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LETTER | My dear homeland, Malaysia

LETTER | Malaysia is 65 years old, a senior citizen in terms of our life span, but the politicians’ bickering on racial and religious lines has stagnated harmony and progress.

It is an undisputed fact that all three main races - Malays, Chinese and Indians - collectively negotiated and succeeded in obtaining independence from the British in 1957. The birth of the then Malaya was based on the Malayan Constitution, which enshrines the rights and duties of all Malayan citizens.

The subsequent formation of Malaysia was based on another similar constitution, which outlines the constitutional rights and obligations of all Malaysians.

The year 1970 witnessed the birth of the NEP, an initiative to bridge the disparity of the economic well-being of the disadvantaged poorer Malays with the other ethnic groups. The original NEP had a definite life span but was extended subsequently.

To put things in proper perspective, the main woes of this country lie in politicians’ constant narratives on race and religion. They keep on recycling this narrative to create fear and distrust amongst the Malays, the rural Malays in particular.

Some urban Malays also subscribe to this narrative. On the other hand, most non-Malays - the Chinese, Indians, and “others” - have no political ambition. All non-Malays just wish to live in harmony, earn a decent living and have decent education for their children.

The few non-Malays who are politically active are genuinely interested in contributing their expertise in nation-building in a more direct manner.

Politicians who are fond of using the racial and religious narrative to instil fear amongst the Malays, especially the rural ones, keep on accusing the non-Malays of becoming filthy rich while they remain poor and disadvantaged.

It is true that many non-Malays have become economically comfortable but their journey towards this comfort has been a couple of decades of hard toil. Thousands of these can be found toiling day and night in the thousands of SMEs spread across the nation.

Ensuring the survival of these SMEs requires sleepless nights of planning and strategies. In short, these successful entrepreneurs deserve their economic status. It was all honest work.

Another great belief amongst Chinese and Indians is having good and sound education for their children. Many of us start to plan for our children’s education soon after they are born as we are fully aware that with a sound education, we will not be trapped in the vicious poverty cycle.

We had to plan early as we are also aware that education funding is an expensive affair as we do not enjoy the privilege. Again, this education provision requires parents to work hard and earn sufficiently for its realisation.

Almost all the non-Malays who are still alive were born here. We have contributed our services in nation-building, we have endured hardship together and most importantly, we have been law-abiding and love this country in every sense.

We have accepted the NEP and the various privileges accorded to bumiputera in good faith. Despite these, racial slurs and distrust are not only prevalent but echoed time and again but warped-minded politicians, just for the sake of garnering support and popularity.

These politicians tend to forget that it is the year 2022 now and the rakyat is much better educated and better informed. In other words, they are belittling our intelligence.

In conclusion, I would like to urge all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, to dispel all unnecessary suspicion and fear amongst us, and unite towards a more progressive Malaysia.

We have had a deeply divided Malaysia for 65 years – thanks to selfish politicians.

All we want is a harmonious nation, with everyone’s eyes trained in the same direction and objective – a Malaysia that is peaceful and progressive, that we are proud of.

Let us vote wisely and pray for the best. Let there be light.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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