School is the best part of one’s life where students can be idealistic and must dare to dream big dreams to make Malaysia and the world a better place for everyone

The seventh Majlis Selamat Tahun Baru Cina of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Mutiara Rini is most meaningful because school is not only the best part of one’s life, but even more important, students can be idealistic and must dare to dream big dreams to make Malaysia and the world a better place for everyone.

Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation and we are the confluence of four great civilisations of the world – Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western.

Instead of the great diversities and the multi-colours in our midst being national liabilities, we have in our hands the challenge to leverage on the best qualities and values of these four great civilisations to achieve a great Malaysian nation which leaves lasting footprints in the history of human civilisation by being a world top class in certain aspects of human excellence and achievement.

This why Malaysians regardless of race and religion celebrate each other’s festivities, whether Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali or Christmas.

In fact, these festivities are given official recognition as they are declared National Holidays in Malaysia.

In school, we are taught to abide and uphold the Malaysian Constitution and Rukunegara to be Malaysians, although we are also Malays, Chinese, Ibans or Kadazans and adherents of different faiths.

After more than six decades of nationhood, we should have more Malaysians than the early years of nationhood. Do we?

But there can be no doubt that if Malaysia is to succeed as a world top-class nation, Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region, must unite to pool their resources, talents and abilities to ensure that Malaysia can reach the next level of development instead of fighting with each other for Malaysia to end up as a failed state.

When I was in school in the fifties in the last century, the world was shaking off the yoke of Western colonialism and Afro-Asian nations were embarking on the road of independence and statehood.

Today, we are in a different world. In 2050, the largest economies will be China, India, United States and Indonesia in that order.

What we make of the world in next few decades will depend on the school-children of today, and this is why we must invest in the proper education of the next generation of Malaysians.

(Speech by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang officiating the 7th Majlis Selamat Tahun Bahru Cina of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Mutiara Rini in Gelang Patah on Wednesday, 22nd Januarty 2020)

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