Tuesday, August 31, 2010

53 Years of Independece

Today, I'm expressing my feelings and sharing my thoughts openly through this blog, although I'm just a common man-on-the-street. I would never have this chance just a few years ago. This opportunity to share my views and inner thoughts with friends and all internet surfers, is perhaps one of the greatest aspects of modernization in Malaysia. We have joined the modern high-tech society where almost everyone has a mobile phone to communicate with his or her friends while the radio and television provide almost countless channels to select from for information and entertainment.

We celebrated the 53rd anniversary of our Independence yesterday, with a colorful indoor performance, salutation and display at the Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil, unlike the usual parade and colorful ceremonial shows at Merdeka Square which some people are already tired of. Yes, they still love all the pomp and ceremonies. But held in a stadium which is some distance away from the heart of the city, the limited sitting capacity and the drive with all the traffic jams, could have made it quite uninviting. The call to display the Jalur Gemilang on cars and buildings from early August also did not receive a spiritted response for reasons which need to be explored. There is also no firework display and stage performance by popular artists to atract attention in the night.

The celebration themed " 1 Malaysia transforming the nation" seems much scaled-down compared to previous anniversaries. While some interpret that as indicative of some financial problems facing the country, others maintained that it's a good show of moderation and thrift in public expenditure. The fact that this national anniversary celebration had been out-shined in terms of glitz and expenditure by a tourism show called The Colors of Malaysia held some moths ago, doesn't seem to bother anyone. Similar celebrations were also held in some States including Penang and Kedah which are under the governance of Pakatan Rakyat. Selangor, however, did not hold any celebration as far as I know.

Whatever rating is given to the 53rd Anniversary celebration, it does not reduce the significance of the Merdeka Anniversary Message delivered by the Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib. It highlighted some of the achievements of the nation in its 53 years of independence, the new Transformation plan to make the country economically dynamic, socially integrated and politically stable, and the New Economic Model that is supposed to turn Malaysia into a high-income nation by the year 2020. Having stressed some of the hopes and promises which have already been oft-repeated in earlier speeches, the Prime Minister came down with the stern warning that what has been made could easily be unmade in a few moments of irresponsible action by some of the enemies of the nation.

Who are these enemies, was not defined. This could have been the most critical part of the Message for the people of Malaysia to ponder upon for there seemed to be many enemies in the midst of the current political scenario where some states have fallen into the hands of the opposition, including Selangor in which Kuala Lumpur was formerly situated until it was transformed into a Wilayah Persekutuan ( A Federal Territory). Opposition members in Parliament therefore cannot be called enemies anymore for they already rule in some of the states. This is a reality that the people of Malaysia seem to have accepted but the Barisan-led federal government may have not. A new form of cooperation between the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Keadilan must be worked out if the country is not to be torn apart by contradictory policies and priorities in the governing of the nation.

Did the Sate Government from the Party Keadilan Rakyat participate in the Merdeka Anniversary celebration at the Federal level? If not, that can explain a lot why the celebration this year had not received so much enthusiam. The Federal Government will just have to respect the need to consider all the Representatives of the People or Wakil Rakyat as the Peoples' Representative in any national function, refardless of their political affiliations. The concept of 1 Malaysia must not only bring the people together but also some kind of a bipartisan arrangement in the government, with a common loyalty to country and people. It's most urgent that this be worked out beside bringing about the big transformation that we dream of.
Otherwise the dream may not be realized at all.

Let's hope that this 53rd year of independence will bring a closer cooperation between the Federal and State Governments, especially those under Pakatan's control.


abdulhalimshah said...

Ya Akhi,
The need for an accommodating policy whenever the State Govt is ruled by another coalition as that from the Centre must be addressed urgently by the Government at all levels. Unless we show maturity in Governance and understand how democracy is practised in developed countries, then we fail in our nation-building efforts.
The people must be made to believe that the Government and the Party are two separate entities where Governance is concerned. The media hype in making this to be blurred ought to be given the boot. One Malaysia is just a hollow slogan if the actions speak otherwise. The Federal Govt. must walk the talk and vice versa.

rambomadonna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al-Manar said...

Dear Norzah
In my diary of 1957 I wrote something on Merdeka. I away from our 'tanah tumpah darahku'. I was alone and lonely. At the end of my entry I put a question whther I was happy over Malaya becoming 'merdeka'. I wonder today what truly made me leave that page with that question. And I wonder today wheher I wss justified for that.

norzah said...

Akhi Halim, the attitude of Barisan towards Pakatan is, I think, the cause of the lack of accommodation and cooperation on matters requiring participation at a national level. For decades Barisan (or Perikatan as it was known before) had been ruling the country without any strong opposition. So the 'absolute power' mentality had been taken for granted, just as UMNO's attitude was towards its partners in Barisan. The change in the power equation left many UMNO bigwigs unable to adjust the new political scenario and the requirements of true democracy. They are not ready to treat the opposition as a possible successor to the government as had happened in some states. Some defeated UMNO lraders are stll too dazed over their defeat that they cannot thi k straight. And the government had even picked up defeated leaders to become members of the Cabinet over the ones accpeted bt the public. So what can we expect but a government with the old "absolute power" mentality. It's this attitude and mentality that' s causing a lot of divisiveness in the country and we can only hope that the great transformation program can overcome this problem.

norzah said...

Jaime, what happened? I'll certainly check on your blog to see what' amiss.

norzah said...

Akhi Al-Manar, often it is not what we have that matters but how we acquired it. Many countries gained their independence in a hard way, often involving revolts and bloodshed. Once gained the people really appreciate their hard-earned victory and remembered the sacrifices they had to make. But when we acquired something quite easily, we often forget what price we pay for it, if any. That also applies to the citizens of this country who acquired their citizenship very easily and the wealthy Malays who obtained their wealth through political sponsorsip and servitude. When there are too many of these people around posing as right honorable citizens, we begin to question what independece really means.

rambomadonna said...

Norzah: Actually I commented about the theme of our National Day celebration and the meaning of Malaysia and about maybe we should focus on Hari Malaysia.

Perhaps I lived in Sarawak and later Sabah most of my life so i felt like 31 August is not 100% right for Sarawakian and Sabahan to justify as our Hari Merdeka. Not wanting to offend anyone I remove the comment.

But after thinking carefully, perhaps 31 August and 16 September is like looking at the past to plan for the future, the first steps taken by our forefather to liberate themselves from colonisation and form the country we now know as Malaysia.

rambomadonna said...

By the way Norzah, since you have read my latest I can see the confusion ...

you can see how "colonise" I am hahahaha

norzah said...

I thought, J, that government had agreed on
celebrating merdeka anniversary on September 16, but for some reason reverted to August 31. Maybe I was wrong for for I agree with you that August 31 is not that meaningful for Sabahan and Sarawakian. Maybe we should have two celebrations: Merdeka Anniversary and 1 Malaysia Day to be celebrated on September 16, with Sabah and Sarawak hosting the
function. I am very keen on the latter date because it is also my birthday, hehehehehe. That's a longer laugh than usual, hohoho.

rambomadonna said...

Wah so good hor ... Your birthday is a public holiday and 1 Malaysia celebrating it.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
First of all, ‘many happy returns of the day’ for Sept 16th, a wish for the future ( lest I forget, as memory is a treasured commodity these days)

In the case of Nabil ( read: my cucu) his 5th birthday was on last Tues, the 31st Aug. He may not realize the significance now but he will later where the whole country is celebrating with him.

Likewise , happiness for you for the same reason. I’ve been told there is an Aug 31st Club of some sort where they come up with their own brand of celebrations. You just need to register for membership. In most instances they are sponsored for joint celebrations together with a big do at a hotel ( with the round of goodies given to each member) a ?helicopter ride once before, I think, outings and so on.

Is there one for Sept 16? I’m sure by now there should be one.

norzah said...

Thanks so much for the sept 16 wish, Akhi Kaykuala. I really don't know if there's a club for those born on that date but if it's going to be a holiday in memory of Hari Malaysia, let's all enjoy it. No special celebration anymore for me cos dah overage. Kata orang living on injury time. Allah be praised for His kindness to me. selamat berpuasa dan selamat hari raya, maaf lahir batin.