We have to play our part in the months and years ahead if we are to bring our nation to a peaceful and progressive station by the next general election, writes JD Lovrenciear.
It was indeed a landmark achievement when Malaysians succeeded in breaking free from the political bondage of a six-decade-old oppressive coalition framework.
After three weeks, the unprecedented freedom from Umno-Barisan Nasional’s rule has not yet truly sunk in, as citizens are still talking jubilantly about the general election outcome. It indicates how precious this victory is for Malaysians who struggled for a change of government – a goal that seemed so illusive in the past.
The hard-fought success has been attributed to several factors, which have been expounded in numerous post-election analyses in the media and discussed at warongs all across the country.
At the forefront of this breakthrough were numerous leaders of organisations who stepped forward to build arteries for citizens to push forward for decisive change while politicians led the masses. These organisations include the National Patriot Association, Invoke, Hakam, Suhakam and Bersih.
Leaders like Brigadier General (rtd) Mohd Arshad Raji, Rafizi Ramli, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin Abdullah, Razali Ismail and Francis Paul Siah are just some of the many leaders par excellence Malaysians will always remember.
Thanks also go to certain media that fought hard against impossible pressure to boost Malaysians in their resolve to not give up. These include Malaysiakini, Free Malaysia Today and Aliran.
As we look forward to a truly great Malaysia for all Malaysians, we need to be mindful of a fundamental truth that alone can help Malaysia reconstruct a sustainable future of peace and progress for all Malaysians: that cornerstone of the New Malaysia is all of us citizens from all walks of life, irrespective of wealth status, religion, ethnicity and education.
We have to play our part in the months and years ahead if we are to bring our nation to a peaceful and progressive station by the next general election. Our roles and contributions must translate into the ordinary steps we can take, the simple conversations we hold and the expressed demands we will make of the new government.
Our Gross National Attitude and Mindsets are the yardstick of success or failure. Being civic-minded is a must. Whether we are driving, parking, walking or taking public transport, we must uphold disciplined behaviour in our daily lives which will lead us to a great Malaysia.
Businesses, small and big, must aspire to champion and uphold ethics and integrity. You do not have to be a multinational success to be a good corporate citizen.
Fighting corruption should not be be confined to the abilities of the new government and its many important institutions of good governance. Every citizen must proudly and loudly showcase his or her fight against corrupt symptoms and behaviour.
When the government removes the Goods and Services Tax, all of us providing services and products must ensure we don’t cheat on prices – irrespective of enforcement efforts. If the authorities do away with clamping, we have a moral obligation to not break law with inconsiderate parking.
The list is endless. It basically boils down to that famous quote of John F Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” to make your nation proud.
Every segment of society – be it the market square, the immediate neighbourhood, workplaces, institutions of learning, corporate and business corridors or places of worship – must demonstrate a will to make Malaysia great again.
It calls for renewed commitment from society. It takes the people’s will and the conviction that we and we alone as Malaysians can succeed in creating a great future for Malaysia.
Let us begin with the will to stop anyone, any organisation, any political segment in its tracks with vociferous condemnation should they regress into divisive racial and religious rhetoric or action.
Let us talk as Malaysians. Let us live as Malaysians. Let us play, pray and work side-by-side as Malaysians. In short, we must keep this hard-fought freedom before our eyes and close to our hearts daily as we march into the years ahead, leading up to the next general election.
As Kofi Annan said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
So let our new beginning be about educating ourselves and one another about how we can and must transform our society into a great Malaysia.