LETTER | If you are a Malaysian ‘baby boomer’ and you do not know the song “Malaysia Baru”, I take it that you did not have a radio at home then or I would assume that you are quite close to not being a true Malaysian. The song was composed by the late Kassim Masdor, remembered for his creative versatility and prolific music output in the early 60’s and the lyrics by the late Omar Rojik.
The lyrics begin with how meaningless life is if there is no love for the country and of course, women. The love for both creates a life of perfection. The newly formed Malaysia was asked not to fail to fulfil obligations and be forgetful because time will not wait for us. The song embraces the spirit of unity and is very meaningful for a newly independent nation.
Many would agree that on May 9, 2018, we experienced a new Malaysia or “Malaysia Baru”. However, some would not.
On the very first day of the Parliament sitting, there was a walkout by the opposition (the ex-ruling party) over a trivial matter. We have to remember that members of Parliament (MP) are elected not to eject themselves from Parliament sittings or to throw a tantrum over trivial and administrative matters.
We are blessed because we have a Yang di-Pertuan Agong who managed to defuse tensions on the very next day when he jokingly reminded MPs not to “run away” from Parliament sittings.
Then, there was a small group aligned to the opposition, attempting to march to Parliament to protest alleged attempts to undermine the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's power and the position of Islam and bumiputera rights in the country.
In a stand-off with the police, they demanded to know why they were not allowed to march to Parliament. According to city police chief, the organisers failed to give notice to the police regarding the assembly.
It was not too long ago that the ex-leader of the opposition urged youths not to take to the streets in protest as it was not part of Malaysian culture. He said, "If you think we are doing something wrong, help us rectify the problem. Lecture us but do it with good intention. The rule of law must be upheld and Malaysia's sovereignty must not be overridden by international laws”.
This small group may not have been aware of the urging by the ex-leader and also the need to uphold the rule of law. If only they took heed, they should help rectify the perceived issues and lecture the new government with good intentions. I would strongly urge the new opposition leader to issue a stern reminder to this small group in the spirit of Malaysia Baru.
Next, there was a newly appointed minister who was saddened by the insults on social media of a Hindu scholar who accompanied him to Parliament. The scholar is respected for his insights and had dedicated a big part of his life to propagating world peace and communal harmony. The minister thought it would be most appropriate for him to grace the swearing-in ceremony.
I respect and understand the minister’s feelings but we must accept that there are rules and regulations that we must adhere to. In Parliament, there is a dress code that we must follow and having been there before - under the previous administration - one would have thought that he would abide by House rules.
A more serious issue here is security in the august House. How is it possible that the invitee could have been allowed in when the dress code was not adhered to?
Given the above, we need to move forward towards a new and better Malaysia.
An excellent example was shown by the new Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan. At a “Majlis Mesra Rakyat 2018” at Bakti, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur on July 20, she was the guest of honour. She arrived before 8 pm when the function was supposed to start and had to wait for other VIP guests.
Since it is a New Malaysia, the new song should include lyrics that are motivational, showing respect for one another, calling for high standards of morality or virtues and for the pursuit of a better Malaysia without forgetting the need to embrace the spirit of unity.
I would suggest for the national unity and social well-being minister to collaborate with the minister of communications and multimedia to identify someone of the late Kassim Masdor’s calibre to compose the new song.
We had Vision 2020 cast in a document and I would like to propose that we have our new vision in a Malaysia Baru song. If anything, it is for all of posterity, beginning with this New Malaysia.
What say you …
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