Children celebrating at a National Day event. PIC BY ZULFADHLI ZULKIFLI

ENJOY MEANINGFUL FREEDOM

CELEBRATING Merdeka is remembering our past and appreciating our freedom.

After 62 years, how have we matured? Are we giving, as well as receiving, the freedom we deserve? We demand freedom, but we are often selfish, narrow-minded and bigoted when similar rights are demanded by others.

Celebrating our independence is not about flying the national flag or donning traditional clothes and shouting slogans.

It is respecting the freedom of individuals and the freedom of others.

Freedom in a multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious Malaysia requires tolerance and mutual respect.

Let’s not get carried away by the shallow definition set by individuals with twisted minds and vested interests.

Freedom that is enjoyed in its fundamental nature and reflected in all aspects comes with limitations so that it is not abused. Happy Merdeka, Malaysia.

S.R.

Tampin, Negri Sembilan

DON’T TAKE UNITY FOR GRANTED

WE have achieved so much as a nation in 62 years. Watching a video of the 60s era of Kuala Lumpur, I felt a sense of pride.

Toiling together as a diverse family, we have achieved recognition as a regional socio-economic powerhouse. Kudos to our forefathers who laid a strong foundation.

We have a responsibility to protect and strengthen it so that future generations can carry on. Malaysia’s success story is the result of our willingness to co-exist peacefully, guided by the Rukun Negara and the Constitution.

There was only one black moment in history: the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

After the 14th General Election, our political landscape has changed. Some politicians are trying to stir unrest. It is scary to read insensitive comments on social media.

I fear Malaysians may be taking our valuable assets — political stability, peace and harmony — for granted. We must act to safeguard unity. The government must enact laws to criminalise hate speech.

Leadership cannot be judged on infrastructure development alone. It must be rated on how successful racial integration is. Happy National Day, Malaysia.

DARSHAN SINGH DHILLON
Kuala Lumpur

LET’S STRENGTHEN SOLIDARITY

THIS year’s Merdeka theme is “Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih”, which stresses the importance of unity and patriotism for shared prosperity and well-being of the people.

It is the theme of New Malaysia.

There is, however, one flaw: the desire of some politicians to sow hatred among ethnic groups in the name of identity.

There appears to be a black-and-white discourse separating Muslims and non-Muslims. Exaggerating differences is the focus.


A galore of flags. PIC BY KHAIRUNISAH LOKMAN

Malaysians must band together to stop internal forces from inciting hate among us. I have seen social solidarity when a Malay man assisted a Christian elder to church, or Christians and Hindus reaching out to help needy Malays.

My Muslim and Hindu colleagues have helped me at work. I’m sure there are many more stories of solidarity.

These gestures can bring Malaysians together. Solidarity encourages dialogue among the communities.

Let’s strengthen social solidarity. It is the foundation that can prepare Malaysia for challenging times.

RONALD BENJAMIN

Secretary, Association for Community
and Dialogue

HAVE RESPECT FOR ALL

RECENTLY, a politician threw a phrase that showed his lack of social awareness and political sensitivity.

Politicians should stop belittling people in public, especially those who do not agree with their policies. Freedom of expression is a human right as enshrined under Article 10 of the Constitution.

Politicians should stop name-calling. They must respect people’s rights, if they want to earn the respect of the voters.

Respect begets respect. After 62 years, Malaysians should be respectful of one another.

Politicians should not fall prey to Groucho Marx’s “... politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”.

PARVEEN KAUR HARNAM

Member, KL Bar

A MEANINGFUL MERDEKA

TODAY we celebrate our 62nd National Day. Let’s make it meaningful.

It should bring us closer as we march towards a developed Malaysia in 2025.

The road to 2025 will be paved with uncertainties, but we must follow through as a united band.

We must realise that the way forward has taken a reality of its own, which can be understood in several ways.

One is the Rashomon effect made famous by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. It means there is no objective truth in the real world. What we are left with is our own perception of truth or reality.

Another is by cartoonist Datuk Mohamed Nor Khaled, or Lat. Through his cartoon series Lat, the Kampung Boy and Town Boy, we are introduced to the spirit of Malaysians, how they participated in nation-building over the years through actions and gestures.

Browsing through Lat’s cartoons, one is filled with a deep sense of purpose and commitment to see Malaysia as a developed nation.

Malaysia’s nation-building must begin with making the people safe and comfortable with their wellbeing protected by the rule of law. The government must ensure that policies assist in the betterment of the nation.

As a mature 62-year-old nation, we should embrace the differences among us. We must be willing to accept the multiple realities in our midst. Selamat Hari Merdeka.

DR AZHARI-KARIM

Kuala Lumpur