Malaysia is mine and I am hers

Posted on September 16, 2019

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As is a routine for me, I sent out my usual Malaysia Day greetings to all those on my Whatsapp broadcast list and into groups I belong to. A friend in a group responded by saying that he is not in the mood to wish anyone Happy Malaysia today, not for lack of patriotism, but that he does not feel any happiness today. He is one unhappy Malaysian and he is probably not alone in feeling unhappy this Malaysia Day and understandably so.

These past few months, we have been bombarded with gutter politics, people telling some of us citizens that we are “guests” in this country, the Jawi-Khat issue and the boycott of non-Muslim products and services. To make matters worse, the new Pakatan Harapan government seems hapless and devoid of ideas to deal with some of these issues. Whatever little remnant of euphoria from the change of government last year was blown away and Malaysia Baru is just pipedream to many.

To say that I am not disheartened by these developments would be dishonest, but I want to rise above all these negative polemics and declare that Malaysia is my country and nobody, absolutely no one, can tell me or my fellow citizens otherwise. This country belongs to me and not to politicians or religious leaders who try to define this country or who a Malaysian is by their own narrow and often bigoted lenses. On this Malaysia Day, I want to reclaim Malaysia as my own and declare that I am hers.

My rights as a Malaysian is defined under the Federal Constitution – equal before the law and entitled to protection under the law, accorded the same fundamental liberties as any Malaysian. Anybody can exercise their rights to think and say otherwise but nothing will change the fact that the Federal Constitution guarantees my rights as a Malaysian.

My identity as a Malaysian is forged through my experiences of interacting with other Malaysians in my school, in my community and in my workplace. I have learnt to appreciate the different cultures, cuisines and faith of my fellow Malaysians and I am the richer for it. I appreciate the ethnic and religious values that my ancestors brought with them when they travelled to this fair land decades ago, but I am a Malaysian first because I embrace all the diverse cultures and values of the people that make up Malaysia. It is providence that I am born in this country, that I can raise a family here, work here and contribute to Malaysia in my own small way.

On this Malaysia Day, I want to reclaim this country for myself and not surrender this country to politicians and bigots who only want to serve their narrow and selfish agendas. They cannot dictate to me my place, but I will constantly remind them of theirs. They are to serve us, the Rakyat, and not only themselves or a segment of the citizenry. They cannot discriminate against any of my fellow Malaysians on account of their ethnicity, religious faith & beliefs, social standing or what they do behind closed doors. Together with other Malaysians, I will stand up against these bullies.

Yes, I am not ashamed to be identified as a Malaysian. Wherever I travel to in this world, I will proudly declare that I am a Malaysian and boast of the richness of our culture that through our history and geography, we are the lucky recipient of migrants that represent some of the world’s great civilisations and as a result, we are unique in our values, culture, cuisines and languages. Malaysia is mine and I am hers, don’t you try to tell me otherwise.

Happy 56th Birthday to Malaysia, Negaraku yang ku sayangi!