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Friday, September 16, 2011

Let’s forge a common destiny

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:30 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Are we merely celebrating Malaysia Day because of the rising political importance of Sabah and Sarawak, asks R Kengadharan.
Sept 16 is the day Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak joined and became the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 and since 2010 it is called Malaysia Day.
What is the significance of Malaysia Day? How do we recognize Malaysia Day? Can it be classified and/or considered a day where people of different faith, belief and values came together as one?
While today Malaysia is considered a plural society, can we as a society remain cohesive to ensure steady progress?

While as a country we have faced many daunting economic and political challenges, are we prepared today to reject, discard and condemn all forms of domestic extremism and adopt moderation instead?
As a country, while we have gone ahead very far from many countries that have proclaimed independence before us, but there are serious issues that require immediate attention and addressing which if left unattended may cause mayhem and disunity.
In this context there is still a lot to be done.
While the people of Sabah and Sarawak will welcome this celebration and this occasion bears a special meaning to the people there, many are still of the view that Sept 16 still lacks significance.
Perhaps the government must undertake and organize more programmes to create awareness and there is a need to inculcate these values in today’s youths.
While we have every reason to be in a jubilant mood to celebrate the formation of the whole country or nationhood, the critical question to ask is: are we equal partners in the federation?
Or is official arrogance prevalent in this relationship and are we acting rationally as a country?
Or are we merely celebrating Malaysia Day because of the rising political importance of Sabah and Sarawak.
Real expression of patriotism
Sept 16 will only be significant and meaningful when we the people of Malaysia are able to connect with our fellow Malaysians and able to forge a common destiny.
The absence of a common language of nationhood, the diverse peoples, diverse histories, cultures, religions and races makes it even more difficult to achieve national unity.
In many respect we welcome and are thankful for the diversities and that we live in a country unscarred by war and unburdened by natural disasters, but there is a need to travel beyond this boundaries.
We must come together and work collectively to make this country better and fairer for all.
We must learn to respect each other regardless of their race, religion, faith and stature with respect, sincerity and compassion.
We must practice integration between the Peninsular and the two Borneo states and celebrate our diversities.
It must never be a day of merely flying the flag and show of patriotism. Any expression of patriotism must be real and from the heart.
Unless we reduce disparities and narrow the divisions quickly, we may soon become a non-existent country and Sept 16 would continue to be remembered as just another holiday.
R Kengadharan is a lawyer and a former ISA detainee.

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