What was eye-catching of late was Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s launching of his “Malaysia Madani” slogan [to build a nation that is advanced in thought, spirituality and community development].
This is something that is sorely needed, especially in Malaysia. Yes, we have heard all the various slogans from previous prime ministers, so we could say this is just another slogan.
True, it may be just another slogan but it has been in the making for a long time – over 20 years, it has been said. Thus, it is a concept that the PM has given a lot of thought to, and it is especially in line with the multi-religious, multi-racial and multicultural character of the country.
It seemed appropriate for the PM to launch the slogan a few days before the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit – an occasion when, if we are honest with ourselves, we all participate in, in one way or another.
The vision which the prime minister has for Malaysia is that it becomes a country where humanity, justice, fairness, good and effective governance become part and parcel of everyday life.
It also means a reshaping of our present society by instilling good family values, trust, respect and compassion for one another – a society that upholds ethics and morality enshrined by all religions.
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Basically, what the PM wants for the country is a transparent government that follows the law – a government that is not governed by the desire of any individual(s) and not marred by corruption.
We have, over the past six decades, become a country synonymous with corruption, with the sort of governance that not only kept out investors but also burdened the people, thus making them lose faith in the government.
All this unhappiness and wilful disregard by the government for the people and the country only caused more unease and provided fodder for some to develop more extreme ideologies in the wake of poverty, injustice and ignorance.
Thus, the PM, in discerning the sign of the times, has given us all an opportunity to make sense of the change he envisages for the people and the country.
We cannot escape the fact that some religious figures and politicians have a tendency to come up with controversial statements instead of talking about the ideals we have in common.
This is not something that will soon disappear but it is a constant thorn in the flesh for those of other faiths, because those pushing for a more hardline Islamist way of life are unable to comprehend that Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country.
We must also be heedful of this polarisation, which could be worsened by some media and some politicians. Thus, we need to be able to see right from wrong and have the courage to listen to the views of others that may contain elements of truth – not an easy thing to do but something that is necessary to enable us all to live together amicably.
So how will the idea of masyarakat madani (madani community) serve the new coalition government? How will Anwar traverse this slippery slope?
Compromises will have to be made among the various parties, especially between Umno and the DAP as both parties have differing ideologies. The prime minister will have to rise above this political bickering and ensure that he stays true to his commitment to allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate corruption cases, beginning from the very top.
This promise was made during the “Special narrative with the prime minister” interview on RTM on 6 January. Anwar said: “I told the enforcement officials to be firm no matter – (who) and to cabinet colleagues as well, every week I tell them that I would not defend them if there are mistakes or evidence of siphoning the country’s wealth.”
The PM has said this forcibly, and hopefully, the MACC will follow through on the investigations they are working on so that the public will be kept abreast of its investigations.
People have, justifiably so, become indifferent to the corruption and lack of transparency in government as it has become the norm. This apathy has seeped into our lifestyles and value judgements.
Thus, the prime minister is trying to give the country the opportunity to rediscover its integrity, honesty and truth in the proper sense of the word.
Ultimately, it is our hope that Anwar will put into practice this concept or policy and explain to the people what masyarakat madani means. This is important so that everyone will then have a vested interest in ensuring that the country will no longer be broken and bowled over by scandals of corruption and money laundering and can once again become a country able to stand tall with other nations.
We have been given a new beginning: one we should all work hard for so that the dreams we had in 2018 can, slowly but surely, become a reality. We may never get this opportunity again, so let us all move forward.
It is the right time!
jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time