By Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
The new year is just around the corner. What will it bring to us, the citizens of a broken and messed up country?
The country where there are ministers who gaji buta, Prime Minister’s aides who are seen as kerja buta and religious scholars who are just buta tak ada kerja but are fully paid minister salaries.
We are also a country with public universities full of academics supporting all these kerja buta and jawatan buta.
We have a judiciary that allows a politician convict and his wife free to see the birth of their grandchild in the very best hospital in Singapore while denying another politician to see his mother and brother alive for the very last time.
We have a country full of two ringgit companies being given huge responsibilities to develop our forest reserves.
Finally, we have a political representatives of the people who loves to deny the sacred rights of the citizenry in declaring false Emergencies at their whims to protect their political survival.
Oh..excuse me but I forgot that we also have a chief minister who loves to destroy the shrines of other faiths and threaten water supplies without caring about the health and survival of women and children of all races and faiths, including that of his own.
What hope for Malaysia in 2022?
There are three slim hopes for Malaysia as I see it.
Firstly, the people must demand that all political parties that have the side of good go to the election as individual entities with an agreement of seat allocation.
PKR, DAP, MUDA, WARISAN, Malaysian Advance Party, Gerak Independents and other Sabah and Sarawak parties should go to the battleground under their own flags.
No one must declare any prime ministership. That should be decided when the dust settles after the election.
On the part of the people, we must all do our duty and come home to vote in full force for the future of our children and their children.
Secondly, the civil society and institutions such as Dong Jiao Zong and religious groups must change their tactics immediately.
Speak more Bahasa Malaysia. No more American or British English or Mandarin. We go full 100% BM or go and balik kampung tanam jagung diam-diam!
If the civil society cannot do this, then the battle is already lost before it began.
This is not just about honoring the language and the Malays, but it is also a critical means of communication.
In war, communication is key. No communication means a no-win scenario.
Next, the civil society and religious institutions must never be trapped by religious or moral issues of alcohol, LGBTQ and Jawi.
Don’t play into the issue but do good collectively to the race that is propagating it.
And then, answer in unison on any issue affecting one community. Don’t let the wolves separate the herd into one lame or sickly animal.
We must move like a herd of buffaloes that no tiger, lion or even grizzly bear dare to attack. Move as a herd of committed citizens.
Thirdly, when we the people win the election and place our new leaders, don’t be in too much of a hurry to change the country.
We must not repeat the mistakes of the past by threatening and ridiculing our ministers and leaders just because we are free to do so under the ideas of democracy and freedom of expression.
We must be democratic but with adab or manners, and speak with wisdom and not with a loose tongue.
Above all, we must learn to value, appreciate and be part of each other’s faiths, cultures and aspirations.
We must share and celebrate our common values and hopes together.
The present government does not care two cents about unity, keluarga Malaysia or kehidupan harmoni. We must do so ourselves. Our country, our responsibility.
Our journey is still long and hard. Winning an election is the easy part. We did it once, we can do it again. No problem. But managing the win and rebuilding the nation require time, effort and patience.
We must not let politicians and civil servants overtake our agenda. We must set the agenda and make damn sure that the civil servants know who is in the driver’s seat.
Make no mistake, I have seen and thought hard for this country and I have concluded that the burden of change is on our own shoulders alone. If we fail, we fail together and get up and try again in a different way.
As with life and building a family, what we sow is we reap and what we neglect, we weep. It’s that simple.
We have our faiths and our own specific cultures as our strength, and the differences in all of us are the secret weapon that will defeat bigotry, extremism and selfishness.
I end with a pantun:
Adab kita budaya bangsa,
Bahasa ibunda warisan sesama;
Berlapang dada menghalang sengketa,
Buat bekalan sepanjang masa.
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)