THIS IS OUR HOME WE CARE, WE WANT TO MAKE IT BETTER
Speech presented in a forum sponsored by Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia at Harbourview Hotel in Kuching, Sarawak on 14. 3. 2010.
Speakers at the forum were:
Datuk Dr. Jeffery Gapari Kitingan,
Baru Bian, Esq.,
Harris Ibrahim, Esq.,
Voon Lee Shan, Esq.,
Mr. John Cobbold,
Miss Flora peter,
Mr. Jayanath Appudurai.
When God created this planet, Earth, God sent men to this planet. In this part of the world, where our country Malaysia is God sent men of various races. Here we have Chinese, Indians, malays, Kadazans, Dusuns, Dayaks, and others to lived together. Why there are so many races in Malaysia, not one race? Why God made things that way? Of course, there is a reason but our God Almighty knows very well what He wants for us. We are here as creation of God to live together as a family and we need to love each other in whatever situation and differences that may arise, but, the problems that we are facing in these present days are our own creation.
I can say, politicians play a very major role in leading the direction where this country will go and how this country should be governed. Politicians in the world, especially in Malaysia, are the people who can greatly influence the thoughts of the people. There are politicians that took advantage of our situation here for reasons known to themselves who started to tell Malaysians that Chinese and Indians have no place in Malaysia and should be treated as foreigners. This in the past, of course, had created much racial tension. Many Malaysians, especially the Chinese out of fear of mistreatment had migrated to other countries. Some people of other races might have migrated because they also fear that one day the issue of race will explode like May 13, 1969.
We all know under the Federal Constitution, the malays have a very special place in this country and under the Federal Constitution, they enjoyed many privileges. Although the malays enjoy special place and privileges in this country, this does not mean that other races are not given rights at all to pursue their daily lives. So, to other races especially, the Chinese and Indians, we should not say we are born unlucky not to be malays. To these races who are not malays, we have no choice, but, God wanted us born under that race. Of course, if we can have a choice, many may wish to pick the kind of race they wanted.
The issue of race has in the past been exploited by many politicians and it was due to this reasons that many political parties in the country are race based parties. The issue of race is intertwined with religion. Each race based party fought for their own race and with that they fought for their religion. Therefore due to that they only fought to protect the rights of their own race and religion. This is here our problems arise and when each race were too eager to protect own race and the rights of own race and religion, racial tension arose. Therefore, the problem of race is the biggest obstacle that we all need to overcome, if we consider Malaysia our home.
As for myself, although born a Chinese, I am a Malaysian and Malaysia is my home. Although my ancestors were from China, I can’t think of China, but, I can only think of Malaysia and like all Chinese in this country, I have to live and die here. With that, I must think how to make this country better and how to make Malaysia a better home for me and everybody.
We see Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. His ancestors came from China and settled in Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew never thought of going back to China. Lee Kuan Yew may not be a perfect leader, but, he made Singapore proud having a son like him. A small island state was turn by Lee Kuan Yew into a giant business centre in this region. Singapore should belong to the malays because the malays were said the earliest settlers, but, why Lee Kuan Yew could do well for Singapore? With that, other races including the malays, also benefited under Lee Kuan Yew and he is a very respected person in the island for having turned a poor island into an economic power house far surpassed many countries in this region. We must take it as a reality that Malaysia has been far left behind Singapore in terms of prosperity and their dollar is stronger than us two times.
Now, why Lee Kuan Yew could help develop Singapore to what it is today and left many countries in this region far behind? We must understand, Lee Kuan Yew was given equal rights and equal opportunity with other races in the island to help the country in whatever his talent could do.
Now, turn back to Malaysia. We want to make this country better and we care. We are not foreigners as some politicians in UMNO had said, but, sons of the soil of Malaysia. Although the malays have better privileges in Malaysia, I just hope that if we want Malaysia to prosper like Singapore we have to change. We need to tell people in power, especially, UMNO, who rules this country since independence that we need to change and we should not anymore be too protective of one race. What we should do is to work together for a true Bangsa Malaysia. Although we had been differentiated by skin complexion, we are all the same.
We must remember, when God sent us here and although born of different races, God had made us equal and wanted us to be equal. God gave every baby that came to this world irrespective whether he was born a malay, Indian, Chinese, dayaks and so forth, the gift of speech. The baby when born cried in the same language known to all men! The baby did not cry in the Indian language, not also in the malay language and also not in languages of other races! All babies when born have ears, a mouth, two hands, two legs, one head and two eyes and with a body. They were all made equal, but, it is we men that made things unequal and difficult for everybody. As I had said all these things were influenced and shaped by the politicians in the country. To us here and to all countrymen, I hereby call everyone to arise, not anymore be blind followers of politicians.
We should break the race barrier and must truly strive to build a Bangsa Malaysia and only when we recognize the existence of Bangsa Malaysia can we prosper and move forward with no more racial and religious tension.
In fact, the issue of race and religion have been in the past been exploited by these narrow minded politicians, who failed to focus to make this country a better home and a better Malaysia, but, a better own race – “bangsa sendiri”. We don’t want one race trying to destroy another race. Each race should be allowed to grow and to live side by side with each other.
We should not forget what Hitler did in Germany. Many Jews were killed, but, it was the Jews, although their numbers are not many, that became the better scientists in this world.
We had seen that when race and religion had been exploited, these politicians who propagated the supremacy of race, normally took advantage of the situation to enrich themselves and to climb to the higher echelon of the society. To do this, they will then leave many of their own race behind and also will leave other Malaysians at the bottom of the social strata. This then created tension among ourselves. We could see many in UMNO had left UMNO and there were also people in MCA that left MCA for DAP and other political parties, because these political parties put own race above all.
These politicians who propagated supremacy of race also took advantage of the culture of our people and society. It is our Malaysian culture that we seldom wish to pin point mistakes created by our leaders. At the same time, our race culture also was that we need to respect our elders and most of the time we were just blind followers, not knowing what happened and why things was done that way or this way. We just follow until we hit the rock! This is why we could not progress fast.
We also need to be aware that if we allow our nation to have race and religion to shape our destiny, then, we in East Malaysia would be very much in a disadvantaged position. This is because although we, Kadazan-Dusuns and Dayaks can always group ourselves together in own respective race, but, we can’t spread our wings to West Malaysia. We don’t have Kadazan-Dusuns in West Malaysia and Dayaks, except, a for a small number in Johore, we also don’t have dayaks in West Malaysia.
Although the Federal Constitution also protects and gives special privileges to the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, but, when we allow race to take precedence in any decisions affecting our country, I can say the protection in the Federal Constitution is only a show case. It did not help the indigenous people of East Malaysia much because Kadazan-Duzuns and Dayaks in Sabah and Sarawak do not have the numbers. So, the protection is not there and in truth not many Kadazan-Duzuns and Dayaks enjoyed the privileges given under the Federal Constitution.
So, we should not let the issue or race and religion to shape our destiny and our country. Although we are small in numbers, we have many talented people in East Malaysia, but, if we allow race and religion takes precedence, l would regret that many talented people will not be able to take centre stage in many things, thus, depriving the country of good and talented people to help make this country a better home for all. We need more people like Lee Kuan Yew or maybe Datuk Idris Jala or Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez of Air Asia to help shape this country into a true Bangsa Malaysia.
As citizens, we forgot that we should be guided by democratic process founded on the principle of equality, social justice, transparency, good governance, mutual understanding and mutual respect of each other. At the same time, we must while progressing forward, nurture a sense of brotherhood in among each other. We must love each other as brothers and sisters. It is here that we as common people in the society need to play a part. We should not only leave things to politicians alone. We should know what is right or wrong for ourselves and also what we want for our home. We should be brave enough to play our part and we should not blindly be dictated by politicians. We should not be subservient or too obedient to politicians and if they are not good, have no sense of brotherhood, not productive, and could no more help improve our society and homeland, then, we have to exercise our democratic rights to have him leave his seat.
The destiny of this homeland is in our hands, not in the politicians alone. This is our home, we all should care and we all should make it better. The country belongs to the people, not the few politicians in the ruling party in the BN government. Malaysian Government is the Peoples’ Government, not a Barisan Nasional Government. This was a wrong concept that had been instilled by these crooked politicians in the ruling parties to make people subservient to them and to make us forget that it is the people that put them in power and that it is the people that formed the government. So a government chosen by the people is the Peoples’ Government, not a Barisan Nasional Government.
So, countrymen, whenever we are to exercise our democratic rights, please chose a Peoples’ Government – a government that truly takes care of the people and the nation.