‘Maju’ together for true Merdeka

From ground up: Only a few Malayans had to take arms in the nation’s struggle for freedom, like these local women who joined the Malayan Home Guard troops during the height of the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s. – National Archive

YESTERDAY I read a heart-wrenching piece by one of our towering Malays in academia, Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi, entitled “A Meaningless Merdeka”, where he laments on the sliding down state of the nation and our failing society. His utter despondency on the futility of trying to save our beloved Malaysia in a climate where in his words, “”peddler of religious capitalism comes to this country blaring insults… and ministers have dinners with him”” and ““Old Malaysia has just been given a new lease of life by a heart bypass””, seem like the norm today among the real thinking-class of Malaysia. His article hit every point like a nail-gun to the head.

Tajuddin was scathing and uncompromising in his words. I quote – “Malaysia is on a certain road of destruction…” and he continues with this damning pronouncement – ” I can definitely say that Malaysia is a failure”.

If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that the failure that is Malaysia is ours. You and me. Not someone else’s. We collectively failed. We did not do enough, and we did not do it early enough to right the wrongs. We did not do say no and stop when we should have.

We cannot blame politicians for being politicians. We cannot blame religious charlatans for being charlatans. We cannot blame opportunists and extremists to do what they do. They will do what they do because we allow them to and today we reap what we sow.

The fact is Malaysians have had it good. We got our Independence when the British Empire was in decline, washed up after two world wars and really wanted out. Even when we fought the communists the British were still here helping us along the way. In no way does that diminish the contributions of our heroes but we, as a society, never needed to see the prolonged cruelty, bloodshed and loss of a war for independence. Indonesia did. India did, a war of attrition like no other. We just did not.

We let others do the “fighting” for us and they managed to get it as best they could, and we continue to make a living from this natural paradise called Malaysia. We compromise our ideals because “let’’s not make waves and hurt our rice-bowl”. Well, more and more of our rice bowl is being taken away and more and more of our opportunity and dignity are being crushed because we didn’t want to stand and be counted for what is right. Lo and behold, those that we left to do the fighting for us are the ones that seem to be taking them away and giving them to those who are making the most noise. Am I right or am I right?

Because we are selfish. We just care about what happens to us and not to those around us. We don’’t have the tradition of sacrificing for the good of society so that the next generation can have a better life or building a better society because we never needed to really fight for it.
Ours is – let me take care of me and mine, and then we blame others for the loss that we must face. Ladies and gentlemen, human beings are inherently selfish if you allow them to be.

Collective responsibility: We need to sacrifice for the good of society so that the next generation can have a better life.Collective responsibility: We need to sacrifice for the good of society so that the next generation can have a better life.

The blacks in America had to adopt Ghandian civil disobedience, march together with liberal whites for years and years less than 50 years ago just so they can vote, go to schools and universities together. They were beaten, some to their deaths. Their leaders were shot and killed.
What have Malaysians done to achieve equality in the last 60 years? Really, what? What have we done? I tell you what, we worked and sent our children away and abandoned the only place we know as our homes. We abandoned our less fortunate friends and families, that is what we did.
We complained at home and we kept quiet outside of our home. We allow the violence that was May 13 to shut all of us up and every truth was swept under the carpet. And we wonder why we are today, instead of living in a more equitable society, worse off and less equal. While the politicians live in luxury, and the religious charlatans and extremists roam free. Tepuk dada tanyalah selera.

This Merdeka, one year past the euphoria of May 9, again I say, I am convinced more than ever, that looking at politicians will not be the answer to the salvation of this nation. I believe the salvation for Malaysia will come from a class of citizens who, despite the prejudiced environment and the institutionalised discrimination we must live in, see the world for what it could be rather than what it is now.

These are the people who have decided that they are going to make the necessary changes to obliterate these divisions in their private and public lives. These people are the moderates, the liberals and the progressive thinking individuals, cutting across all racial and religious lines.

If you are one of these individuals then MAJU (Malaysian Action, Justice and Unity Foundation) is where we will organise and change Malaysia. Imagine a million such people under a wide tent, literally putting their names behind the movement. Imagine the resources at our disposal and the decibels of our collective voice under this one banner. We can change Malaysia.

This is how we change our society. We cannot wait for others to agree with us. We cannot expect politicians and elected officials to lead us. We must be the ones to take the initiative and mobilise and show a different narrative for this nation.

We must show the narrative of what it means to live in a society where freedom of religion is real, not where you say there is freedom and yet you stop others from exercising theirs. A narrative where Islam is kind and compassionate, and not dogmatic and judgmental. We must show how we can build a science-centric society that will take Malaysia to the next level.

We must change draconian and cruel laws. We must have laws that protect the weak and the marginalised instead of continually having our weakest sacrificed at the altar of commercial interests. We must make our society fair and equitable for all without regard for race or religion. That is the beauty of democracy. It is meant to perfect a better union. Do not wait until democracy is usurped and theocracy reigns in Malaysia.

It is imperative that progressives, moderates and liberals of Malaysia organise. We must be bold in our vision but we must conduct activism within the limits of what the law provides; and that is what standing on a platform together as citizens afford us.

We intend to change how civil liberties and humanitarian concerns are addressed, not on piece-meal basis but over an encompassing agenda. To do that we need the weight of numbers of our citizens behind us. You need to stand and be counted. You can no longer be anonymous. We must have the courage of our convictions. And with that we can even change the face of politics and political discourse in Malaysia. Time is not on our side. We must have a sense of urgency. Come with me and let’s build a progressive tent no one could ever dream of in Malaysia. Let us MAJU together and truly MERDEKA.

The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sunday Star.

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Siti Kasim

Siti Kasim

  • sunday@thestar.com.my


Content retrieved from: https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/siti-lights/2019/09/01/039maju039-together-for-true-merdeka.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Dorairaj nadason

    Pls set up roadshows. Signing up would be a lot easier.

    1. Mr 007

      Dear Dorairaj, yes its coming. The first one will be in soon. Wait for the announcement. We are working on it now.

  2. Hean-Loong Ong

    The day the country can move forward is when all religious institutions be kept private and no laws in the country to accommodate them. People should be free to think and ask.

  3. Isma

    I suggest that our leaders put together members of the education group, industry group, relevant ministry people and all the data of our national education syllabus, vernacular and international school syllabus, employer assessments of graduates from all education streams and syllabus, industry manpower and education requirements, education policy priorities and focus areas and whatever other information (including from our neighbours in ASEAN) is relevant. The idea is to discuss based on data, without excessive emotions, where we are, where we want to be and what we need to do to get there, no guesswork. In this way, I suggest the minor role of things like black shoes, khat and what not, can be seen more clearly in the important work that we need to do. Overall, also the difference between Malaya and Malaysia must be emphasised!

    1. Mr 007

      Thank u for your points. We are working towards that. This will be a long road

  4. Samsudin Ahmad

    Like it or not, without political will, we will be forever marginalised. Not because we are lacking in numbers but we are poor at MARKETING. Our whispers remain unheard. It forms only discontent background noises. What it needs is prime exposure. Rope in Nurul Izzah? Ask Khairy? Recruit like minded politicians. Politicians are like that, they only champion our cause knowing they are well supported. MAJU needs to be a strong political lobbyist. Being outside the game, will be disadvantageous.

  5. Isma

    I agree to make changes happen our voices must be heard. Perhaps it might take a bit of time to establish a channel for this group’s voice but I think it’s best to reach the ear of the decision maker, Tun M himself perhaps, rather than through other politicians no matter how well spoken they might be.

  6. Phek Bok jee

    I am 65 years old housewife. I have 3 kids. Two working in Singapore and one in New Zealand. The two in Singapore already a PR in Singapore. They are holding professional job and now thinking of applying for a Citizenship in Singapore. ( I felt sad initially). My younger daughter is a veterinarian . Now, she decided to stay back in New Zealand and presently not intend to come back to Malaysia .
    I felt lost and get very angry with some of the politicians in Malaysia. They talk nonsense and scaring the young to migrate from their mother country!

    1. Isma

      I agree some of our politicians talk nonsense and too many don’t say enough. I think Tun M should just put his foot down, declare that out country Malaysia was formed from different races and not from any single, so called dominant group, when Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak agreed to merge though Singapore was later forced out. The constitution of Malaysia has to take into account of the aspirations of the original founding members. Tun must fearlessly declare that Malaysia has had enough of the toxic race and religion agenda and will enforce the original principles of the new nation of Malaysia when it was formed. Then Tun can fade away with dignity since his time is indeed near. Perhaps then also, all the bright Malaysians overseas would return.

    2. Mr 007

      Dear Phek Bok Jee,

      you are not alone. I am malay and its the same here. that is the reason we started this foundation which hopefully will be a movement to make change. lets make a difference. anyway next week we should come out with some new announcements activities wise. will advise everyone as soon. cheer up. It is our country together.

      Happy Malaysia Day.

  7. Isma

    My apologies for the double posting. Somehow I got confused when posting it the first time. Now I don’t know how to delete the second posting.

  8. Mr 007

    Dear Fellow Malaysians,

    Register as MAJU Supporter. stand and be counted with us. Join us now with hundreds of others already. together with the numbers, no longer anonymous, we will be a force no one can ignore. please come into the MAJU blog post exclusive for supporters and comment there. This will be a movement – every activity is means to an end.

    Thank You


    My full support for the foundation. Malaysia is currently in a rut of race and religious problems. We need to get out of that to move forward and up.

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