A WONDERFUL thought was voiced by 1Malaysia Foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. Malaysia Day, according to him, should be declared as “Unity Day”. For, while four separate territories had come together to form a nation on that fateful day 51 years ago, only three remain. That one had left after just two years is a clear indication of how initially fragile the federation was. However, the three that stayed the course must surely have done so because it was mutually beneficial, a fact manifested in the country’s rapid growth. Today, Malaysia is on track to join the ranks of First World countries in just six years, a feat not easily achievable. When contrasted with countries that had gained Independence at about the same time, this epitome of diversity has proven that unity is possible and extremely beneficial. Differences have not been a factor of disruption. Rather, they have contributed to Malaysia’s unique mosaic of harmony, stability and prosperity; its very strength.
Recently, some voices of dissent have dared speak of secession, but these are the lone wolves howling up the wrong tree. For, to secede is to succumb to the threats that had forced the accord in the first place, when there is no mistaking the advantage that had allowed Malaysia the pleasure of non-alignment, neutrality and ongoing Independence. In this stance, patriotism is natural, pride in being Malaysian is natural and being united in the pursuit of nationhood — 1Malaysia — is natural. Plurality, the essence of the nation’s being, has been the cornerstone of democracy and democratic freedoms, of the ever-increasing parameters of expressions that have, on the one hand, spoken loudly as champions of unity and, on the other, the rabble-rousers, who are nothing but a marginalised group of rebels without a cause. To believe that the results of the 12th and 13th General Elections were indicative of a serious fracture is to be severely mistaken. GE13 clearly testified to Sabah and Sarawak’s unassailable intention to stay and maintain the integrity of the federation.The prime minister, in his Malaysia Day message, talked of strengthening ties among the people as a continuous process, one that would result in an impregnable unity among the states, hence, the people. That should be the aspiration of every single rakyat, but why are Malaysians not yet able to take unity for granted? Maybe, if at all, the problem that so spooks Malaysians is a true internalisation of the meaning of diversity, a positive trait that allows fellow citizens to trade differences, knowing always that it will be constructively received. For, it is divine intention that differences be made an instrument of learning and not division. Malaysia is, therefore, blessed, where progress is characterised by the unerring unity born of understanding. To view the present as achieved by silencing the lambs is a spurious notion. Malaysian unity is actually the product of a collective culture of peaceful coexistence. It cannot, then, be anything but durable. NST EDITORIAL 17 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 8:07 AM