Only When We Are Malaysian First Then Can We Build A Future For Our Young And Our Young For The Future.

2011 Merdeka Message By DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 30.8.2011.

We have achieved some economic progress since our beloved first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, thundered the glorious word Merdeka seven times in Stadium Merdeka in 1957. But as much progress as we have made, one cannot help but think of the lost opportunities and the many areas where we have regressed.

The time has come for Malaysians to examine our own shortcomings objectively, abandon failed policies to adopt new ones that allow us to build the future for our young as well as build our young for the future. Much as we can build the necessary physical and digital infrastructure to world-class standards, we must also equip our young with the tools and skill sets to face the challenges of globalization.

We must impress on our young that there is no substitute for competence. Neither is there any alternative to innovation and creativity as the road-map towards high-income status. But first we must be comfortable as Malaysians. There must be a sense of Malaysian identity that what we are is more important than who we are; that the content of our character is more important than the colour of our skin and that how we connect with other Malaysians is more important than our past ancestry.

Independence gave us the power and the freedom to be the masters of our own destiny. It gave us the opportunity to create and shape a National Identity, of what it means to be Malaysian, regardless of ethnic and religious identity. The unique challenges faced by our Founding Fathers, which we still face today, was to show to us what it means to be Malaysian at the same as being a Malaysian Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dayak, Kadazandusun and the many other groups which are represented in our country. In other words, we needed (and still need) to know how to hold on to our important ethnic identities in conjunction with having a strong identification with a National Identity which unifies and bonds us together.

The hard earned freedom to be masters of our own destiny has been abused to create a sense of fear among Malaysians. The politics of fear tells us that somehow, our ethnic identity and rights will be taken away from us if a National Identity that emphasizes freedom, justice and equality were to emerge and take root. Even sadder still, this politics of fear has become common currency since the historic 2008 general elections, promoted by groups such as Perkasa and by irresponsible newspapers such as Utusan Malaysia. The constant identification and emphasis on ‘bogeymen’, be it certain opposition Political Parties, Communists or Christians is a clear demonstration that the goal of 1Malaysia still eludes us. In fact, to many, 1Malaysia sounds too much like an empty slogan devoid of substance.

My hope and prayer for the country is that we can once again find the moral courage and strength of character to chart a course towards the destination of what it means to be Malaysian. Whether it is through common activities such as reaching out to the poor and needy among us, or common causes such as promoting greater environmental awareness, or common concerns such as the education of our children, these expressions of togetherness and solidarity give us hope that we can overcome the initiatives which promote the politics of fear.

To achieve this, however, we require an environment where our basic freedoms are respected and protected. We have lost sight of our basic freedoms, one of the key foundations upon which this country’s Independence was built on and recorded for posterity in our Proclamation of Independence which asserts the safeguarding of the ‘fundamental rights and liberties of the people’ in a ‘sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principle of liberty and justice.’

We saw a demonstration of how the push to protect our freedoms resulted in a clear demonstration of the spontaneous coming together of Malaysians from all ethnic groups and backgrounds during the July 9th, Bersih 2.0 marches in Kuala Lumpur. Here, the assertion of a basic right – the freedom to assemble – which was promised by Tuanku Abdul Rahman during his Merdeka remarks on 31 August 1957, was asserted together with a strong showing of solidarity among Malaysians. This is the kind of Malaysian identity which needs to be inculcated in us, especially among the younger generation.

We must be Malaysian First always and Malays, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban second. Selamat Hari Merdeka to all Malaysians and to all Malaysians seeking our Malaysianness within.

—– Mandarin Translation —

民主行动党秘书长林冠英于2011年8月30日在吉隆坡发表的2011国庆日献词:

唯有当我们首先以“马来西亚人”自居时,我们才能够为年轻一代建构未来、也栽培年轻一代以建构未来。

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自从我国国父兼第一任首相东姑阿都拉曼在1957年,在独立广场高喊7次“默迪卡”象征着我国的独立开始,马来西亚已经取得一定的经济发展。 不过,尽管我们已经进步许多,但却常常不禁令人想起我们所失去的机会,以及我国在许多领域的退步表现。
是时候让马来西亚人客观地重审我们的缺点,接纳新政策、放弃失败的旧政策,以允许我们为年轻一代建构未来,为栽培年轻一代以建构未来。除了建设许多所需的世界级硬体及数码其础设施,我们更应该让年轻人掌握装备及技能,以面对全球化的挑战。

我们更应该以“唯有才干无法被取代”来影响我们的年轻人。我国若要成为高收入经济体,除了革新及创意之外,没有其他方法了。不过,首先我们必需让大家以作为马来西亚人而感到舒服。我们必须认同马来西亚人这个身分,我们是谁并不重要,我们成为怎样的人才重要;我们的肤色并不重要,我们的品格才重要;不是我们的祖辈不重要,而是我们如何让过去与现在、未来联系起来更重要。

独立给我们权力和掌控自己命运的自由。它给我们机会创造和塑造我们自身的国民身分,让不论什么种族、宗教的人找出身为马来西亚人的意义。我们今天还没有解决开国先辈所面对的独特挑战,那就是如何认同自身社群身分如:马来人、华人、印度人、达雅人、卡达山及其它不同社群的同时,找出马来西亚人的身分认同。换句话说,我们需要知道怎样在保留自身族群身分的同时,还要有更强烈的国民身分认同,让我们团结联系起来。

“做自己命运主人”这种自由得来不易,却被滥用来在国民之中制造恐惧。恐惧政治告诉我们,如果我们让注重自由、公义及平等的国民身分突出及生根,我们的族群身分和权利会被夺走。令人更难过的是,这种恐惧政治也已经在2008年历史性的全国大选之后更加普遍,那些鼓吹这种恐惧政治的群体包括土著威权(PERKASA)、不负责任的报章如《马来西亚前锋报》。这些群体不断地将特定对象“妖魔化”,不论是特定在野党、共产党还是基督徒,他们的做法一再说明,我们距离一个马来西亚的目标还很遥远。事实上,对很多人而言,一个马来西亚只是一个空洞的口号,毫无实质意义。

对这个国家,我期望并祈求,国民可以重新找到道德勇气和力量,为“身为马来西亚人的意义”设定一个目标。无论是同过一些共同活动如:接触贫困有需要的一群、还是为共同诉求如推动环保醒觉、或共同所关怀的孩子教育问题,上述活动所带来的不分彼此的集体感及团结精神,能带给我们希望,击败所有鼓吹恐惧政治的动作。

要做到上述种种,我们需要一个基本自由受尊重和保障的环境。我们已经失去我们的基本自由,这正是我国独立的其中一个建国之本,也记载于《独立宣言》中,它强调,在一个“建基于自由及公义原则、民主及独立的主权国家里”保障“人民的基本权利和自由”。

我们在7月9日净选盟2.0的吉隆坡大集会中亲眼看到,为了保障我们的自由,全国各地各种族、各行各业的马来西亚人自动自发地参与集会。这里所主张的基本权利:集会自由(这是国父东姑阿都拉曼在1957年8月31日的独立演讲中所保证的),也与马来西亚人民强烈的团结精神相互联系起来。这种马来西亚人的身分,正是我们需要向自己、特别是年轻人身上极力灌输的。

我们必须首先以马来西亚人自居,其次才是马来人、华人、印度人、卡达山及伊班人。祝全体马来西亚人、以及还在寻找马来西亚人身分认同的人们:国庆日快乐。

林冠英

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