeka


August 31, 2010

Dr. Azly Rahman: Rethinking Merdeka

O’ Malaysians,  where are we, as we prepare for yet another ritual of a neo-colonial entity? Rhetoric aside it looks like we are not getting better in terms of race relations, inter-faith dialogue, educational progress in our schools, freedom of speech, academic freedom in our universities, our judiciary system, our respect for the Constitution, and the way we are sincere about dismantling race-basd politics.

This Merdeka, the 53rd Anniversary of our liberation from the yolk of  British colonialism, we saw the birth of PERKASA and the germinating of the seeds of destruction. If we do not collectively depose our corrupt leaders, we will suffer the consequences being robbed of our future. If we do not go back to transcultural ethics we will be doomed as a nation. If we do not learn to become makers of our own history, we will be trampled and buried by those who owns the means of controlling the march of history.
Obstacles to a Merdeka we Malaysians desire

We no longer have virtuous leaders in our political system. We have many who are corrupt to their  bones and in their souls though, interested only in plundering  national wealth in order to survive the next general election. We also have leaders who still do not understand what ‘development’ means. And we continue to breed new leaders who think that politics is about buying votes and selling the nation.

Virtuous leaders are made and not born. They are created out of good religious or moral upbringing and a clear sense of altruism — prioritising needs, not wants, and certainly not greed. Economic conditions too can create virtuous leaders. It is a question of Man and the environment, Man and his circumstances, or Nature versus Nurture. But religion remains the driving force of virtue.

If each and every family reflects upon the beauty of each religion they were born into, they would preserve the tenets of that religion and use them to guide their children. But this requires a strong family that is not fragmented and destroyed by poverty. If families are busy working two or three jobs because of economic designs (conjured by a dehumanising political ideology that dictates so), how would ‘virtuous children’ be raised?

Even if one does not believe in God and its existence, one can be as ethical and virtuous as what Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, Buddha, Lao Tzi or Einstein would define such a human being as Master Kung (Confucius) often talk about the breeding of the chuan tze or ‘the gentleman’ and the importance of respect. The Bhagavad Gita spoke of the beauty of the self and for one to follow the dharma. Islam speaks of the beauty of the self in relation to its contribution to a peaceful and just society.

Sufism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hassidism, and many a path to deeper spirituality promote the development of the ‘just and virtuous self’. These cultural philosophies and religious doctrines attempt to bring human nature closer to God and Nature.

But we are today living in a world designed by greedy human beings who themselves do not know their own true nature. One might ask: does ‘true nature’ exist? Or will we be comfortable living a life of the Epicurean — eat, drink and be merry? Or, is our good life guaranteed of happiness determined by market forces? Even if allow market forces to dictate our spirituality, do we know who owns the means of creating markets and producing goods?

Greed and Materialism

Greed and materialism is the prime motivator of the destruction of family values. We are primarily reduced to ‘homo economicus’ essentially and less of ‘homo spiritus’. We spend time either making ends meet or making our millions multiply. We keep making decisions that alter and transform the economy and impact the lives of millions who are at the disposal of those who own the means of economic and intellectual production. With our wealth we oppress each other as we build oppressive institutions of power and control.

We have created a matrix of complexities and a rat race of no winners; a rat race of Chinese complexities as the informational scientist Alan Turing would term it.

Seeds of Destruction?

Our society seems to be heading towards destruction. The seeds are rapidly germinating. Sometime ago we even heard the Malaysian police force threatening ‘to vote for the Opposition’. We are now puzzled: for whom do the police serve? Who will protect the citizens then? Do we then need to set up a non-partisan or a neutral police force?

Politicization of Our Universities

We are seeing the public universities becoming more and more politicised. There is no virtue in the way they are run. Our public universities have become merely well-funded higher and a complex system of hegemony that is revolving at different transitionary stages. This simply means that our public universities, paid by taxpayers of all races, are serving the interest of the political parties of the day.

Our Vice Chancellors are not yet elected from the pool of experts of all races although our student population is of a multi-racial mix. The concept of affirmative action and policies to promote diversity is virtually non-existent. There is no virtue in such a practice in our public universities.

We are seeing people getting edgy and agitated — higher crime rate, more robberies, snatch thefts, hideous crimes related to merciless kidnappings, our youth of all races getting high on all kinds of depressants and stimulants that all religious upbringing has taught us to avoid.

Virtue?

Virtue is eroding even at the highest level of public office. We set up all kinds of bodies, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), etc. to combat corruption. But what has been the success rate so far if we are still trapped in a complex political-economic system that is producing more and more creatures of greed that plunder the nation’s wealth.

‘Virtue’ itself is a corrupted word these days. People are finding it difficult to be virtuous. They want to be pragmatic and rational economic beings that rationalise everything in the name of profit, at the expense of the moral development of the generation we are to leave behind.

We can understand why there are now a growing number of snatch thieves in Kuala Lumpur. They want to emulate the lifestyle of our local robber barons.

Our politics, our economics, our culture, our institutions, and our language have been internally laced with

Gandhi at Buckingham Palace

the language of competition. We cannot escape from the idea that there ought to be winners and losers whether it is in the way we give grades to our students, design our economic policies, organise our political system, or, ironically, even in the way we understand religion and God and how these relate to what Gandhi would call the harijans (children of God).

Ethnicity and Poverty

If all that energy is used to design a better system of participatory democracy and philanthropy, and to reach out to other ethnic groups to collaborate in solving the issue of poverty, we, as Malaysians, will become a miracle nation. Poverty is not the problem of Indians or Malays or Chinese — it is the problem of Man.

How can the rich be saved if the poor are multiplying in large numbers? We will have a society that will need more sophisticated surveillance system in order to reduce robbery, kidnappings, etc.

The poor looks at rich and ask herself: “Am I poor because I am lazy? Or is she rich because she works a hundred times better? Or is it the system we build that will continue to make the rich richer and the poor

This After 53 years of Independence: What went wrong?

poorer? What resources do the rich and their children have vis-à-vis the poor to compete in a world that is increasingly technological and technicist and informational? We have created a system of ethically-based structural violence.

It is a complex problem but one can certainly make sense of it all. We need to bring back ‘virtue’ to the forefront of our political philosophies and into our economic paradigm, and next use it to design a virtuous foundation of our economic system. From a virtuous foundation we will then see a healthier characterisation of how we design and reorganise our lives as economic beings.

Education

Education, and education alone, though slow and tedious as a process of transformation, will be the most powerful tool of cognitive restructuring and the teaching of virtue. Education for peace, social justice, cooperation, tolerance, and spiritual advancement will be the best foundation of this mode of operation.

How do we even begin creating a republic of virtue if we do not yet have the tools of analysing what a corrupt society is and how corrupt leaders are a product of the economic system created to reproduce more sophisticated forms of corruption?

We must engineer a revolution of our very own consciousness. From the revolutions in our minds, we move on to the revolution of our consciousness, and next to our collective consciousness. Gradually, as we realise that a better collective consciousness can be created, we will be aware of the oppositional forces that are making real human progress disabling.

We must now become makers of our own history and help others do the same. We must first learn to deconstruct ourselves and draw out the virtue within ourselves, even if the process can be terrifying. We must then each create a manifesto of our own self and de-evolve form then on, until we tear down the structures within and outside of ourselves and reconstruct the foundations of a new republic

Again, this Merdeka, we must ask the essential question: what kind of legacy do we wish to leave our children and grandchildren with ?


Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Vision poisoned by racism, thanks to PERKASA, ApanamaDia and Others


August 31, 2010

Tunku’s Vision poisoned by racism : Remembering Mongkut Bean’s Grand Uncle

by M Krishnamoorthy@http://www.malaysiakini.com

Tunku Abdul Rahman was born on Feb 8, 1903, in Alor Setar. He was the seventh prince of Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah, the 24th Kedah sultan. A robust and bright boy, Tunku received his early education at the Debsurin School, Bangkok and Penang Free School.

He then went on to study at St Catherine’s College in Cambridge University on a Kedah government scholarship, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Law and History in 1925.

During his overseas studies, Tunku experienced firsthand racial discrimination at the hands of the college’s administrators, which convinced him to fight for equality and to make his homeland an independent state, free from the yoke of British colonialism.

tunku abdul rahman 290809His flair for leadership unfolded in England. Realising the Malay students there were not represented by any organisation, he established the Kesatuan Melayu Great Britain (Malay Association of Great Britain) and became its first secretary.

In 1931, after returning home Tunku joined the Kedah civil service as a cadet in the Legal Advisor’s Office, and then as a district officer in several Kedah districts. He proved himself unpopular among some British officials due to his outspokenness and tendency to introduce reforms in his quest to improve the living standards of the people.

His attempt to complete his law studies at the Inner Temple in England in 1938 came to a halt when the Second World War broke out. He resumed his studies only eight years later, coming home with legal qualifications in 1949.

On Aug 26, 1951, Tunku became UMNO president, succeeding Onn Jaafar. tunku abdul rahman and patrick keith 020805His first mission was to travel throughout the nation to meet people from all walks of life and various races to promote unity. His efforts in overcoming the country’s political problems by way of cooperation among the various ethnic groups saw the birth of the Alliance Party in 1955.

In 1956, he led a mission to London for a discussion with the British government concerning Malaya’s independence.

The meeting resulted in the signing of the Independence Treaty at Lancaster House in London on February 8, 1956 and, consequently, the independence of Malaya on August 31, 1957.

On his return from London on June 3, 1957, after finalising plans for independence with the British, Tunku in his first speech, upon landing at the Sungai Besi Airport, issued the clarion call for unity.

“The situation in this country is different from other countries in the world. Because of this, one race cannot take everything for itself. In order to set up an independent government, we must compromise and make sacrifices.”

Racial slurs

Tunku would never have thought that five decades later, things would develop to a point that national school officials would make remarks ridiculing other races. If a headmistress could make such racial slurs, what more ordinary teachers?

I know of many children who tell their parents not to raise a hue and cry over the incidents of racism they experience at school out of fear that they, the students, would be punished. There must be many cases that go unreported.

This not only goes contrary to the concept of 1Malaysia, but against the fundamental rights of human beings.  The government must call upon teachers, students and parent-teacher associations to report all cases of racist utterances and behaviour. The laws are clear and provide ample sanctions against such behaviour.

As we celebrate Merdeka today, our political landscape has worsen from what Malaya was 53 years ago when Tunku declared Independence. At that time, Malays, Chinese and Indians believed in consensus as the basis for how the nation should be ruled.

You did not hear much of non-Malays being called ‘immigrants’ and compared to dogs or prostitutes. No leader dared to threaten UMNO presidents that they would lose Malay support, as PERKASA president Ibrahim Ali has done recently.

In this era of globalisation, we must think as citizens of the world, not as creatures living under a coconut shell. There is no room for racism.

Malays powerless

In his Independence proclamation speech, Tunku said: “We fully realise that (there are) difficulties and problems that lie ahead and are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today’s events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide.

tunku abdul rahman merdeka declaration 261004“At this solemn moment, I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world. High confidence has been reposed in us; let us be united and face the challenge of the years ahead.”

About a month before independence, July 10, 1957, at the Legislative Council, Tunku explained the feelings and aspirations of the three major component races.

On Malays, he said: “Before the First World War, the Malays accepted the intrusion of hundreds of thousands of men and women of other races because they realised that they were powerless to prevent it. But in those days, few people were brave enough to interest themselves in politics and our complicated treaties with Britain had given the ‘protector’ absolute right to do as they liked in this country.

“The Malays had the assurance that the British government would protect their interests and that they would be given time to learn the art of administration and time to develop a business sense, and so they believed in the British.”

Not an easy journey

Reflecting on the early Chinese settlers, Tunku said: “They have been in this country for many hundreds of years. In the early days, they came here to trade and later to like this country and decided to settle down, and they were absorbed by the country and followed local customs and spoke the Malay language, which at the same time retaining some of their own culture and traditions. Later, after the First World War, a large number of Chinese came into the federation to further its development.”

On the Indians, he told the Legislative Council: “The Indians also came to the federation to seek wealth in the country and they found employment in government services or in estates. They, too, have made their contribution for which we are all grateful. Men and women of many other races have also come to Malaya, though in smaller numbers, and I should like to make particular mention of the part played by the British people. They have admittedly devoted their lives to the advancement and development of our country. Whatever may have been their fault, they have made Malaya a prosperous and happy place today.”

The road to nationhood has not been an easy journey. Malayans then, and Malaysians now, have endured the trials and tribulations with confidence and patience, calmness and forbearance, with faith in our final goal of establishing a united Malaysia.

Tunku knew that there would be challenges for the co-existence of the various races. A visionary, he said in his proclamation speech: “Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour – the creation of a new and sovereign state.”

Fifty-three years after, Malaysians strive to reach, with great difficulty, yet another milestone.

Part 1: Tunku – the true believer of 1Malaysia

M KRISHNAMOORTHY is a freelance journalist and local coordinator for CNN, BBC and several other foreign television networks. He was formerly with The Star and New Straits Times and has authored four books.

Happy Birthday, Malaysia


August 31, 2010

Today, Malaysia is 53 years old and we have come a long way and have long ways to go. We must renew our commitment to build a united nation under Almighty God. This is a good opportunity for us as Malaysians to demonstrate our unity for this nation we love and value very much and renew our faith in ourselves. A simple patriotic act will be to display the national flag proudly. Our political differences should not diminish  our love for our country.

We pay tribute to all our leaders and fellow Malaysians, past and present, who made it possible for us, despite occasional tensions, to live in peace and harmony and prosperity. But let us not rest on our laurels.

To Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak, my Prime Minister, Dr Kamsiah and I say with all sincerity and humility, Sir, please bring us together so that as One People we can move forward in the spirit of Rukun Negara. Let our actions speak louder than words.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Rukun Negara

BAHAWASANYA NEGARA KITA MALAYSIA mendukung cita-cita hendak :

  • mencapai perpaduan yang lebih erat di kalangan seluruh masyarakatnya ;
  • memelihara satu cara hidup demokratik ;
  • mencipta satu masyarakat adil di mana kemakmuran Negara akan dapat dinikmati bersama secara adil dan saksama ;
  • menjamin satu cara liberal terhadap tradisi-tradisi kebudayaannya yang kaya dan berbagai corak ; dan
  • membina satu masyarakat progresif yang akan menggunakan sains dan teknologi moden.

MAKA KAMI, rakyat Malaysia, berikrar akan menumpukan seluruh tenaga dan usaha kami untuk mencapai cita-cita tersebut berdasarkan atas prinsip-prinsip yang berikut :

  • KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN
  • KESETIAAN KEPADA RAJA DAN NEGARA
  • KELUHURAN PERLEMBAGAAN
  • KEDAULATAN UNDANG-UNDANG
  • KESOPANAN DAN KESUSILAAN

Prime Minister Najib: Don’t let racial and religious issues undermine the Malaysian Way of Life

The time had come for the current generation to take the lead to propel the country to greater heights.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the society should not allow the Malaysian way of life, which is based upon diversity and moderation, to be undermined by extreme attitudes which manifest themselves through racial and religious issues.

“Everything which we have achieved, everything which we have built, and things which are dear to us, will be destroyed.We should, therefore, value the prevailing peace, harmony and stability in the country,” he said in his message in conjunction with the 53rd National Day tomorrow.

He also said that the time had come for the current generation to take the lead to propel the country to greater heights.

Saying that the real challenge for Malaysians today was to transform the country to become a developed and high-income nation by the year 2020, Najib said, the government had put in place strong foundations in the form of the Government Transformation Plan and Economic Transformation Plan to achieve the objective.

Najib said the success achieved in transforming Malaysia from that of a low-income and agricultural-based country into a medium-income industrialised country was due to the commitment, planning and diligence of the government, along with the people, in holding fast to the philosophy of being constantly ahead of the curve of transformation and changes.

“Refusing to be contented with the status quo, and out of sheer determination, our forefathers took Malaysia from one success to another.Today, it is our turn to lead Malaysia to greater heights of progress and prosperity. The question is, are we courageous enough to break away from tradition and achieve the extraordinary?” said the Prime Minister.

Looking back into the struggle of the country’s past leaders, Najib said the nation’s forefathers had never felt satisfied with what the country had at that time and had striven hard to overcome no matter how big the challenges were.

“They constantly seek and work to create a better future for the country and its people,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that each Malaysian citizen was crucial to the country’s development and that he or she had the capability to contribute towards the nation’s prosperity and well-being. The time had also come for the country to fully utilise local talents, he said.

“It will be a huge loss to the country if the talents, whom we have painstakingly nurtured, migrate in search of a greener pasture just because of our failure to provide the conducive environment for them to contribute,” he said.

He added that globalisation not only allowed for easy flow of capital and technology across the borders but also the flow of human capital.

Najib said that to create a better future, Malaysia should safeguard national unity, saying it had been the country’s pillar of peace and stability.  It was for this reason, he said, that the basis of integration among the Malaysian people should be built upon shared values as spelled out in the national ideology or Rukun Negara and enshrined in the constitution.

Najib also said that the government was truly committed to defending the country’s independence and sovereignty within the framework of legal instruments and based on its own strength to face threats either from within or outside the country.

“Please remember that Malaysia is our homeland; this is the place where we were born, the place where we grow up, where we find our livelihood, a place where we find happiness and where we shall be laid to rest,” he said.

In conjunction with the National Day, he called on Malaysians to renew their commitment and strengthen their resolve to make Malaysia the best country.”For the sake of our children’s future, we must defend the survival of our country. Let us not break what is intact,” he said.

- Bernama (August 30, 2010)

53rd Merdeka: A United and Free Nation Today(?)


August 30, 2010

Jalur Gemilang

Putra Putri

53rd MERDEKA (August 31, 2010)

by M Krishnamoorthy @http://www.malaysiakini.com (August 29, 2010)

Celia:
“Now go we in content
To liberty, and not to banishment.”

Shakespeare, As You Like It (I,iii, 139-140)

The free intermingling of Malays, Chinese and Indians working together in harmony was the main reason Malaya achieved independence in 1957 without shedding a drop of blood.

“The greatest source of our pride has been the manner in which it has been achieved. It has been won by the spontaneous support of all communities in this country – Malays, Chinese, Indians and others who regard Malaya as their home,” said the nation’s founder and first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Tunku made this remark six months before Independence Day, August 31, 1957. We talk about 1Malaysia now as if it is something new, but it used to be taken for granted when there was no divide among the races as there is now, when there was hardly any talk of which race we belonged to.

Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka --August 31, 1957

What happened along the way? Was it the education system that molded us into thinking ourselves as different from the other? Why are school principals, who are supposed to emulate the concept of 1Malaysia. using racial slurs to divide the nation?

Fifty-three years ago, Tunku was convinced that this nation could survive only when the races were united. From this foundation of national unity in work, in play, in life, Malaya got its independence. I was eight years old then. There was no need for a campaign for 1Malaysia because we were all seen as one nation, one race – Malayans.

In schools, we all played as though we were of one race without noticing what creed, culture or religion we belonged to. I studied, ate and played with all races, and I did not have any mental block as to how a Malay or Chinese child was different from me. My parents would take me, my brothers and sisters to visit all the different places of worship during the various religious festivals.

‘Not a Drop of Blood’

On February 9, 1957, Tunku as then-chief minister of Malaya, in a speech broadcast over Radio Malaya, said: “Throughout our campaign, not one outbreak of violence occurred and, true to the pledge I gave, not one drop of blood was spilt in our constitutional struggle for Independence.

The Independence of Malaya has, therefore, been won by the measure of goodwill which exists among the various peoples of this country as much as by their united efforts and patriotism and love for this land. Finally, the good understanding between Great Britain and Malaya has enabled Great Britain to appreciate fully our national aspirations.”

The speech was part of a nationwide campaign for contributions to fund the inaugural Merdeka celebrations.  Can you guess what the amount was for the celebrations? It was just a meager one million dollars (then).

“A certain portion of this sum will be required by government itself for the entertainment of foreign guests who will be invited to our celebrations,” said Tunku.

In speaking of Independence Day, he emphasised that “we have become a free nation solely through the efforts and support of the public themselves.”

“You will recall that the Alliance took the political field on the paramount issue of independence, and in the national election, the fact that Alliance candidates swept the board with a majority hitherto unknown in any country in the world indicates that the public decided in no uncertain terms that they want Independence.”

“When the delegation (of Malayan ministers and political leaders) went to England in 1956, we made known to the British government the wishes of the people. The British government accepted these wishes with good grace. They agreed to the date proposed by us for the granting of independence.

“But while the achievement of our independence is a matter of which we can be justly proud, all of us should remember our Independence Day with a feeling of thankfulness and gratitude.

“We must thank God for our achievement, and at the same time I would like to thank all of you for your support. The occasion we are to celebrate is the birth of a new nation. Let us make this event unforgettable.”

A Disturbed, Distracted world

The public would no doubt have its own ideas on how to celebrate the event, and he allowed them a free hand in organising shows and public entertainment.

Tunku was seen as a leader who listened and was liberal in the way he wanted citizens to play a more dominant role. There was a consensus that the money should be spent wisely, and the leaders listened to the people.

Given the racial unity among Malayans, Tunku would not have tolerated allusions to some citizens being penumpang (free-riders) and pendatang (immigrants). He would have nipped it in the bud instead of waiting and delaying action against government servants who use such words to humiliate the other races.

Neither would the Tunku have tolerated corruption reaching such heights of indecency as it is now.Imagine,

The Icon of Malaysian Independence

only one million dollars was allocated for the celebrations. If we had gotten back the billions that have gone to corruption over the past 53 years, we could celebrate in streets paved in gold.

Tunku words in his speech on Independence Day reverberated throughout the Merdeka Stadium where it was delivered, just as they reverberate to this day:

“But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future: from henceforth, we are masters our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility. Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour—the creation of a new and sovereign state.

“At this solemn moment, therefore, I call upon to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.”

Part 2 tomorrow

M KRISHNAMOORTHY is a freelance journalist and local coordinator for CNN, BBC and several other foreign television networks. He was formerly with The Star and New Straits Times and has authored four books.