In the next few days, Malaysians will commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the declaration of independence of then Malaya on 31st August 1957. I was then a 13 year old school boy in Kuala Lumpur, old enough to superficially understand what independence meant to the country. I knew that there was a flag raising ceremony on the eve of independence day at the Selangor padang, as it was known then. Since the ceremony was to be held at the stroke of midnight, I was too afraid to seek the permission of my parents to witness the ceremony. I therefore had to satisfy myself by listening to the radio broadcast (TV was not available then) of the events that unfolded on that momentous evening. Of course, it was not the UMNO Youth leader to raise the new Malayan flag and to lower down the Union Jack. Who it was, I am not quite sure.
52 years of independence is not a long period of Malaysian history, but one has to admit that the nation has gone through some startling changes, despite the tumultuous period of the communist resurgence beginning 1969 till their eventual 'surrender' in 1989. For members of the security forces that had endured throughout the period of the communist resurgence, there will always be something that they can tell their grandchildren about the meaning of independence and the importance of freedom and peace. There is nothing more noble than to sacrifice one's life for the nation, and the many fallen heroes of the first Malayan Emergency and the period of the communist resurgence certainly did not die in vain.
Commemorating independence in the past have always been to look back and to recall past events and to draw useful lessons from it. In other words, it is a recollection of the nation's history and glorifying our past leaders for their achievements in leading the nation. This has been the usual format and reminding the nation's past alone will be meaningless, if we willfully ignore or fail to ready ourselves for the future; and the latter to me is more important and significant.
What the nation needs today are leaders with a vision to propel the nation to new heights in the ever changing and globalised world. Such leaders are a scarce resource, but with the exception of Tun Dr. Mahathir who over the period that he was the Prime Minister, was at the forefront in the development of the nation. Most of the physical developments that we see today are attributed to the farsightedness and vision of Tun Dr. Mahathir. I know, many will have their reservations about all that I have said of Tun Dr. Mahathir, but that is the undeniable reality.
In our joyous mood to commemorate Independence Day, and which has now been renamed National Day this forthcoming 31st August 2009, let us not merely look back at history, but on the contrary to focus our minds to the future, as the future is where the concern lies for our future generation. The theme for National Day should therefore focus on what we want the nation to achieve and where it will lead us in the next 50 years or so. Our leaders today will therefore have to visualised what would it take to prepare the nation now if we are to be successful in the next 50 years. I would think that the entire spectrum of our political, social and economic life will change and this are the changes that our present leaders will have to focus, to ensure the well being of our next generation.
It is unfortunate that our leaders today are harping over issues that will only result in the disintegration of our social fabric that has been kept intact for the last 52 years. The rise in 'social ills' that has permeated those in power, the continuous abuses by those in authority and public agencies that is so mired in corruption, are but some examples that will eventually lead the nation to disaster. There is presently an inherent lack of a political will to undo the wrong, and there are many many examples to quote.
Be that as it may, the leaders of today must realised that the future of the nation lies in their hands, and if their hands are perpetually muddied, then the only recourse for them will be their final eviction. Please remember that leaders are not only answerable for their present actions and dealings on earth, but more importantly they will be questioned in the hereafter. And if the latter does not cause them any fear, I do not know what else need I call them.
Wishing all Malaysians a joyous and memorable 52nd National Day celebration.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION