The Malaysia We Believe In
Tunku Abdul Rahman once said, “There is a place in the sun for everyone in Malaysia”. In conjunction with Malaysia Day, in light of our countries latest issues, Tunku’s message is a timely reminder for all.
Another famous saying goes, “Melayu mudah lupa”; it is ironically a nation-wide phenomenon that cuts across race, religion and political differences. On the bright side, this means that we as a society can often overcome our quandaries and sorrows rather quickly. However, it also means that we often forget our very own achievements and values as a nation whenever we hit a bump in the road. It is a balancing act that we are not always successful at.
Every year on 16th September, we observe the anniversary of the formation of Malaysia. This date has become an object of contention for some, distracting us from our remarkable achievement as a small nation with a big heart and big dreams.
As a nation, we can always be proud of the fact that Malaysia came into being through peaceful means. Who would have thought that this small nation that had been colonised for over 400 years would have the maturity to fight for our independence at the negotiation table rather than shed blood of innocent lives? More impressively, we did it together, fighting for the same ideals in spite of our former colonisers’ divide and conquer approach. Even at the height of Indonesia’s ‘Konfrontasi’, our forefathers never swayed and remain steadfast in their principles. Instead of letting our differences divide us, our forefathers chose to persevere and stay loyal to a cause they all believe in.
Today, as we write our entry for the annals of this nation’s history, we are the chairman of Asean, leading the region towards the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which aims to spur the region’s economy via the free movement of goods, services, skill labour, and investment. Having brokered peaceful negotiations for our friends from around the region and beyond, we now sit on the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) – a testament to our good standing in the eyes of the world,
Let’s not forget: as a nation, we have always punched above our weight.
In our current turmoil, we are once again tested with differing opinions. As fearmongers try to divide us by playing up racial sentiments, political differences seem to polarise our society even further.
But I have faith in Malaysia. For I still see Malaysians of all race, colour, religion enjoying a meal together at open houses, or having a good laugh over teh tarik in spite of their political difference. We still celebrate all festivities together (literally!). Our differences, our challenges are all part and parcel of a maturing democracy and it will only make us stronger.
Our history has shown that we are a country that values differing opinions. Our forefathers did not let our differences divide us; in fact, they used it to their advantage to form an even stronger alliance. Why shouldn’t we do the same? Malaysia will not be Malaysia without its diversity.
There is a place in the sun for everyone in Malaysia.
Happy Malaysia Day.