Merdeka Day Messages and Wish List

With its theme “Teguh Bersama” or staying firm together, this year’s Hari Kebangsaan or National Day celebration was a cheerful departure from the last two years, where almost everyone stayed at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns. While many more political and economic issues remain to be sorted out, the generally peaceful climate in the country remains a plus point. The people’s power is expected to somewhat steer the country’s direction but this remains to be endorsed with a general election looming ahead. Photo courtesy of Jabatan Penerangan.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 – As Malaysia marked its 65th year of independence from the British rule today, with a grand celebration at the Merdeka Square here, many leaders had expressed their hopes and plans for the country throughout the week as well. The following are excerpts of some of the aspirations and wishes listed out by several leaders as well as actions taken towards fulfilling some of the plans..

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin probably made some wishes come true for young people in the medical profession when he announced on Tuesday that contract doctors can also now apply for specialist training scholarships. The issue has been a bone of contention for contract doctors up till now. Khairy said the sponsored programme offer was in line with “my commitment to improving business and equitable career pathways between permanent recruiters and contract officers.”

Member of Parliament for Bangi, DAP’s Ong Kian Ming, in his Merdeka Wish List issued last week said many Malaysians would have been satisfied and given a cause for celebration now “that justice has finally been served on the biggest scandal in Malaysian history with former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak finally being sent to jail after he lost his final appeal at the Federal Court over the SRC International RM42 million money laundering and power abuse case.”

He said the passing of the historic anti Party hopping constitutional amendment earlier this month was something to celebrate as well but added that there were still more reforms to be done. “First on my wish list is a constitutional amendment that will recognize explicitly the passing of citizenship status of children of Malaysian mothers including those born overseas.” Among others, Ong also wished for a “Constituency Allocation Act” that guarantees equal constituency allocation from the federal government to all MPs regardless of whether they are government or non-government MPs and the much demanded Political Financing Act.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his Facebook posting called on the people to stay united to ensure continued peace, security in the country and to preserve the country’s sovereignty. He also called on Malaysians to put to practice the core or essence of what they have learnt, be it in the sphere of religion, education or charitable deeds.

Member of Parliament for Iskandar Puteri, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said this year’s National Day presented hope and anticipation instead of the despair felt in the last two years. He also shared excerpts from a recently declassified document: His statement to the police while in custody at the Kuala Selangor Police Station lock-up under the Internal Security Act in 1969.

“I was asked about my political views and this was what I told the Police: (a)Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society, and  a viable Malaysian nation can only be formed if all the races and groups in the country are given an equal stake under  the Malaysian sun.”

Among others, he had also stated that “In a multi-racial society, if any racial group feels it is backward, either educationally, economically, culturally, linguistically, or politically, then racial antagonism will be created. Every attempt must be made to remove these imbalances between the races and groups.

“Poverty is not a communal problem. It is a socio-economic problem. To regard poverty as a racial problem is to increase racial antagonism in this country.

“Only parliamentary democracy can prevent a racial clash. Any other form of government will only lead to racial mistrust.”

Kit Siang said his vision of a united Malaysia has remained the same over the years, and urged Malaysians to regard themselves as Malaysians first and their racial identity as secondary.

He also cautioned against “desperate forces trying to prevent the country from returning to the original nation-building principles and policies as enshrined in the Constitution and Rukun Negara – constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, rule of law, good governance, public integrity, meritocracy, respect for human rights and national unity from our multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural diversity where there are no first-class and second-class citizens whether based on race, religion or region.”

— WE