Today marks the 50th Anniversary of our nation. On 16 September 1963, the Federation of Malaya merged with the newly-independent states of Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore to form a new nation – Malaysia. Although Singapore later left the federation in 1965, ties between our two states have nevertheless remained close over the decades.
Half a century of gradual development has resulted in a fairly stable society with talented, enterprising people. However, much remains to be desired in certain aspects of nation-building and national integration. Even in writing our country’s history, we have yet to enjoy a common national narrative, a version where all ethnic groups or different parties agree upon. And by the habit of sweeping many issues under the carpet at the pretext of sensitivity, we have failed to discuss them objectively and intellectually, thus not truly understanding those issues and bringing them to proper closure.
Nonetheless, citizens should not only like to criticize our country’s ills without doing our bit for Malaysia. We should stay focused in our efforts to build our nation and move it forward. All citizens must bear the responsibility of helping Malaysia mature into a prosperous nation optimistic about its future. Towards this end, putting in place a holistic approach in education is essential. Nation-building starts with citizen-building, and that means providing a quality education system that builds character with sound moral values, culture and grace.
On this important milestone in our nation’s history – Malaysia at 50 – we pray that this country and all its peoples be blessed with wisdom, happiness and peace. We also remember and thank our founding fathers and all those who have contributed immensely to this nation’s growth. May our progressive nation-building ahead result in a cultured and matured society, comfortable with its past, optimistic for the future, and confident of its place in the world. SOTTHI.