This is a 2-part series starting with this posting.
Most Malaysians are still unaware that Malaysia Day is the commemoration of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia between the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah. Singapore was eventually expelled on 9 August 1965. Brunei who was invited to join the Federation rejected the overtures and remained independent. The rationale to create this Federation is to enable the smaller nations who are weak politically and economically to leverage the scale of being together. Hence, we have Malaysia formed on 16 September 1963. And remember that Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah were independent nations equal to the Federation of Malaya.
For the longest time, we called 31 August 1957 our Independence Day and it is not wrong except that it refers to the Federation of Malaya. Unfortunately, what is unspoken is that this date was celebrated as the National Day even for Sabah and Sarawak. All this while, Sabah and Sarawak have celebrated Malaysia Day on 16 September and Malaysians over at the Peninsula never realized this fact until it was declared a public holiday in 2010 after PM Najib took over from Pak Lah. Now, Malaysians get 2 public holidays instead of the usual 1 because of the arrogance and blunders of the BN Government all this while.
So, after 50 years, a man will be in his second half of his life’s journey. He will have grown up and matured into a wise middle aged man, able to lead, counsel, consult and manage his affairs. He will have grown in stature and repute in the discipline he has strived to accomplish.
Where does that leave us in Malaysia? Did we grow up? Alas, it is the contrary.
Racial and religious intolerance is at its peak. Look at all the vehement cries blaming this group and that. Look at the cases in the Courts related to religion. Look at the failure of religious harmony. After all, Malaysia is the only country in the world that has a problem with non-Muslims using the term “Allah” and this has found its way into the Courts. And after a few hundred years of uninhibited practice until now. How sad.
Inflation is at its peak and growing. Price of fuel is at its highest. So are the prices of cars and houses. The Edge Daily reported that our car prices is 2nd highest in the world. The 20 sen increase of petrol price is not going to end there. Rumors have it that we are to brace ourselves for another major increase before the year is over in another step towards zero subsidy. And then there is GST for us to grapple with pending its introduction next year, expected to be at least 6%. For Malaysians who have never had a pay increase for years, our disposable income is surely dwindling by the months and the Government has no concern about that. They only know to burden the Rakyat without enhancing our income. It is true that fuel subsidy will have to go but only after exhausting all other avenues of saving money.
Our education standing has fallen off the charts and nobody in power seems to care. We are forcing the Education Blueprint with little regard to public feedback. We measure KPI of Transformation Programs that mean little in real life of Malaysians. We mouth slogans as if they were more important than our faith in God. We see the authorities crush oppositions and those who even dare step on the picture of Najib. We see the PM elevated to a demi-God who cannot be opposed which seems to border sacrilegious. We watch with horror the way the poor and needy are treated in Malaysia, by racial classification. We are behooved at national policy implementations based on race with only lip service to justify them all. We are afraid of our future watching how our Government is spending their way to get out of debt. We are abhorred that cutting subsidies and raising cost of living to be more important than corruption and wastage of government spending.
We are still fighting over using English as a medium of instruction while China who was way behind us has passed us by leaps and bounds. Strangely, China never fought over using Chinese as a medium of instruction and their command of English is incredible for those who speak it. This was very evident when they hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Even the elderly who volunteered learnt to speak English as they knew it was the language that bridges the peoples of the world.
What has become of us today? 50 years from 1963 and we are further behind all the Asian Tigers we were once grouped with. We are more childish today as if we grew backwards. We see racial and religious intolerance rather than the harmony we all used to enjoy in days past. We could sing “Muhibbah” with gutso but no longer.
What has happened to us today? 50 years from 1963 and we are still struggling with economic equality, introducing more schemes and money for helping Bumiputra achieve their standing. What happened to all the effort in the past 50 years? Where did such money go to? What did those policies achieved? Making some rich Malays richer and the rest of Malaysians poorer? All under the guise of Bumiputra equality? Why is it that after 50 years that we still have places without basic needs and most of the population needing subsidies? What happened to all the money poured in?
What will happen to us tomorrow? Will we ever wake up from our slumber to stand up for all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion? Will we ever see Malaysia as a force to be reckoned with on the global stage? Will we ever breakthrough the stranglehold of racial divide-and-conquer mentality to appreciate that all Malaysians are equal and not some are better than others? Will we ever grow up and be mature so that we can be a leader of the world’s stage than fighting in our own backyard over what is so small to begin with?
Here’s wishing all Malaysians Happy Malaysia Day and looking forward to the day when we can all be proud to celebrate together in unity for common reasons, vision and season, again!
But for now, many are saddened by the way things are turning out in this country, retrograding rather than progressing by leaps and bounds. We are celebrating our Merdeka Cup win by beating Myanmar when we once were celebrating our win by beating South Korea. We are no longer ranked as a viable opponent to Korea, whether football or economics. We are now lagging so far behind that beating Myanmar is a reason to celebrate.
This is how sad we have become in Malaysia after 50 years.
Tomorrow, we shall conclude with Part 2 – Malaysia, I Have A Dream!