Aliran extends warm Malaysia Day greetings to everyone in Malaysia.
This will be the 59th year of our celebrations as a nation, and we can all look back with gratitude and a sense of thanksgiving for having progressed so far.
In 2021 Malaysia recorded gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $11,371. By the end of 2022, the country expects to achieve GDP per capita of $12,900.
If we convert the figure to ringgit based on the current exchange rate, we arrive at a per capita figure of about RM58,500. It would be wonderful if the people actually earn this much, but fair income distribution is another matter altogether. We must work towards a more just distribution of the country’s income.
While we look forward to stronger economic performance, we also expect the government to put in place measures to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy the fruit of this dynamism. The economy should work for the people, including the workers and vulnerable communities, and not the other way round.
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Good governance must ensure that the economy is managed in a sustainable, transparent, inclusive and fair manner – without the destruction of ecosystems.
We also urge the government to implement more programmes and projects to benefit the poor, especially those in the lower-income group. Food security is essential; so too is raising the minimum wage to a living wage and implementing schemes to assist the vulnerable. These are key responsibilities of the government of the day.
After six decades of independence, it is time we review the nation’s affirmative action policies to ensure they truly benefit those in need. Let’s be brave to move beyond narrow and artificial racial constructs and develop policies based on sound criteria, regardless of the target groups’ ethnicity, religion or party affiliation.
We also urge the authorities to celebrate our diversity by recognising the unique beauty and attraction of our various religions and cultures. This time, let’s go beyond showcasing traditional costumes and cuisines, important as they are; let’s get into the essence of building a truly Malaysian identity based on universal values of justice, integrity and compassion for the vulnerable and marginalised.
Aliran wishes everyone a happy Malaysia Day.Aliran executive committee
15 September 2022