Thursday, August 20, 2009

NATIONAL DAY AND WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR THE NATION

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

8 comments:

Major (Rtd) D.Swami said...

Datuk,
Mahathir is a scumbag as can be seen by the deterioration of the many respectable institutions from education to defence. Which he undeniabaly played a major role in destroying them. The marginalisation of minorities, oh, yes, my own children were not treated as equals, I have written about that too. Mediocrity was always championed by him. Right now, I feel like a second class citizen, not forgetting the religious bigotry I faced in the AF, by the likes of Gen Ball Pen and Zaini, the so called hero of Sauk. In Malaysia there is no rule of law. Indians cannot get juctice (Kugan's case and others). The Police and the MACC are a law unto themselves. I see a dark abyss, if you cannot see what Mahathir has done. The championing of crooks to become law makers as in Permatang Pasir, a crook is a crook, misuse of military helicopters. Selective persecution, destruction of houses of worship etc etc. We cannot be sticking our heads in the sand.

komando said...

An article written by TUNKU AZIZ taken from NST 2007. Please read it folks he speaks the truth as he sees it. Exceptional writing by an exceptional man of vision and peace!


AUG 19 — When Merdeka was granted half a century ago, we inherited a number of items of unfinished business, the most critical of which was the urgent necessity to create a united Malayan nation and, soon afterwards, a Malaysian nation.
The late Tom Harrison, the famous curator of the Sarawak Museum, described Malaysia as “a tangle of peoples” in an article published in the Malaysian Outlook, a small journal I edited in Australia in 1963, in a fit of patriotism. “Konfrontasi” was in full swing then, and, given the dangerously unpredictable and volatile behaviour of Bung Karno of Indonesia, our future as a nation was by no means assured.
Harrison was not thinking so much about the Malays, Chinese and Indians of the Malay peninsula, but rather the often forgotten peoples making up the many different tribal and ethnic groups with their many different customs, religious beliefs and languages inhabiting Sabah and Sarawak. Almost overnight, they found themselves the citizens of a new and, to them, somewhat vague political creation called Malaysia. The Kadazan Dusuns, Bajaus, Punans, Penans, Kayans, Muruts and various others, I fear, still remain very much outside our consciousness, even after more than four decades of Malaysia. Need I say more about this serious lapse of memory? What national unity are we talking about without them?
When the British government responsible for the administration of these two colonial territories decided to bring to an honourable and dignified end of their stewardship and allow the sun to set on these, the last remnants of their Eastern Empire, the newly-proclaimed state of Malaysia took on not only additional responsibilities for her new citizens, but also assumed a new character and identity. National unity with which we had been preoccupied all those years before and since Merdeka took on a new urgency.

komando said...

PART II...

Young Malays of my generation, growing up under colonial rule, saw Merdeka as a great opportunity to bring about change, with courage, compassion and wisdom, and rectify those aspects of colonialism that we had considered repugnant to our sense justice, pride and dignity.
Creating a truly united Malayan nation was the number one item on the national agenda, one that was inspired by Tunku Abdul Rahman’s exemplary personal example of inclusiveness in which race was nothing more than an accident in the larger scheme of things Malayan, and later, Malaysian. Tunku saw strength in diversity and did everything possible to drive home the need for all races to unite as one and to show their love and affection for the country of their birth. Those were the early days of independence when the Constitution absolutely guaranteed the citizens their rights. The people felt they belonged and had full confidence in the institutions of government which remained largely unsullied. The same cannot be said of many of our national institutions today.
Looking back now over the last 50 years, we have achieved a great deal in material terms, far more than the most bullish among us would have dared to imagine. If material progress were the only measure of success in creating unity out of diversity, then we could reasonably claim to have arrived. But, have we? Or are we just postponing the evil day by papering over the cracks and glossing over issues that divide us, while ignoring the legitimate concerns, demands and aspirations of our people for a rightful place in the Malaysian sun.

komando said...

PART III....

The time to rediscover and re-establish our sense of Malaysian-ness is now and this can best be done by allowing the people of each community, large and small, the freedom to retain their cultural practices, traditions and values, always recognising that with freedom there is a corresponding responsibility to contribute to national unity. In matters of culture and language, people can usually be relied upon to decide for themselves. All cultures must be treated as Malaysian, and celebrated as such. They must not be politicised.
We must, for a start, accept cultural diversity, in the fullest sense, as an article of faith. Merely tolerating the cultural traditions of the other races is simply not good enough anymore for a country that, after 50 years of independence, is still groping for that elusive Malaysian identity. Our aim should be to achieve smooth and seamless integration that will stand the test of time as an essential prelude to achieving the essence of Malaysian- ness, that state of being that defies definition or description, but captures our imagination as nothing else can.

komando said...

PART IV

The role of education in nation building and in bringing about social and economic change is not in dispute. We have seen what investment in education has done for thousands of our people, of all races, particularly the Malays who have, within one generation, completely transformed themselves in social and economic terms.
On the debit side, the thousands of unemployable young men and women have hampered efforts to develop and improve our human capital. Our decision to downgrade English more than three decades ago has completely rendered our young people ill-equipped for employment in the new knowledge-based industries. The more serious overall consequence of our policy of neglecting the most important international language makes Malaysia a much less competitive investment destination for the higher-end technologies that could help Malaysia to leapfrog up the knowledge and value chain.
The application of some aspects of the New Economic Policy has not helped in the process of human capital development because by our depriving many non-Bumiputeras of equal educational opportunities and by discriminating against them in public sector employment, there is still today an overwhelming sense of alienation and injustice. I have always subscribed to the view that you could only justify a policy of positive discrimination if it was implemented in strict observance of the aim and spirit of that policy which was, in this case, principally to alleviate the poverty that afflicted many millions of people of all races in our community.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. When it became evident that the spirit of this great social experiment was being violated blatantly to serve the interests of the few politically connected breed of self-proclaimed Melayu Baru instead of improving the lot of the disadvantaged, the NEP tragically lost its legitimacy. But I digress. The point I am making is that unfair policies whether social or political detract from our efforts to develop and enrich our human capital with the result that the essential spirit of common heritage and shared values, of being part of an important national initiative is lost in the politics of discrimination. There is no evidence to suggest that people will give of their best, make sacrifices, and be loyal to the country of their birth when they are made to feel, rightly or wrongly, that they are second-class citizens.
National unity must be predicated on equality of opportunity, justice and equity. Anything less is unsustainable. Fifty years of Merdeka still finds us groping in a tunnel of darkness for that elusive, overarching spiritual experience that defines the essence of “Malaysian-ness”.
It would be unfair to blame the government entirely for the present state of race relations in our country. It must, however, admit that it has not always been energetic and competent in dealing with problems that are largely associated with official policies that are seen as Malay-centric. Policies affecting education, language and culture tend to generate a highly-charged emotional response, and are always divisive. Change has to be managed with compassion and imagination.

komando said...

LAST PART

A word about our international competitiveness. A stable political system is a prerequisite as is an efficient and incorruptible bureaucracy. We need to ensure a ready supply of trained and trainable human resources, hence the need for investment in developing our human capital. But above all else, we all need to operate in an ethical way, fight and reduce corrupt practices so as to be able to attract investments to sustain our national economic development. Corruption adds a cost to doing business, and it is in our interests to reduce it so that that we can improve our competitive position.
In summary, therefore, the future of Malaysia, given its racial and cultural complexity, depends on our ability to encourage and promote unity in diversity, focus on similarities and values that unite us rather than harping on differences that divide us. We have our work cut out for us as we seek to bring about a convergence of interests as a basis for developing mutual trust, and respect for diversity in all its manifestations.

(First published in my New Sunday Times column in September 2007. It is reproduced, with due acknowledgement, and thanks to the NST)

komando said...

Dear Folks if we can change the mindset of one and all to become even half of what the likes of TUNKU AZIZ, I bet this country will be a better place for our future generations mine yours and everybody's!

We need to change and change FAST!
Otherwise the slide will take us into oblivion, a state which nobody wants to go to! It is real and it is very scary!

We need clear headed-ness, no emotions. Critical and clear visions ARE WHAT WE NEED.

Otherwise we are all doomed! We will sink to the lowest of low!

DATO' PAK CHAD, we are hoping this messages we pump out reach EARS THAT WANT TO HEAR AND WANT TO AFFECT CHANGES.

LOOK WHAT KU LI SAID ABOUT THE NOMINATED PERON FROM UMNO,

SEE HOW TPM CAN BE SO OUT-RIGHT ABUSIVE & STUBBORN!

WHAT LEADERSHIP IS THIS?

ARE WE WRONG TO SAY THEY ARE NOT RIGHT!

FMZam said...

Bro Komando,

Thank you for the good material you put in here I read it over and over and I am satisfied that I am one of many likeminded citizen with Tunku Aziz all these while.

Bro D.Swami,

Mahathir is a doctor, a politician, a hero and a villain. So are many other leaders of our nation who build and destroy no other country but their own country. And Mahathir had ruled through half the age of Malaysia, ample time for him to build and destroy, and then to rebuild and destroy. What he had built for some of us were what he had destroyed to some others. He could not have make everyone happy. And he himself ended up not happy now. Have he not done what he did to us, he could not have ruled for 22 years. He made so many Malays rich and he also made so many Chinese and Indians rich, and he also made so many Malays, Chinese and Indians poor.

If he made General Ballpen a symbol of a corrupt general, he also made Zaini Lopong a hero. And he is the one PM who dares to dump his deputy not once but on many counts and faced the wrath of elite Malays to sustain his reign of iron fist with the support of the grassroot Malays and the majority of other Malaysian races. And yet he is a villain who had survived many political suicide attempts in many elections.

I am not standing for Mahathir to say all these, but I am standing for why a mighty leader of them all, still cannot unite this country into a single nation to ponder how 1Malaysia can do it. I may not have another 22 more years to give to Najib to perform another Mahathir's feat.