THE Malaysia today is a Malaysia that we have helped to change and mould. Let’s give it a chance for all Malaysians, and Sarawakians and Sabahans in particular.
Many amongst us were not there or were too young to appreciate the political significance at the formation of Malaysia. Our experience has been to live through the same federal Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition administrative regime, which had dictated the country’s political and socioeconomic being.
Malaysia turned over a new leaf on May 9 this year, as East and Peninsular Malaysians arose boldly to elect a new federal administration.
This Malaysia Day is therefore meaningful to all Malaysians as we celebrate our liberation from the BN’s political stranglehold, freeing ourselves from the regime which had ruled Malaysia for the last 55 years.
The change was achieved because the majority of Malaysians believed that we need and can rebuild Malaysia to make this Mother Country greater, in order that we can fulfil the hopes that all Malaysians were promised.
Having contributed to the amazing feat to peacefully and democratically elect a new federal administration, most Malaysians understand that the challenges have just begun. It is common knowledge that the country is laden with enormous debts and the administrative institutions were severely crippled, and that it will take all Malaysians to continue to work hard and contribute to the healing and rebuilding of the nation.
I commend the new federal administration for their hard work in the last four months. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir and his cabinet members did not boast about the positive transformation they have brought about and they do not take the country’s ruinous state as an excuse, but merely to underscore the hindrance and difficulties to overcome in order that a greater Malaysia will be attained for the benefit of all Malaysians.
With the promise to return Sarawak and Sabah to the status accorded in the Malaysia Agreement in 1963, all Sarawakians and Sabahans will only benefit from the devolution of autonomous powers to us if our administrations are accountable, transparent, and uphold all principles of good governance. The enjoyment of rights and privileges entail responsibilities.
So, while it is purposeful for Sarawakians to celebrate this year’s Malaysia Day because we have contributed to the political change in the federal administration, Malaysia is still a work-in-progress to achieve greatness. We need to continuously contribute our efforts towards the nation’s rebuilding and at the same time, we must work hard to bring about institutional reforms in Sarawak to ensure that the fruits of autonomous powers we will derive shall be shared and enjoyed by all Sarawakians equitably.
See Chee How is the state assemblyman for Batu Lintang and vice chairman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak.