Saturday, August 31, 2013

DAP calls for independent investigation of Seri Pristana

DAP calls for independent investigation of Seri Pristana

BY LEE SHI-IAN
August 31, 2013
Malaysian Insider
Latest Update: August 31, 2013 03:33 pm
 
The DAP has demanded an independent committee to investigate various issues in the on-going SK Seri Pristana saga, following conflicting statements issued by the authorities.

The party's Selangor state chairperson Teresa Kok said it was reported that the Education Ministry had announced that only one pupil had requested for a transfer from the school thus far.

The ministry also said it was probing the veracity of claims that the administration of SK Seri Pristana or its teachers had created an unwelcome environment for pupils.

Selangor Education Department director Mahmud Karim, meanwhile, refuted allegations that school authorities had photographed non-Muslim pupils.

He also added that his department had yet to be alerted of the incident.

Mahmud also refuted claims that the school teachers had discriminated against non-Muslim pupils and called it a misunderstanding.

"Based on the statements from the Education Ministry and state Education Department, I doubt if continued investigations by authorities can inspire much public confidence," Kok said in a statement today.

She expressed doubt the department would be fair and accurate in its investigation into complaints from some parents.

"Firstly, Mahmud refuted claims that teachers had discriminated against non-Muslim pupils but the ministry had issued a statement saying it was investigating the issue," she said.

"Therefore, if the ministry investigation is ongoing, then how can Mahmud refute the claims?"

The second discrepancy was Mahmud denied the photographing incident but claimed that his department had yet to be informed of the matter.

"The claims of pupils being photographed has been widely reported in the media. Why has the department not taken the initiative to meet the parents and verify the claims?

"I really wonder how Mahmud's department carries out its investigations. Do they wait for reports from the school before acting?.

"If this is the case, then how can the truth be unearthed? Is there truly fairness in the process?" Kok asked.

She also mentioned that whistleblower Guneswari Kelly had been forced to transfer her daughter from SK Seri Pristana to another school after she had been bullied by her classmates.

"An online news portal today quoted a parent of a pupil in SK Seri Pristana as saying that the students had been told to transfer out from the school if they didn't like it there,” said Kok.

The parent, identified only as Raj, said that due to harassment, his daughter had not returned to the school after the Hari Raya holidays and had begun classes at a new school last Monday.

"So this means that there are at least two transfers out from SK Seri Pristana. Why is the Education Ministry claiming that only one pupil had been transferred out?" Kok asked.

She also took Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to task as his silence over the issue has created the allegation that he is condoning or emboldening the wrong-doings at the school.

"The government must set up an independent committee to conduct a full investigation into the 'Meals in changing rooms' affair and the bullying and intimidation of pupils," Kok said.

There are 25 non-Muslim pupils among the 1,400 enrolled at the school.

The school became embroiled in this controversy about a month ago when Guneswari uploaded a picture of non-Muslim pupils eating in a shower room during Ramadan following a directive from the headmaster.

The picture went viral and subsequently 18 police reports were lodged against the school and the headmaster.

The ministry insisted that it considered the issue to be solved as several measures had been taken to rectify the situation such as closing the changing room and upgrading the school canteen to accommodate more pupils.

"The school's headmaster, senior assistant and teachers have been twice advised on the need to maintain the harmony of pupils from various races," it had said in a statement

The school pupils were also subjected to questioning by the police without the knowledge of their parents, a claim which police initially denied but later admitted.

On Friday, the Education Ministry announced that Mohd Nasir had been let off the hook as he hadn't committed any crime in ordering his pupils to have their meals in the shower room. - August 31, 2013.

Merdeka - Tunku Abdul Rahman

Merdeka - Tunku Abdul Rahman

August 31, 2013
Malaysian Insider
Latest Update: August 31, 2013 03:28 pm
 
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, People of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.

I am indeed proud that on this, the greatest day in Malaya's history it falls to my lot to proclaim the formal independence of this country. Today as new page is turned, and Malaya steps forward to take her rightful place as a free and independent partner in the great community of Nations – a new nation is born and though we fully realise that difficulties and problems lie ahead, we are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today's events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide.

It is therefore with a feeling of particular solemnity that we have listened to the eloquent words of His Royal Highness and in particular to the moving message he has conveyed from Her Majesty the Queen. We are indeed honoured that Her Majesty should have deputed her own uncle, His Royal Highness to be with us on this occasion particularly when we remember that he is no stranger to this land: we recall too with pleasure his previous visit to Malaya and happy recollections of his stay have remained with us.

His Royal Highness has spoken in moving words of the past associations of our two countries. We in Malaya have a long history, but we do not lightly forget old relationships. For many years past our fortunes have been linked with those of Great Britain and we recall in particular the comradeship of two world wars. We remember too the products of our association; justice before the law, the legacy of an efficient public service and the highest standard of living in Asia.

We shall therefore always Remember with gratitude the assistance which we have received from Great Britain down our long path to nationhood; an assistance which culminated today with the proclamation of Malaya's Independence. But the long-standing friendship between our countries does not cease with independence: rather it takes on a new form.

As you have heard in the gracious message from Her Majesty the Queen, Malaya will henceforward take her place in the great Commonwealth of Independent Nations whose members are found in all parts of the world, and as an equal partner in that great association. We in this country will do all in our power to promote its well-being in the interests of mankind in general and in the particular service of world peace.

Thus, today a new chapter opens in our relationship with Britain; our colonial status has given place to full equality but we are confident that, fortified by old associations, and linked by old memories, our ties with Britain will grow ever stronger and more durable. British will ever find in us her best friend, and it is a source of much gratification to my Government that British Civil Servants will continues to serve in this country to assist us in the solution of the many problems which independence will present.

But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future; from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility: Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour-the creation of a new and sovereign State.

At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.

High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed.

PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE
IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL. PRAISE BE TO GOD, THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE AND MAY THE BLESSINGS AND PEACE OF GOD UPON HIS MESSENGERS.

WHEREAS the time has now arrived when the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu will assume the status of a free independent and sovereign nation among the nations of the World.

AND WHEREAS by an agreement styled the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, between Her Majesty the Queen and Their Highness the Rulers of the Malay States it was agreed that the Malay States of Johore, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu and Perak and the former Settlements of Malacca and Penang should as from the 31st day of August, 1957, be formed into a new Federation of States by the name of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.

AND WHEREAS it was further agreed between the parties to the said agreement that the Settlements of Malacca and Penang aforesaid should as from the said date cease to form part of Her Majesty's dominions and that Her Majesty should cease to exercise any sovereignty over them.

AND WHEREAS it was further agreed by the parties aforesaid that the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, and all other agreements subsisting between Her Majesty the Queen and Their Highness the Rulers or anyone of them immediately before the said date should be revoked as from that date and that all powers and jurisdiction of Her Majesty or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in or in respects of the Settlements aforesaid or the Malay States or the Federation as a whole should come to an end.

AND WHEREAS effect has been given in the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, by Her Majesty the Queen, Their Highnesses the Rulers, the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Legislatures of the Federation and of the Malay States.

AND WHEREAS a constitution for the Government of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu has been established as the supreme law thereof.

AND WHEREAS by the Federal Constitution aforesaid provision is made to safeguard the rights and prerogatives of Their Highness the Rulers and the fundamental rights and liberties of the people and to provide for the peaceful and orderly advancement of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu as a constitutional monarchy based on Parliamentary democracy.

AND WHEREAS the Federal Constitution aforesaid having been approved by an Ordinance of the Federal Legislatures, by the Enactments of the Malay States and by resolutions of the Legislatures of Malacca and Penang has come into force on the 31 st day of August, 1957, aforesaid.

Now in the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, I, TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PUTRA IBNI AL-MARHUM SULTAN ABDUL HAMID HALIMSHAH, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PERSEKUTUAN T ANAH MELAYU, with the concurrence and approval of Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States do hereby proclaim and declare on behalf of the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu that as from the thirty first day of August, nineteen hundred and fifty seven, the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu comprising the States of Johore, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Malacca and Penang is and with God's blessing shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations. - August 31, 2013.

* This is Tunku Abdul Rahman's speech at the Proclamation of Independence, Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, 31 August 19

A month later, tables turn on Seri Pristana students



A month later, tables turn on Seri Pristana students

BY MELISSA CHIAugust 31, 2013
Malay Mail Online 
LUMPUR, Aug 31 — A month ago, parts of the nation seethed at the sight of students made to eat in the bathroom of a Sungai Buloh school.

But now that the controversy has waned, parents allege the children are facing a backlash from those blaming them for damaging the reputation of SK Seri Pristana.

Some parents claim there are those in the school now out to learn the identities of those involved in triggering the public storm over headmaster Mohd Nasir Mohd Noor’s decision to use a bathroom as a canteen during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Kamu budak jahat, pasal kamu semua, name sekolah terjejas (You are naughty children, because of you all, the school’s name is jeopardised),” a parent, who wished to be known only as Raj, recounted a teacher’s alleged words to his daughter following the controversy.

He told The Malay Mail Online that the first of many such alleged incidents took place after a morning assembly, when the “Penyelia Petang” (afternoon supervisor) singled out the children.

Raj said this may be because only the non-Muslim students in the afternoon session ― those in Standards Two, Three and Four ― ate in the shower room; he said the older non-Muslim students in the morning session had opted to eat elsewhere, such as at staircases instead of the “smelly and dirty” bathroom.

Another parent, who asked to be known only as Devi, 45, said that while her son has not been harassed, she is seriously considering transferring him elsewhere after the end of this school year, fearing that he would be targeted next.

“But we don’t know what about the future, it seems to be that there is no solution to this problem, it will just go on and on,” she told The Malay Mail Online over the phone.

“I don’t know how the headmaster and the teachers are going to behave with the kids, (there is) no guarantee the teachers are going to be okay with them.”

There are fewer than 30 non-Muslim students in the primary school of about 1,300. Some parents have already opted to withdraw their children after one father was arrested for allegedly intimidating Mohd Nasir, fearing they are next in line.

Devi said, ideally, she would transfer her son to a more racially-integrated school, although she has yet to identify the right one.

Meanwhile, Raj said the school has disputed the allegations of harassment, and alleged that students were told to transfer out of SK Seri Pristana if they did not like the school.

He further said the students were told to furnish evidence of the alleged persecution.

This was enough to drive his daughter to a teary bid over two days to convince Raj and his wife to move her to a different school.

She did not return to the school since the Hari Raya holidays and started attending a new school last Monday.

He insists that the reports of students being targeted by school figures were “not lies”.

“The education blueprint says it wants to create 1 Malaysia unity among all races, that must start from schools,” he said.

For Devi, she only hopes that her son will make it through the rest of the school year undisturbed.
“Just a few months, we don’t want any problems, just finish [the year] off and we’re moving out,” she said.

A firestorm erupted late last month after images of primary schoolchildren eating in a bathroom were shared on social media sites.

School authorities explained that the move was because the canteen had been under renovation. Government figures including Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan accepted the clarification and declared the issue closed following an apology from the school head.

But the matter has continued to simmer since with police reports and threats against various parties.

On Monday, one parent was arrested for allegedly threatening Mohd Nasir, but his arrest led to outcry from others who say 18 police reports had been made against the headmaster with no result.

56 years later - a fractured, polarised nation

56 years later - a fractured, polarised nation
 
COMMENT The social contract, social compact or bargain reached by the three communities under the watchful eye of the British imperial power as a condition to Merdeka was that in exchange for full citizenship, a right to use their language and observe their religion, the non-Malays had to concede special privileges to the Malays to assist the latter to ascend the economic ladder.

It was a quid pro quo. It was a consensus arrived after hard bargaining, and has formed the basis of nationhood. In this equilibrium, the non-Malays were not to be relegated to second-class citizens: citizenship was not on a two-tier basis and there was going to be no apartheid, partition or repatriation.

10 tahun merdeka movie 041007 actorWhat was required from the non-Malays at the time of Merdeka was undivided loyalty to the new nation. They could no longer owe their allegiance to the mother country, China or India. Racial differences were recognised. Diversity was encouraged. There was no pressure to integrate into one Malayan race.

A new nation was to be integrated over time, but as a plural society. Assimilation was out of the question. Thus, a united Malayan nation did not involve the sacrifice by any community of its religion, culture or customs. Minorities were not to be discriminated in a system of parliamentary democracy based on constitutional supremacy. In many respects, the establishment of Malaysia six years after Merdeka strengthened the social contract.

But as Malaya completes 56 years as an independent sovereign nation today, and more significantly, Malaysia turns half a century on Sept 16, do the 26 million Malaysians have reason to celebrate? Unfortunately, the popular response would be very much in the negative.

Twin forces


The twin forces of race and religion have substantially polarised the nation. Every issue of public life, however minor or insignificant, is given an ethnic undertone by politicians and the civil service, and glaringly publicised in the government-controlled mass media. Totally absent in the national landscape is a statesman like the Father of Merdeka, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister, who is prepared to speak for the nation and the public weal, rather than from a parochial or sectarian perspective.

Even after the closest general election in our history, with the coalition governing the nation not enjoying majority popular vote, and with the next general election only due in five years, politicking of the worst kind continues daily.

NONEThe prime minister is not giving the leadership that he sought from the electorate, and which he received. With a 44-seat majority in the Dewan Rakyat, the BN government has a majority which is the envy of many governing coalitions across the globe. Yet, a sense of paralysis grips the centre.
Bread-and-butter issues which largely featured in the election campaign of four months ago, have still not been addressed at all. Not a day goes by without murders, rapes and armed robberies occurring in our homes and our streets. Rampant crime has undermined law and order.

The economy has been shaken by mounting debt; not just the national debt, but also consumer and corporate debt. Comparisons have already been made to the run-up to our 1997 financial crisis which was principally caused by a proliferation of debt.

Thousands of Malaysian companies and nationals speak with their wallets; they just take their money overseas in billions. Our currency has received a battering in the last month, resulting in speculation that Bank Negara may have to intervene to prevent further depreciation of the ringgit.

Bread-and-butter issues, as important as they are to the average Malaysian, still pale in comparison with the massive increase in ethnic tensions. What is the point of Talent Corporation spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers monies in an endeavour to attract Malaysians to return home when racial polarisation is on the increase in their nation.

Thousands of non-Malays have done brilliantly in businesses, professions and other private sector areas in Malaysia. They have flourished regionally and internationally in every society that values meritocracy. Hence there is a huge pool of talented non-Malays willing to be engaged in the public service.

Yet in their homeland, the civil service, the GLCs (government-linked companies), the universities, the army, the police - indeed senior positions in the entire public sector - are dominated by one race. How does one justify such massive hiring of personnel from one race to manage national institutions where national policies are made in a nation of multiple communities that claims there are no classes of citizenship or nationality.

Grand coalition

It is accordingly critical in the public interest that politicians of all parties cease polarising the nation any further.

All Malaysians must be treated with sensitivity and delicately. Feelings of communities, however weak and influential, must not be hurt. Hate speech must be avoided at all costs. The government must take the lead, after all the whole purpose of electing leaders is for them to lead the nation.

NONEThey must cease immediately playing the racial, religious and ethnic card, and take policy decisions that would promote a plural society. If all these actions can only be taken by a government of national unity, that is, a grand coalition of BN and Pakatan Rakyat parties, the national interest compels such an urgent outcome.

There is a genuine widespread concern that we must all play our part in rolling back the loud public discourse on race and religion. This is an awakening call. Unless remedial measures are taken soon, young Malaysians who have the world at their feet, will desert the nation because they feel they have no place under the Malaysian sun.

They are our future, but they see no future at home. That is the tragedy that must be avoided this 56th Merdeka, and this 50th Malaysia Day.

TOMMY THOMAS is a lawyer specialising in constitutional law.

Friday, August 30, 2013

An open letter to Shuhaimi Baba — Sugasini Kandiah



An open letter to Shuhaimi Baba — Sugasini Kandiah
August 30, 2013
Malay Mail Online


Last night, I went to watch your movie “Tanda Putera” despite the many calls to boycott it. I went to see the movie because 1) You urged Malaysians to see it before criticising and 2) I had hoped to learn something about the May 13, 1969 riots.

After watching the movie, as per your recommendation, I feel I learnt very little, if not nothing, about the May 13 incident. And I believe this is due to two reasons.

One, the film tackles the incident in a manner so shoddy it downright insults the viewer’s intelligence. Second, the director’s poor ability to translate historical interpretation into production leaves the viewer confused as to whether events in the film are fictional or not.

To be quite honest Ms Shuhaimi, you lost me at the very beginning of your film when you chose to show communists killing an Umno election worker and then showed members of the DAP and Gerakan terrorising Malay neighbourhoods in Kuala Lumpur.

You fail to show how these incidents are related and instead seem to have a jolly good time insinuating that the Chinese were primarily responsible for inciting all forms of violence during the period while the Malays are portrayed as simply trying to defend themselves.

In fact, the scene where former Selangor Mentri Besar Harun Idris gathers his men and urges them to drop their weapons and then faints when his mob runs riot is simply pathetic. The urination scene too was totally unnecessary especially since, by your own accord, it did not even take place.

Indeed, it is irritating that many fictional scenarios of Chinese belligerence were conveniently created to justify actual decisions made by the country’s leaders.

Ms Shuhaimi, you deliberately chose to portray the Chinese as disrespectful and violent knowing you could get away with it. All Umno leaders meanwhile are portrayed as holier than thou.

Your depiction of how Tunku Abdul Rahman “happily resigned” when he had in fact been ousted was also disappointing. Surely as a story-teller, you must realise having one-dimensional characters does your movie no justice whatsoever.

That being said, I must commend your feeble attempt to show how friends of different races stood up for each other during the racial riots. I think, however, there was a lot more you could have done with the subject which would have driven Malaysians to the cinema in droves.

I’m not sure I agree with the Penang government’s directive against screening the film. However, after seeing the film myself, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to watch it.

The last historical drama I watched was “Lincoln” which reflected on Abe Lincoln’s handling of the Civil War and perhaps I unfairly had that as a benchmark when I watched your film.

Still, when I think of how this film was showed in Felda areas prior to the general election, I can see why the story had to be distorted even further than what we usually encounter in our history textbooks.
Ms Shuhaimi, Malaysia is a young country that has a long way to go in terms of generating honest discourse on racial issues. You unfortunately have in no way contributed to that.



'Small matter' Kamalanathan gets big drubbing


'Small matter' Kamalanathan gets big drubbing
3:27PM Aug 30, 2013 Malaysiakini  
DAP national vice chairman Kula Segaran has criticised Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan for belittling the victims of SK Seri Pristina incident.

NONEThe Ipoh Barat MP said Kamalanathan (right) calling the incident "a small matter" on Thursday, was a reversal of his earlier position.

"When the issue erupted, Kalamanathan was quick to apologise for the headmaster. So why has he now been so slow on the investigation outcome when public anger has been growing as the incident escalates?" he asked in a press statement.

Kulasegaran also said that both Kalamanathan and his boss Muhyiddin Yassin were not fit to hold office if they did not act on perpetrators of the SK Seri Pristina incident, which had led to some students leaving the school.

"When Parliament meets next month, I shall ask the prime minister to revoke the appointment of Muhyiddin and Kalamanathan as education minister and deputy minister respectively as both are obviously unfit to hold the two positions," he added.

NONEKulasegaran (left) was the second DAP member to chide the Education Ministry for its inaction over the SK Seri Pristina incident.

On Thursday, DAP MP Teresa Kok also took Muhyiddin to task for his silence, which was seen as contributing to "rising racism" at the school.

The Sungai Buloh school came under the spotlight during Ramadan this year, when it was alleged that its non-Muslim students were supposedly forced to eat in the changing room.

Kamalanathan had explained on July 24 after visiting the school that the decision was made much earlier in March because the canteen was being renovated.

But when confronted by angry parents that day claiming that the decision was in fact made at the beginning of the fasting month, he pledged that the ministry would investigate the matter.

‘Kamalanathan unfit to be deputy minister’ | Free Malaysia Today

‘Kamalanathan unfit to be deputy minister’

G Lavendran | August 30, 2013--FMT
DAP MP criticises Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan for saying that the SK Seri Pristana incident was a small problem.
PETALING JAYA: DAP national vice-chairman M Kulasegaran today lashed out at Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan for turning a blind eye on the SK Seri Pristana issue.

Kamalanathan, in a recent statement, said the SK Seri Pristana incident was only a small problem compared with other schools that had done well in integrating its students.

“It has come as a shock to the public. With the incident having escalated into a exodus of non Muslim students from the school, how can he make such remarks to divert public attention from the latest development?” asked the Ipoh Barat MP.

The school came into the limelight when the headmaster, Mohd Nasir Mohd Nor, decided to put the students in a shower room for recess period during the month of Ramadan.

In a recent development, a parent of a pupil from the school was arrested for allegedly intimidating the headmaster.

Other parents have also disclosed that they and their children have been ostracised in the school ever since the canteen fiasco erupted, prompting at least 10 of them to pullout their kids from the school.
Kulasegaran said it was shocking for Kamalanathan to tell the public that it was “a small problem” despite serious developments related to the incident.

“Pupils have subsequently been bullied and intimidated by the headmaster, teachers and classmates, even the whistleblower had received threats.

“A parent was also arrested by the police and pupils were traumatised by police interviews without the presence of parents and he says it is a small problem,” he said.

Kulasegaran said there was no justification for Kamalanathan to make such insensitive remarks even if he wanted to toe the government line so as to be in office.

“If he thought the initial incident of eating meals in the changing room was a small matter, why would he go there immediately to offer an apology over the incident,” he said.

Muhyiddin’s silence

He added that he had critisised the Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin many times over his continued silence and inaction over the school issue.

“Is he powerless, heartless or both?, he asked.

“His continuous failure to respond has made me wonder if it has got to do with the upcoming party elections, since Selangor Umno has taken a tough stand in defending the school,” he added.

Kulasegaran urged Kamalanathan to tell the public if he had given the impression or told his superior and other ministry officials that it was only a small issue.

“I also find it shocking that Kamalanathan claims he is yet to be briefed on the investigation outcome of the numerous complaints lodged against Mohd Nasir.

“Kamalanathan was quick to apologise on Mohd Nasir’s behalf, but why is he slow in revealing the outcome of the investigation when public anger has been growing since the issue escalated?” he asked.

Kulasegaran said he would suggest the removal of both Muhyiddin and Kamalathan from their posts during the next parliament seating.

“I shall ask the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to revoke their appointments as they are both clearly incapable of holding such positions,” he said.

Also read:

‘Muhyiddin’s silence on Seri Pristana is baffling’

Parent arrested over ‘death threat’ to HM

Let all Malaysians rally behind a Malaysian Dream to build a more united, democratic, free, just and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens

--Lim Kit Siang


On Wednesday, Americans commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic “I have a dream” speech made in Washington on August 28, 1963, which evoked the American Dream which envisioned an inclusive nation where justice and freedom are enjoyed equally by her citizens regardless of colour or creed.

Although much progress have been achieved in the past five decades to achieve these goals in the United States, the American Dream is still very much a work-in-progress.

On the occasion of our 56th National Day, it is my hope that all Malaysians can rally behind a Malaysian Dream to build a more united, democratic, free, just and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens so that Malaysia can stand tall in the world.

Is this too much to hope for when in recent months, the language and politics of hatred, suspicion and distrust seemed to have taken dominion of public spaces whether in print or Internet, causing concerned Malaysians to be worried about the nation’s future?


Just as their divisions, setbacks and failures in the past five decades of American nation-building have not been allowed to hold back the onward march of the American Dream, Malaysians must not allow our own divisions, setbacks and failures to obstruct the achievement of the Malaysian Dream – which envisions a plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences as the common grounds binding them as one citizenship exceed the differences that divide them.

I believe the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, are patriotic citizens.

Regardless of our racial, religious, linguistic, cultural and regional differences, we are one Malaysian people who owe undivided loyalty to the country, we share one motherland – Malaysia – and we must come together as one people to develop the greatness of the country which we are capable of, deriving from the best practices, values and traditions from the diverse races, religions and cultures which have made Malaysia their home.

It is only on the back of the Malaysian Dream that Malaysia can achieve a tryst with Destiny to accomplish greatness in various fields of human endeavour and to become one the leading nations of the world.

(56th National Day Message on Friday, 30th August 2013)