AFTER going through the thoughts and feelings of Nuraina Samad in her down-to-earth article, "Whatever happened to friendly Malaysians?" (NST, July 28), I would like to share my view on the issue of common courtesy among fellow Malaysians, especially those behind the wheel.
Our roads, highways and bridges are of international standard and are always full of cars, buses, lorries and motorcycles. Despite this, we cannot be proud of the many road accidents that cause many precious lives to be lost.
For years, the negative attitude and rude habits of Malaysian drivers and road users have been the topic of conversation, with numerous courtesy campaigns and enforcement carried out by the relevant authorities.
Things have not changed much. On the contrary, the situation is getting worse, with road fatalities and cases of road rage and aggressive behaviour on the rise, not to mention the traffic congestion and air pollution that people face daily on the road.
One of the reasons why we are in such a dilemma today is our over-dependence on private vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles, due to the nation's lack of an efficient public transport system, which has resulted in Malaysia having the highest vehicle ownership after the United States.
With a population of 28 million, we have 20 million registered vehicles on the road. And if we are not careful, sooner or later, we will have more vehicles than people. This is something the government and all Malaysians must ponder and find a solution as things are getting out of hand.
All along, we have been facing these negative traits. The only problem is that they have multiplied due to rapid development in the country. In simple words, our inner and spiritual development is not matched by the physical development that has taken place, which is manifested in the many bad habits, social ills and, worse still, crimes.
Today, these negative phenomena are giving the government and people problems. We read daily about negative news happenings, and many, notably women and children, are finding things tough and live in constant fear.
We must quickly readjust and rebalance ourselves in our quest to become a high-income nation by 2020. We must not be blinded by material pursuits and neglect our emotional and spiritual development, which are equally vital and meaningful as human beings.
Why the rush in the name of development and progress, as if there is no tomorrow? Why has our society become so materialistic? Why are our people, especially the younger ones, so money-minded and self-centred?
Why is there an increase in crimes, and why are many of the criminals made up of young people?
Is there anything wrong with the education system? Why are more and more people becoming heartless, and why is public apathy on the rise?
From time to time, it is not uncommon to read how our citizens mistreat animals and even abuse maids.
Well, all these and many more issues need to be looked into.
It is wise and good to remind ourselves that the wonders of science and technology and economic success alone are not enough to build a happy, peaceful and harmonious life.
The nation cannot be truly successful if the people continue to lack civic-mindedness and common courtesy.