COMMENT | Will the next 60 years see more of the same disturbing scenarios for Malaysia or will there be change that will see the nation grow without fear or favour and attain the Merdeka Dream?
The ancient Chinese and Indians believe that human life goes in 60-year cycles. Will life begin at 60 for Malaysia or see her regress under the yoke of another foreign power - or even one home-grown one? Will she continue to see hordes of sons and daughters of the nation desert her for other lands? Or will she see them labour to free her from the besetting evils?
When the country achieved her independence six decades ago, it ushered in the hopes of the people that a new nation under self-rule would be a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. It would be a free nation.
The late Merdeka prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had raised the hopes of the nation and exhorted everybody to play their parts in building the fledgling nation. But he died disappointed.
The country is not short on diagnosis.
Over the years, many have written and spoken on what has gone wrong in the country. In fairness, the country has made enormous progress and I marvel at the development that I witness in the country, especially in the major cities. Still, progress is selective and pockets of poverty exist in rural and urban areas, and it is a symptom of the malaise.
Many credit former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the country's big-picture development. I give credit to the many enterprising Chinese entrepreneurs and foreign companies, the traditional backbone of the national economy. Today the nation is not touting her 'past economic miracle' but concern for the state of the nation.
In a Malaysiakini report, Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizziddin Shah cited the 'Four Tun Razak Disappointments' as scenarios that ran counter to the vision of the late leader.
The loss of unity due to the divisive activities of political parties, the failure of the education system to foster racial interaction, the abuses in the implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the many top-level cases of corruption and loss of national integrity were the described scenarios...