From Merdeka to Malaysia

KJ John
Sep 20, 11

When Malaya gained Independence, I was only seven years old and in Standard One. It was a repeat year for me, as my Dad had emplaced me in the primary one class with my older brother in 1956, but I could not be technically promoted.

I was then moved to Ibrahim Primary School where my Dad symbolically gave the Independence Day speech on behalf of the Sultan of Kedah, although I missed hearing it as I was only in primary one. That was Merdeka and Malaya.

The 48th Malaysia Day was observed last Friday and, this year, we move toward a new era of democratisation, if we can take the prime minister seriously.

We can become 1Bangsa Malaysia or 1United Malaysia if he is serious. We can move slowly but surely towards democratic maturity, after half a century of stunted growth because of the ‘Melayu-first’ agenda that has been abused.

Personally I do not care too much whether Mat Indera is a hero or a coward. But he stood for something, and that is why we can debate or argue about him.

Mat Indera’s unknown neighbour is an individual in our history too, but he stood for nothing much and therefore there is no ‘history’ about him. Can we protest such non-history as ‘unfairness’ too? Modern freedom and liberty to express views and opinions must have some limits. Let us grow up!

Last year, the PM announced that Malaysia Day would be a public holiday; this year he has told us why. He has therefore given all Malaysians a wedding gift for the marriage of our three states to make the nation we call Malaysia.

But, sometimes I wonder, as my friend Anis asks: “Has this marriage ever been consummated?” Or are we merely sleeping, each in our own bed, in this bedroom?

Allow me to congratulate the PM and the cabinet and all their public service colleagues for their acquiescence to the changes announced. It could not have happened without their support and concurrence.

There is clear strategic intent. The PM made the ISA intent clear on April 3, 2009. Then he made Malaysia Day a national holiday.

On Sept 15, he declared that the ISA will be repealed. Well done Mr Prime Minister, I salute your courage! I still doubt and am sceptical if Umno will allow you to do this, but let us wait and see.

Positive implications

‘We R Malaysians’ was the theme song many of us sang on Malaysia Day in UCSI on Sept 16 last year.

What could be the positive implications of a shift from the ‘Merdeka Day mindset’ to ‘Malaysia Day celebrations’? What are the implications of real celebrations of this ‘arranged marriage’? Allow me some reflections:

•All three groups of Malaysians (Malayans, Sabahans, and Sarawakians) can become genuinely united about the meaning of Malaysia Day as our day of formation or wedding day.

•Malaysians can now become aware that the different Independence days that we each received from the British colonial government. It was not something we had to fight for’. In traditional British diplomacy and courtesy (vis-a-vis other colonial powers), following World War II, all Commonwealth colonies were given independence.

•There would be no Malaysia if there were not the independence of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. We had to be ‘independent adults’ capable of making our choices before the option of marriage was given. The formation of Malaysia should therefore never be viewed as a corporate takeover exercise.

•Malaysia has a greater potential to grow and create new value to become a developed country by 2020 if we can allow greater pride and ownership to all Malaysians about our marriage and formation.

•The PM should ask the people directly to give him a mandate for this agenda of development.

•This offer of a real and more meaningful democracy will give the next election much greater meaning and significance to the people of Malaysia. The offer can transcend political parties.

•All Malaysians, everywhere in the world, will now want to vote in the next general election because they too have much at stake. Malaysian-ness can become a birthright they may not want to give up just yet.

Therefore, my hope and prayer is the consequential emergence of a true-blue two-party state and the demise of the fear syndrome which has beset Malaysians up till today.

‘We are free, we are free! At last, we are free!’ is the song Martin Luther King Jr spoke within his ‘I have a dream’ speech. It can become our song too, Even the mainstream newspapers may now find their free and democratic voice. They too can learn to speak up and speak out for the public interest without self-censorship.

If abolition of the ISA can spur and usher in a newer democracy, wherein we all become primary shareholders and stakeholders of a real Malaysia Day, then I believe Malaysia can be on a roll towards Vision 2020; to become a real and mature democracy in our own mould.

We can and should take the PM seriously, even if with a healthy dose of scepticism! Please believe that he too, like all other PMs, can usher in some real and meaningful change. Just remember that the greater fear has now shifted to those who are non-democrats.

But, we the people still have a say; and we can define the direction in which we want to go. Democracy can be a rule of the majority but with greatest care for the minority in our midst. Yes, we can Malaysia!

Therefore, let us focus our eyes on the next general election and hold the leadership of the BN and government responsible for delivering our expectations on all issues that have become the movement for change in Malaysia.

For many of us, that must include political will to remove corruption far away from all forms of decision making, as this is the most evil root of destruction and performance in this nation.

May God bless Malaysia!

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Sunday, 25 September 2011 - 8:44 pm

    True democracy in this country is only possible if political parties put the well-being of the country above party interests. Consider the ‘Undilah’ video clip: There was nothing wrong with its content, yet the ruling party banned it because they worried that the clip will hurt voter support come GE13. How can the country make strides in its democratization process if political parties put their selfish interests above the well-being of the country?

  2. #2 by monsterball on Sunday, 25 September 2011 - 9:16 pm

    Now PM not important or powerful….Mahathir is….that is…to UMNO b party members only.
    Nothing can change for the better until you get rid of UMNO b government.
    Najib has established his reputation…….what kind of an UMNO b appointed PM he is.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Sunday, 25 September 2011 - 9:37 pm

    AiYo, so sad1, d writer n his dad had been conned 4 >50 yrs, cos there was really no merdeka, Malaya was NOT a British colony, according 2 our kang kong kang kong prof

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Monday, 26 September 2011 - 2:39 am

    Since 2007 Dr KL John changed his stance and voted against the BN (re- his piece in Malaysiakini on Sep 18 2007 titled “Why I would not vote for BN”). KL John said that before then he “voted for the Pak Lah government ….and even convinced all my friends to do so, simply because I believed in Pak Lah and all the promises he made. He has not delivered on many of his promises…” KL John however still apparently believes in hopes that he now pins on Najib – re his statement “please believe that he (PM Najib) too, like all other PMs, can usher in some real and meaningful change”. I just wonder what’s nature of “real and meaningful change” that “other PMs” have so far ushered. KL John’ exhortation “let us focus our eyes on the next general election and hold the leadership of the BN and government responsible for delivering our expectations on all issues that have become the movement for change in Malaysia” could be taken as an implied hint of his position, that in spite of his skepticism “whether UMNO will allow you to do this”, BN based on Najib’s promises (at least their “strategic intent”) deserve a chance. (How else can one “hold the leadership of the BN and government responsible for delivering our expectations” if BN were not voted in to be ten adjudged on its delivery ?) Well I hope Najib will not disappoint him as Pak Lah did.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Monday, 26 September 2011 - 7:28 am

    //On Sept 15, he declared that the ISA will be repealed. Well done Mr Prime Minister//

    KL John, you are being most ungrateful. You neglect to salute jibby for creating “the best democracy in the WORLD”!!!!

    A democracy which oversees the murders of Altan, Kogan, TBH, Amirulrashid, Sarbani……

  6. #6 by dagen on Monday, 26 September 2011 - 8:37 am

    /// Mat Indera’s unknown neighbour is an individual in our history too, but he stood for nothing much and therefore there is no ‘history’ about him. Can we protest such non-history as ‘unfairness’ too? Modern freedom and liberty to express views and opinions must have some limits. Let us grow up! ///

    Yes. Let us grow up and accept the unquestionable right of umnoputras to steal and plunder.

  7. #7 by dagen on Monday, 26 September 2011 - 9:26 am

    Jib, you are committing one huge mistake. Yes marginalising non-malays (actually more like non-umnoputras today) is a real problem. As far as the chinese are concerned, “what the heck”, they would say. Prior to 308 and up until today, chinese (and indians and many other minorities too) were already being suppressed and ignored and marginalised by umno. Now jib, you want to embrace the chinese with money meant for chinese education. No jib. Wrong. It’s the wrong thing to do. And it is also the wrong tree you are barking up.

    Mca’s corrupt ways and mentality do not represent the mentality of the general chinese populace. You must realise that the chinese by are large are not so susceptible to bribery esp if they are required to trade their principles in exchange. Second, about chinese education, after 50yrs of suppression, the chinese community has to a remarkable extent developed a well-oiled way to get funding (from the public and business community) for their schools. So jib your bribe to them is really only a bonus and not a necessity. In short, they are not desperate. Chinese schools are not dying for funds. So would the chinese community trade their principles just for a little extra bonus once a blue moon (which in actual fact is taxpayers’ money, i.e. their money in the first place)? Your bribe will only disgust them further.

    Actually, jib you are way way way behind time. Education is important to the chinese. That is true. But the chinese society has moved on. You and umno kept the malay society locked-up in time. Meanwhile the chinese have moved ahead. Many of them now have relatives, neighbours, friends and colleagues living or working outside of the country. These prople bring home new ideas and lifestyles. TV (not the rubbish national channels) and the Internet together with the ease of travel and telecommunication fed them with good perspectives of those new ideas and lifestyles. Today, in addition to education, the chinese community too wants freedom, good governance, a government of their choice, clean environment and a conducive environment in which to live and to earn a living. So yes education is important, but jib what about corruption, cronyism, waste of public funds, wonton acquisition of privite properties, destruction of natural forest, toxic rare earth plants etc etc. Can you handle all these as well? Can umno handle all of these? So you see jib. Umno has been staying put and orgying for far too long. Money for schools, jib? Thank you very much but no thank you because that our money. And hey how about cleaning up klang river?

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Monday, 26 September 2011 - 11:11 am

    Ya lor, truly very sad 4 M’sia, still got ppl like d writer who continues 2 hv faith in UmnoB/BN n die die must vote 4 UmnoB/BN, despite being sodomised by UmnoB/BN

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Monday, 26 September 2011 - 1:53 pm

    We must understand from which angle KL John is coming from. For a start according to what is known of, and said about him KL John is neither die hard Incumbent or opposition supporter. He judges based on ideological positions articulated by leaders of either sides. He would support Pak Lah or Najib if they articulate multicultural & inclusive ideological position (which is quite apart from the question whether their intent/words are matched against acheivements/deeds that only depends whether those oppose to them would prevail). Right now I think he would be aghast at PR’s defacto leader (Anwar)’s position of throwing his weight behind PAS/Nik Aziz in support of Hudud – accepted in principle (for Muslims) though indeterminate on timing of implementation. For that represents a betrayal of the Common Policy Framework of Pakatan Rakyat on the basis of which DAP championing multiculturalism subscribed at first instance.

  10. #10 by Loh on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 - 5:58 pm

    The Propessor Kangkong who said that Malaysia was not colonized because the Federated Malay States only invited British advisors to rule as they pleased.

    Among the 11 states in the Peninsular, Malacca and Peninsular were clear British colonies as part of the Straits Settlements. Kedah, Perlis, Trengganu and Kelantan were part of SIAM until they were ceded to the British in 1918 to become British colonies.

    Did the Propessor Kangkong think that the Federated Malay States, namely, Selangor, Perak, Pahang and Negri Sembilan should form a country independent of the others? Maybe the four northern states should be returned to Thailand. Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak being former British colonies should become Malaysia by default. Johor can become a separate independent state under an absolute monarch!

    Breaking up Malaysia into three separate states would make history an easier subject to teach. Those who are proud of the fact that their states have never been ‘colonized’ should be allowed to migrate to the former Federated Malay States.

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