Today, Malaysians celebrate the 59th anniversary of our nation’s independence. We are grateful for the relative peace and stability that our nation has enjoyed over the decades. We are also thankful for the invaluable services rendered by honourable civil servants and principled civic leaders to the development of Malaysia. We owe those unsung heroes a debt of gratitude in ensuring our country’s progress despite facing severe challenges in nation-building.
The past year had arguably been a testing one for us – having to confront many social, political and economic questions facing the country. The most disquieting regret is the seeming inability of national leaders and institutions to unite Malaysians based on fundamental doctrines of fairness, integrity and egalitarianism. Failure to do so may cause the citizenry to further lose faith in those very leaders and institutions, thus hampering national integration and development.
For Malaysia to progress in this rapidly-changing global environment, it is paramount that our leaders and institutions embrace universal ethics, democratic principles, and effective service-delivery to the people. Our national education system must integrate instead of polarize our multiracial populace; we should celebrate plurality with open-mindedness, which is the way to counter religious radicalization.
It is the collective hope and aspiration of Malaysians that our country continues to evolve peacefully and progressively to take its place among the proud, successful nations of the world. In order to achieve this dream, concrete steps must be taken to rectify institutional weaknesses such as our ineffective educational and political systems. Mere rhetoric, poor justifications and more sloganeering will not suffice.
Let us all unite behind our country’s founding ideals, and strengthen our will to progress as one people and one nation. Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan ke-59. Dirgahayu Malaysia!