August 30, 2011
Happy 54th Birthday and God Bless Malaysia
“The essence of the messages (of Al-Qur’an) over time is always the same: a guidance on how to live a just, equitable and peaceful life; how to make the world a better place for everyone. Human perversity as well as ignorance can turn what is open and available to all into intricate, complicated means to divide people. Instead of God consciousness and guidance being the moral principles which bring people together , it becomes the embodiment of the most irreducible differences, the cause of irreconcilable dispute.”–Ziauddin Sardar, Reading the Qur’an (pp.103)
Make Malaysia a Better Place
Tomorrow, August 31, 2011, we celebrate 54 years of Independence and congratulations are in order. While we congratulate ourselves, we must also reflect. With that in mind, permit me to quote what our Father of Independence and Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed on August 31, 1957:
“NOW In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, I TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PUTRA ibni AL-MARHUM SULTAN ABDUL HAMID HALIMSHAH, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU, with the concurrence and approval of Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States do hereby proclaim and declare on behalf of the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu that as from the thirty first day of August, nineteen hundred and fifty seven, the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu comprising the States of Johore, Pahang, Negri Semblian, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Malacca and Penang is and with God’s blessing shall be for ever 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.”
There is no doubt that we have achieved considerable progress in terms of economic and social development over the last 5 decades. That has unfortunately come at a price, that is, at the cost of our fundamental liberties. In terms of achieving Tunku’s vision of a democratic 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”, we are lagging behind, and today our democratic state is under threat.
We are faced with an authoritarian and hubristic leadership which is bent on retaining its right to rule at whatever cost. Not necessary to do that. The government has just do the right things, and put service above self-interest and greed. Because it has failed to do that, it must now work hard to regain our trust and confidence.
Malaysia is increasingly divided along racial and income lines; we have rampant corruption; our fundamental liberties are being trampled upon and our institutions of governance are dysfunctional, including our system of justice. Economic growth is slowing down and we face a serious threat of inflation.The ship called Malaysia is today rudderless.
But we can change all that, and I believe that as Malaysians, we can make it happen. We should get our politics right. We cannot allow politicians both in government and the opposition to exploit racial sentiments for their own benefit. Failure to do so, we risk being losers by allowing national harmony to fritter away. Peace and stability are critical. Underpinning that is national unity.
We must use this Merdeka Day to reflect on our successes and failures so that we can work together to achieve the vision of our Father of Independence of a truly democratic state founded on the principles of liberty and justice.
May God Bless Malaysia. And may we live in peace and harmony as Malaysians.–Din Merican