On Wednesday, Americans commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic “I have a dream” speech made in Washington on August 28, 1963, which evoked the American Dream which envisioned an inclusive nation where justice and freedom are enjoyed equally by her citizens regardless of colour or creed.
Although much progress have been achieved in the past five decades to achieve these goals in the United States, the American Dream is still very much a work-in-progress.
On the occasion of our 56th National Day, it is my hope that all Malaysians can rally behind a Malaysian Dream to build a more united, democratic, free, just and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens so that Malaysia can stand tall in the world.
Is this too much to hope for when in recent months, the language and politics of hatred, suspicion and distrust seemed to have taken dominion of public spaces whether in print or Internet, causing concerned Malaysians to be worried about the nation’s future?
Just as their divisions, setbacks and failures in the past five decades of American nation-building have not been allowed to hold back the onward march of the American Dream, Malaysians must not allow our own divisions, setbacks and failures to obstruct the achievement of the Malaysian Dream – which envisions a plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences as the common grounds binding them as one citizenship exceed the differences that divide them.
I believe the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, are patriotic citizens.
Regardless of our racial, religious, linguistic, cultural and regional differences, we are one Malaysian people who owe undivided loyalty to the country, we share one motherland – Malaysia – and we must come together as one people to develop the greatness of the country which we are capable of, deriving from the best practices, values and traditions from the diverse races, religions and cultures which have made Malaysia their home.
It is only on the back of the Malaysian Dream that Malaysia can achieve a tryst with Destiny to accomplish greatness in various fields of human endeavour and to become one the leading nations of the world.
(56th National Day Message on Friday, 30th August 2013)