Malaysia – our blessed land
First of all, let me extend my warmest greetings to all my fellow Malaysians.
One of the fundamental elements of socio-economic progress and advancement of any nation is the ability of its people to live peacefully in harmony with one another.
Despite our different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds as well as with our diverse cultures, languages, and practices, we, in Malaysia, share similar ideas and a common vision.
This ability to live in harmony and to respect one another in a multiracial and multicultural society is one of the fundamental characteristics of Malaysia as a nation.
It is the application of modernisation (wasatiyah) and toleration which is the key to peace and harmony and it is most certainly the only way to celebrate diversity in Malaysia, respecting the tenets of each other’s religions, cultures, and living at peace with people of different faiths.
American poet and civil rights activist Maya Anglou’s immortal words, “In diversity, there is beauty and there is a strength,” fit well with the cultural diversity of Malaysia.
The diversity that is seen in the Malaysian market is a magnet for investments.
Whoever once said, “We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us” – so we must ensure that race, religion or politics should never define us, because we are one race, one nation, one Malaysia.
We must not forget the tragedy and heartache that was caused by the 13th May 1969, racial riots which occurred where deep-seated racial animosities raised its ugly head – it was the darkest day in our nation’s history.
Blood was shed and many Malaysian brothers and sisters lost their lives in ensuing bloodbath.
We Malaysians must do our part in avoiding racial confrontation and intolerance and must at all times preserve the harmony, stability, and unity in the country and not allow the ghost of 1969 to resurface its ugly head.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once remarked, “We must live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools”.
In May 2018, we underwent a catharsis – “the old order changeth yielding place to new…” Alfred Tennyson. A new dawn that augurs well for the nation.
The election has galvanised Malaysians of all races into working together to revitalised the nation. This unifying flame of national identity must be kept burning strong.
This is after all the essence of Vision 2020.
The new government led by the formidable Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has started work in fulfilling the larger aspirations of the people for an integrated and inclusive nation – the very ideals that Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad himself imbued during his earlier tenure as PM, in all of us through his Vision 2020.
Malaysia is at the dawn of a new beginning – Malaysia Baru.
As Malaysians, we should all be proud of our country which according to AmBank Group Research is projected to record a positive growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 of average 5%.
Also since independence, our economy is ranked 6th in Asia and the 20th in the world.
According to the Minister YB Darrel Leiking of MITI, Malaysia is the 22nd most competitive economy in 2018. The Asian Development Bank indicated that Malaysia’s FDI will likely increase in 2019 as the country remains “very competitive, especially in the exports sector”.
The attractiveness of Malaysia, in particular, Greater KL is borne by the fact that Swedish MNC’s continue to view Malaysia, Greater KL as ideal Asian investment destination.
Also, many Singapore-based companies are eyeing Malaysia for regional expansion.
According to the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr. Liam Fox, both Malaysia and the UK “have always enjoyed a close commercial, political and diplomatic partnership”. He added, “Malaysia is important to us, and our two countries have a long and prosperous history together”.
In recognition of the substantial bilateral trade and investment opportunities that exist, the British Prime Minister in 2016 appointed a Trade Envoy to Malaysia, The Hon. Richard Graham MP.
Malaysia is the United Kingdom’s second largest trading partner within ASEAN, while the UK is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner within the European Union.
Our history and values are so intrinsically intertwined. Economically, culturally and politically, our bilateral relationship has weathered the test of time.
Britain’s fundamentals are strong. According to H.E. Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, “Malaysia has never looked at Britain through the prism of EU” and Vicki went on to say, “make no mistake about Britain’s confidence to make a success of our departure from the European Union (EU)”.
The Rt. Hon. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has recently made history by becoming the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia and now the oldest surviving PM in the world at the ripe old age of 92 years.
Tun Mahathir’s tenure as our 4th Prime Minister was undoubtedly marked by great economic development and success and he is truly the father of modern Malaysia. Tun placed Malaysia in the world map and the world took notice of Malaysia and he was the champion of the third-world.
Tun was the architect and strategist of modern Malaysia’s phenomenal and monumental growth and development over two decades when he was at the helm. As Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir did play a pivotal role in the confident march of our people towards Vision 2020 which was his blueprint for Malaysia’s advance towards fully developed status.
Tun Mahathir’s was a great visionary and truly the father of world-class modern Malaysia.
We Malaysians should be grateful that we live in a country like Malaysia.
It is a middle-income country that has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy.
We have become independent since 61 years ago and the world has acknowledged our success and development.
We should all be thankful for the enormous benefit that we have obtained from this blessed country, and think how all these have come to be possible.
They do not come easily but only through the Government’s efforts – a government chosen and elected by the people through the democratic process.
We are confident that the new government led by our current PM YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir under Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition will transform our country by heaps and bounds and most certainly continue to preserve and protect the rights of all Malaysians.
Sixty one years ago on August 31st, 1957, we achieved independence, and we should reinforce moderation and toleration as then, and should not allow extremist views, racial polarisation, and religious tension to persist.
Our Bapa Malaysia (Father of Malaysia), the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, once said ‘our future depends on how well many different kinds of people and live and work together’.
We hope young and old Malaysians can build Malaysia into a country that lives up to the ideals of our founding fathers by focussing on positive values and uniting factors. We must challenge and oppose vehemently those who spread negative perception and lies about our motherland.
We must promote more positive messages about our nation, encourage patriotism and love for our nation and oppose vehemently extremism and encourage moderation and tolerance. This is the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, this blessed land where we Malaysians should learn to count our Blessings and not our Misfortunes.
Selamat Berjaya Malaysia
God Bless Malaysia!
Datuk SK Lingam
Chairman of Malaysia Link UK
October 2018, London
(The views expounded herein are that of the writer)