Renaissance of a Bangsa Malaysia

By Daniel Lim

The outcome of the by-elections on Tuesday not only reaffirmed that the people’s trust and confidence in Pakatan Rakyat are firm and unwavering, but also the Malaysian people’s demand for change to a just, harmonious, prosperous and united Malaysia; to build a Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian race).

The verdict went beyond the people’s acceptance of the opposition party Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda enunciated under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim, especially to Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, that the people of Bukit Gantang has given him a resounding mandate to reclaim his legitimacy as the Mentri Besar of Perak.

The various ethnic groups in Malaysia are responding to Pakatan Rakyat’s message to forge a united and progressive Malaysia. The people are demanding for a national leadership to fulfil the principles of liberty, dignity, justice, happiness and welfare as promised by Tunku Abdul Rahman under the proclamation of Merdeka 51 years ago. The Tunku pledged that “… with God's blessing shall be forever 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”.

The aspirations of the proclamation are founded upon these principles for the achievement of a united Bangsa Malaysia to the people together with great sense of pride and optimism.

Malaysia is not only a land of opportunity abundant in natural resources but also a country of various ethnic groups with a rich and diverse culture, religion, history and language. To fulfil the ‘welfare and happiness’ of the people in a united Malaysia, not only should the ideals of liberty, justice, democracy and equality be aspired to, the implementation of fair, progressive and effective policies by the government should be strived for.

In his book “The Asian Renaissance” Anwar articulated that “… multiculturality can only grow in an open civic culture where the political environment enables full participation and open interaction of all the diverse elements of society. No particular group or sector must be made to feel alienated, deprived or suppressed. We must be open towards institutions, practices and standards which have proven to be efficacious in preventing injustice towards individuals and minorities.”

The multi-ethnic composition of Malaysia can in fact enhance the diversity of origins, beliefs and backgrounds to be a source of strength rather than divisiveness and weakness – if only there is a strong national leadership to bring the people of Malaysia together as true equals. But sadly, under the Barisan Nasional government, this leadership is lacking because the ruling coalition's race-based policy favours one group and is biased against other groups.

The fundamental principles of human rights and dignity have also been violated under the draconian Internal Security Act which detain innocent people indefinitely without trial. The ‘divide and rule’ policy perpetrated by Barisan Nasional continue to cause a divisive rather than a unifying effect.

As contended by Anwar and more broadly by Pakatan Rakyat, the NEP of Barisan Nasional has been abused by the cronies and well-connected of the ruling elites in business to amass wealth for themselves rather than helping the most in need especially the poor Malays at large.

Pakatan Rakyat is committed to implement a broader Malaysian Economic Agenda (MEA) to develop the nation and to reduce race-based affirmative action in order to create a prosperous, just and harmonious society irrespective of ethnicity, religion and culture.

Under the MEA, the policies are implemented at the Pakatan Rakyat controlled-states level to ensure a stronger and more vibrant economy in Malaysia and to promote greater accountability and transparency in business dealings.

The MEA is the blueprint of the Pakatan Rakyat policy, agreed and accepted by the leaders of the 3 components – PKR, PAS and DAP. Pakatan Rakyat is committed to fulfil the aspirations of Merdeka to build a united Bangsa Malaysia.

Prior to the 2008 General Election, some civic-minded Malaysians and concerned groups produced a document entitled "The People's Declaration" which reflects the people's voice, aspirations and hopes for Malaysia and its future generations. The document was distributed to all political parties contesting the elections. PKR, PAS and DAP affirmed their support for The People’s Declaration because the ideals documented in the declaration were consistent with the Manifesto they brought to the 2008 election, with primary focus on national unity which is a prerequisite to build a Bangsa Malaysia.

At ceramahs during the by-election campaigns, Anwar Ibrahim told the people, “I am a Malay and a Muslim and I will defend my rights and also that of other races.”

Anwar’s commitment to a fair, progressive, prosperous and united Malaysia is both passionate and heartfelt with immense intellectual energy and moral passion. Only a Pakatan Rakyat national government under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim can bring about sweeping reform that is effective to meet the plain truth in the sum of all Malaysian people as true equals – to achieve a Bangsa Malaysia.
– Daniel Lim