(2016 Chinese New Year Message)
Forty-six years ago, on New Year’s Eve marking the end of 1969 and the decade of the sixties, I wrote to the DAP founding chairman Dr. Chen Man Hin from political detention in Muar about the challenges of the future.
I ended my letter thus:
“It is our duty, the duty of every one of our members, branch, state and national leaders, elected representatives, to march in the frontline of the struggle to spread the word of a multi-racial Malaysia to Malaysians of all races, in both the urban and rural areas.
“Let us not shirk from our responsibility and duty to our nation, ourselves, our children and children’s children.”
This is in fact a challenge for all Malaysians for all times.
We are a nation with a confluence of different races, languages, cultures and religions, where Malaysians celebrate the diverse ethnic and religious festivities not in an exclusive but in an inclusive Malaysian manner.
Just as Chinese in Malaysia celebrate the Chinese New Year together with Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans; Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri together with non-Muslims; Hindus celebrate Deepavali and Thaipusam with non-Hindus; Christians celebrate Christmas with non-Christians; and Dayak and Kadazandusunmurut communities celebrate their respective festivals with other Malaysians – without fear of losing our common national bond and our respective ethnic or religious identities.
This is the ingredient which makes Malaysia great and Malaysians unique and distinct from other peoples in the world!
Let us continue to celebrate Malaysia’s diversity, an asset which could lead to Malaysia’s greater achievements as a people and a nation.
The time has come for a realignment of progressive political forces to save Malaysia and to keep faith with the vision of an united, plural, inclusive, moderate, democratic and prosperous Malaysia.
Malaysians must find and restore our self-confidence to compete with the rest and the best in the world.
We must rediscover our greatness as Malaysians.