Friday, 8th February 2013 is the 110th birthday anniversary of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman.
History and the world at large acknowledge his contributions as a statesman, a nation builder and as a singularly unique historical figure. He personified decency, a deeply-held belief in the rule of law and respect for tradition.
This is an occasion for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs to come together to pay tribute to a man who laid the foundations for a modern, democratic, secular Malaysia welded out of a diverse mix of ethnicities, faiths and cultures.
It is most unfortunate and regrettable that Tunku’s good name and memory and those of our forefathers had recently been sullied when derogatory references were made by one of his successor-Prime Ministers who falsely accused Bapa Malaysia of having granted citizenship to one million “unqualified” non-Malays before Merdeka in 1957 – hypocritically claiming that the treasonous “citizenship-for-votes” rackets for illegal immigrants in Sabah were more honourable and worthy deeds!
When the nation achieved independent nationhood on August 31, 1957, followed by the formation of Malaysia in 1963, it heralded the beginning of a new era where Malayans and later Malaysians could dare to dream big dreams to remake the world.
Reading out the Merdeka Proclamation in the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on that auspicious day 55 years ago on August 31, 1957, Tunku pledged that Malaya “shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations”.
These aspirations were reiterated by Tunku six years later in the Proclamation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963 on the formation of Malaysia, pledging that Malaysia “shall forever be an independent and sovereign democratic State founded upon liberty and justice, ever seeking to defend and uphold peace and harmony among its people and to perpetuate peace among nations”.
The multi-million ringgit invitation to the South Korean superstar Psy to Penang for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Chinese New Year Open House to perform his global hit “Gangnam Style” is a powerful symbolism of the multiple failures of Malaysian nation-building in the past half-century as promised in Tunku’s Merdeka and Malaysia Proclamations on democracy, liberty, justice, people’s welfare and happiness.
On the Chinese New Year of the Snake, let Malaysians have fun and enjoy Psy’s “Gangnam Style” but it should be a powerful reminder that Malaysia has a lot to catch up whether in terms of political democracy, economic competitiveness and justice, educational excellence, technological prowess or nation-building as highlighted in the reversal of fortunes of the two countries in the past half-century with South Korea rising up from greater poverty and backwardness than Malaysia to be a global economic powerhouse while Malaysia is struggling to escape from the trap of “middle-income countries”.
There is no better way to commemorate Tunku’s 110th “birthday anniversary by supporting the “Spark the Change” campaign launched by the DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua today to accomplish Merdeka2 which Tunku had dedicated the final decade of his life.
Let 2013 on the occasion of Tunku’s 110th birthday anniversary mark Malaysia’s beginning of the new journey of the Second Merdeka through UBAH in Putrajaya in the 13th General Elections, to see the fulfillment of the promises of the Merdeka and Malaysia Proclamations on democracy, liberty, justice, people’s welfare and happiness particularly in the face of the relentless challenges of globalization in the 21st century.
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