Today Malaysians went back for their first working day after the 14th General Elections with a new federal government and many new state leaders at the helm. It was Malaysia’s first transfer of power at the federal level since independence, and we should be proud that it was a remarkably peaceful one.
The country is refreshed with a spirit of achievement and unity; the early days of democratic success can feel invigorating. However, much needed repairing and transformation work lies ahead for both the government and Rakyat to do. We as citizens must contribute to nation-building by casting aside our apathetic attitude towards power abuse and racial biases. Malaysians should be totally committed to rid our country of racialism, corruption and kleptocracy.
However, Buddhist community leaders need not rush in to congratulate and ingratiate themselves to the newly-elected government. We did not cast our votes en-bloc as Buddhists; we voted individually as Malaysian citizens. Buddhist leaders should get back to their real work, which is to lead their communities in learning and practising Dhamma, and keep politics out of our temples.
Buddhist societies can still contribute to nation-building without being political. Encouraging the practice of Right Speech and Right Livelihood is a good place to begin. In Right Speech, we should speak and make statements that are truthful, beneficial, sensible, kindly, and timely. We should not sensationalise incidents, or share things that are dubious, hurtful to others, and harmful to national harmony.
In terms of Right Livelihood, we must endeavour to earn our living honestly and honorably, without resorting to corruption and cheating. We need a new working mentality and culture for Malaysia to ascend to the ranks of happy and successful countries.
The 14th General Elections is over. The voice of the Rakyat was clearly heard and heeded. Now it is time to move on to other important duties. For Buddhists, we eagerly look forward to celebrating ‘Buddha Day’, which falls on 29 May this year. It should be a day of deep piety and spirituality as we contemplate the Buddha’s sublime teachings. Let us leave behind discussions on politics, and move on to talks on Dhamma instead.
We continue to pray for the success and happiness of Malaysia and Malaysians. Dirgahayu Negaraku!