Twentieth Anniversary of National Day – MESSAGE
By ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary- General
Call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into causes of failure in 20 years of nationhood to achieve national unity
Twenty years ago, on the historic occasion of Merdeka on August 31, 1957, the people held high hopes for the future, confident that Independence will not only mark the political liberation from colonial rule, but also usher in a new era of social justice and equality and the progressive advance towards a united Malaysian people.
Today, twenty years later, the people feel great disenchantment with the past 20 years, because they were two decades of lost hopes and broken promises.
National unity is even more distant today than in 1957. Political, economic, educational, social and cultural forces aim at dividing Malaysians into their separate communal and class compartments have become even stronger and assertive.
The most successful achievement of the first twenty years of Merdeka is the creation of a new rich clique, the ‘UMNO-putras’, who climb to wealth and influence through their misuse and abuse of public positions and trust.
It is indeed tragic that nation- building policies do not result in the creation of greater Malaysian consciousness transcending racial ties and associations, but reinforce and strengthen racial consciousness and identity.
Indeed, 20 years after Merdeka, more people in Malaysia are thinking of themselves more as Malays, Chinese or Indians, rather than as Malaysians.
Malaysia will head toward national division and instability unless Malaysians recognize that this continuum trend towards greater polarization along both class and race lines is checked and reversed.
National unity in Malaysia is a farce. Let us make it into a reality. Let us stop sweeping problems under the carpet.
For a start, I call on the Prime Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, to recommend the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into national unity, to find out the factors and causes as to why in the first 20 years of Malaysian nationhood, the differences of race and class have become more accentuated and acute, and what policies and measures that the Malaysian nation should adopt to turn away from such a disastrous road.
This Royal Commission of Inquiry should be above all party politics, and should comprise not only leaders of the Malaysian political parties, but also representatives from important cross- sections of Malaysian life.