Archive for August, 2019

Cherish our shared destiny

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

All for one: Children from Child Development Centre Persada PLUS waving the Jalur Gemilang at a Merdeka celebration. — Bernama

TODAY marks the 62nd anniversary of Merdeka, a key milestone in the journey that led to the birth of our beloved home.

Against the backdrop of all the colourful parades and celebrations taking place, something is not quite right.

Our National Day anniversary should be an occasion that brings us closer together. Instead, we seem to be going in the opposite direction.

Of late, a number of incidents have led to ugly quarrels, with “race and religion” narratives threatening to tear us apart.

There’s the storm created by Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik, an Indian citizen who stirred controversy here with his open evangelism denigrating non-Muslims.

The introduction of khat in schools caused a protest by many people which descended into a race and religiously-charged debate.

Viral messages stoking racial sentiments were also widely spread following a fender-bender that turned into a car chase and ultimately led to a fight where one of two motorists involved was killed near Bandar Baru Bangi in Selangor.

On social media, certain groups sensationalised viral photos of the Jalur Gemilang being flown upside down, prompting a stern warning from the police.

The ease with which these incidents quickly turned racial or religious shows that unfortunately, too many Malaysians still think along narrow, communal lines.

What made things worse in all these cases were the irresponsible quarters, including some politicians, who thought nothing of fanning and exploiting anger over these issues to drum up support.

Let’s not take the bait when they try to pit Malaysians against other Malaysians based on race and religion.

Starved of the attention, these elements will shrink to the irrelevant fringes where they belong, instead of hijacking public discourse from real issues we should be focusing on, such as fixing our education system and boosting the economy.

It is not easy to forget the pain and alienation caused by the misguided, ignorant or outright malicious people in our midst.

At the same time, if we truly cherish Malaysia, then we must also never forget the foundation that allowed our country to be formed in the first place.

It was summed up by Bapa Kemerdekaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, when he uttered the following words to describe what he believed was Malaysia’s greatest treasure:

“In our multiracial society, our Malaysian democracy, nothing is more fundamental than harmony between the many races which form the Malaysian nation.

“In fact, if I were asked to name one single outstanding quality to explain the success of Malaysia as a free nation, I would without hesitation say it is due to racial understanding and cooperation.

“Not only does this harmony express the trends of thought and feeling in this country, but it is a treasure of priceless value to each and every one of us.”

We’re all Malaysians. It seems silly to have to point out an obvious fact, but here we are. The divisive politics we now contend with came from decades of such narratives slowly seeping into our thoughts and discourse.

It only seems worse now because just a year ago, there was great hope that Malaysia was moving towards becoming the country we all dreamt of having, the vision our founding fathers fought for.

It is not too late. We are at a crossroads now. We, the people of Malaysia, can tell our politicians, in no uncertain terms, to stop their attempts to tear us apart.

By The Star Says
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/the-star-says/2019/08/31/cherish-our-shared-destiny#XOpYCqHrZwjk4vDS.99

Defending buildings of independence

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Carcosa

Every Malaysian should be concerned about the future of our heritage buildings, especially the ones that witnessed pivotal historical moments in our country’s formation.

TWO years ago I had the pleasure of witnessing the launch of the Jalan Merdeka Exhibition at Carcosa and Seri Negara. Together with a team of curators and researchers, we had unearthed many fascinating facts about the history of the two buildings that were directly relevant to Malaya’s experience of colonialism and the journey towards independence.

Getting to that point was quite serendipitous.

Back in 2013 I was invited to view a collection of artefacts, complete with documents from the High Court and the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage to confirm their validity. Some were remarkable in their international provenance, such as a bell cast in Spain destined for California that ended up in a shipwreck near the Philippines.

The company which held these artefacts intended to leverage on Malaysia’s own racial diversity to establish a museum to showcase the rich history of international trade and cultural exchange that spawned heritages that continue to exist today. In our polarising world, I agreed to support this project that would highlight the fruits of peace, especially contrasted against the destruction of war.

After further research on the artefacts’ authenticity and scouting for a suitable venue, in 2017 the company was offered the tenancy of Carcosa Seri Negara (actually two distinct buildings and their grounds), synonymous with a luxury hotel of which many KLites have fond memories. Having been derelict for some years, I advised that Badan Warisan Malaysia should inspect the buildings’ condition.

The buildings were indeed in a terrible state, with millions of ringgit estimated for proper restoration and conservation. Best practice would have this conducted by the landlord, but it was instead agreed that no rent would be payable for the time being. Rather, any costs to make any part of the buildings usable had to be borne by the company, of course in compliance with heritage and fire regulations.

For reasons best left to the management to answer, the proposed museum project did not blossom within the desired timeframe. However, the mansions of Carcosa and Seri Negara provided a treasure trove of discoveries, and it baffled me why their stories remained hidden for so long. I was gobsmacked, for example, to discover that the room where I launched my first book in 2011 was where the Rulers signed the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 that enabled Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Proclamation of Independence three weeks later.

With the 60th anniversary of Merdeka occurring in 2017, I was therefore keen to organise something that would commemorate the road to independence, using the buildings themselves as centre pieces.

Launched by the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, attended by the British High Commissioner and Japanese Ambassador (whose governments played substantial historical roles at the site), and supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture with several government agencies, prominent corporate sponsors and even soldiers, the Jalan Merdeka Exhibition was widely covered and reviewed across the media. The exhibition was visited by the Sultan of Perak, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi, members of the diplomatic corps and scores of schoolchildren.

Before, during and afterwards, various other events were held at the site, with the approval of the relevant authorities. This included the filming of Crazy Rich Asians, a major conference by a Harvard College project, and screenings of old films, traditional games and concerts that evoked the Merdeka era. More recently, an emotionally charged reunion of the staff of Istana Tetamu (as Seri Negara was known when it hosted the Shah of Iran, US President Lyndon Johnson and other visiting heads of state) was held, rekindling more memories.

The recent suggestion that any of these activities were somehow improper is utterly bizarre, and creates an unsavoury impression.

Although I am no longer an advisor to the company, I understand they have effectively been removed from Carcosa and Seri Negara. However, every Malaysian should be concerned about the future of our heritage buildings, far too many of which have already been demolished. Particular attention should be paid to these buildings which witnessed such pivotal historical moments in our country’s formation.

Indeed, I was hoping to visit that special room before commemorating Merdeka tomorrow, but the whole site has been sealed off, with its fate unknown.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/abidinideas/2019/08/30/defending-buildings-of-independence#5xRp8EI45Zr7k2O1.99

Meaning of Merdeka and M’sia Day

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Malaysian from all races living in unity, harmony and tolerence celebrating the 62nd Independence Day in George Town Penang. Starpic By: ZAINUDIN AHAD

LAST week, my 11-year-old daughter Apsara asked me what Merdeka was. She was preparing for a Merdeka-themed drawing competition at her school.

“What is Merdeka?” I asked her back.

“Basically, it is about freedom and unity, ” she said. I nodded.

On her iPad, she drew her interpretation of Merdeka. It was a yellow star with wings coloured like the Malaysian flag on its sides.

I asked her why that symbolised National Day.

“The star usually stands for hope. In Undertale, the star appears as hope. When I search for drawings of freedom on Google, I see a lot of birds, ” she said.

Apsara was referring to her favourite role-playing video game where a child falls into the Underground (a remote area under the surface of the world separated by magic). She battles monsters to return to the surface.

The competition was an excellent nation-building initiative by SK USJ 12 as it “forced” my kid to do research on Merdeka.

To help her understand what Merdeka means, I said Aug 31,1957, was when the Federation of Malaya gained its independence from the white people. (Sorry, I used that word as I don’t think Apsara knows the concept of Britain or British.)

As I am a proud Sabahan, I asked if she knew what Malaysia Day was.

She didn’t have a clue, and she didn’t look like she wanted to know because she did not have a drawing competition with Malaysia Day as the theme.

To pique her interest, I related Merdeka and Malaysia Day to public holidays.

“You know why you have no class on Aug 31 and Sept 16? It is because of Merdeka and Malaysia Day, ” I said. That did it.

“Mummy said there was no school on three Mondays this month, ” she said.

To help her understand the difference between Merdeka and Malaysia Day and their significance, I looked up the map of Malaysia on Google Maps.

First, I showed her Peninsular Malaysia and explained: “This is the part of Malaysia which celebrates Merdeka as they got their independence from the white people.”

Then I showed her Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore and said: “These three states formed Malaysia together with (pointing at the map of Peninsular Malaysia). On Sept 16,1963, they formed Malaysia. That is why Malaysia Day is important. It is when Malaysia was born.”

Perhaps I lost Apsara with that rather “long” explanation as she was busy working on her drawing.

“Are you listening to me?” I asked.

“I’m not interested per se in the subject, but I’m interested in the competition. I like the competition, ” she said.

“Well, I hope she at least indirectly learnt about history – the birth of two federations – while she was drawing, ” I thought.

During this history lesson, I might have sounded like I was talking to a kid, which technically I was.

However, sometimes I also talk to adults, especially from Peninsular Malaysia, like that so that they can better understand the concept of the Federation of Malaysia.

For me, it is essential to talk about the history and geography of Malaysia with “clueless orang Malaya” (what many Sabahans and Sarawakians like to call those from Peninsular Malaysia).

History?

Because many think that Malaysia Day is just a public holiday, they don’t try to understand why there is such a holiday.

Before 2010, Malaysia Day was only a public holiday in Sabah and Sarawak. Back then, Peninsular Malaysians could be forgiven for not knowing the day’s significance.

But since it is now a national holiday, there should be no excuse for not knowing what it is about.

Geography?

Because many Sabahans and Sarawakians still get this kind of questions from those living in Peninsular Malaysia: “You are from Kuching? When did you arrive in Malaysia?” or “You are from Sandakan? What is your currency?”

Also, some don’t know that Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia – it is almost the size of Peninsular Malaysia – followed by Sabah. There are maps and logos which depict the peninsula as being larger than both Sarawak and Sabah.Some of us haven’t “Merdeka” in our mindset that Malaysia has more than three races – Malay, Chinese and Indian. “Dan lain lain” (others) is like an unheard of community.

The Rojak Projek, a social enterprise that focuses on creating positive understanding and awareness by promoting unity, culture and diversity, found that we are a #rojaknation. We have more than 250 ethnicities such as Cheq Wong, Jagoi and Liwogu.

In her journey across Malaysia for the Rojak Projek, co-founder Lim Sheng Feiyan told me that she concluded that Malaysia means all of us together.

She can’t imagine life without her Indian, Malay, Punjabi and super rojak friends and family.

“Now I can’t imagine life without the Sabahans, Sarawakians and Orang Asli I met, ” she said.

Today, I’ll be celebrating Merdeka at the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk, a collaboration between property developer Eco World Development Group and Star Media Group.

The theme for this year is #BetterMeBetterMalaysia.

I’ll be there to meet and walk with like-minded Malaysians such as Lim as well as Syed Sadiq Albar and Collin Swee, the co-founders of Projek57, a social enterprise committed to building unity and hope among Malaysian youth.

Syed Sadiq believes that unity could come from diversity.

By Philip Golingai
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/one-mans-meat/2019/08/31/meaning-of-merdeka-and-msia-day#iopo8UKywCksuMUB.99

Malaysia was built on noble values, says Dr M.

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

ETALING JAYA: Malaysia could not have given her people prosperity, progress and peace without acts of selflessness and the willingness to sacrifice for the country’s interests, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said the nation was built on noble values – tolerance, high moral values, mutual respect and the willingness to share and give and take.

Without these values, Malaysia would not have been able to attain success and growth and her people could not enjoy comfort and progress, he said.

In his National Day message, Dr Mahathir emphasised tolerance and understanding among Malaysians of different race and religion amid tensions in relations.

“The values that we practise should not stop just because we achieved independence and enjoy prosperity.

“Instead, the more successful we become, the more we should realise the importance of these values.

“As much as it was important for our forefathers to have embraced these values to shape this country, it is more important for us to uphold them, ” said the Prime Minister.

Dr Mahathir said sadly, as the people became engrossed with digitalisation and communications, all these values were ignored and replaced by bad attitudes.

“This is blatant when faced with sensitive issues regarding race and religion.

“When defending these issues, certain parties insulted others with derogatory words, so much so that it angered and distressed other races, ” he said.

Describing this behaviour as perplexing, Prime Minister pointed out that for one to uphold religion, he should set an example through acts and words.

“It is my wish that as we celebrate Merdeka Day, people regardless their ethnicity, faith or culture come together in the same spirit that helped us achieve independence, ” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the government was focused on the vision of shared prosperity aimed at ensuring that the country enjoy sustainable development with fair and inclusive economic distribution by 2030.

The vision was also to bring greater excellence to the country and for Malaysia to be an important economic power in Asia, he said.

“The vision as well as government policies will be unsuccessful if the administrative system does not support these efforts.

“Among country’s greatest disasters is corruption, which also involves the civil service.

To ensure our policies are not sabotaged by abuses of power and position, we have put in place efforts to fight these menaces, ” he said.

The Prime Minister said this was why this year’s Merdeka Day celebration was themed “Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih”, as it was the government’s hope to rid the nation of corruption, which could fail efforts meant for the people to enjoy shared prosperity.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stressed upon Malaysians the importance of upholding national unity and opposing discord.

“Malaysia would be at a loss if it failed to focus on economic issues, the cost of living and economic welfare of the people.

“This is why the ongoing Budget 2020 consultation sessions focus on shared prosperity and the entrepreneurial economy that will help Malaysians reaffirm the belief that we can only be stronger when we are together.

“Let us celebrate our National Day by renewing our trust in one another, that only when we are united, will we not fail, ” he said.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/31/malaysia-was-built-on-noble-values-says-dr-m#5XTAtv7yIKAAbee7.99

Dr M opens facilities at Perdana Gardens.

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has opened two facilities at the 131-year-old Perdana Botanical Gardens, making it a complete recreational park with elements of research, education and conservation.

The Prime Minister planted a Kembang Semangkuk sapling as a symbolic gesture of the opening of the Visitors Complex and Ethnobotany Park as the added attractions.

Dr Mahathir, accompanied by Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh and Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, went on a tour of the facilities and was given a briefing on the transformation of the park that was opened in 1888.The two facilities are the final elements of the second phase upgrading of the botanical gardens, which were completed last April.

The Visitors Complex houses a herbarium as a research centre, an interpretation centre as an information centre, a briefing room and a souvenir shop.

The Ethnobotany Park was developed as part of the conservation programme of the gardens and showcases over 100 species of trees, which have many uses, including food, medicine and beauty products.When met by reporters, Nor Hisham said the third and final phase of the upgrading – the setting up of bunga raya and orchid gardens – was expected to be completed in 2022.

Bernama

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/31/dr-m-opens-facilities-at-perdana-gardens#mEMMmVbfQxuTA3Cg.99

National Day celebrations kick off in Putrajaya.

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

PUTRAJAYA: The 62nd National Day celebrations kicked off in grand fashion, with tens of thousands of Malaysians gathered around Persiaran Perdana here to witness the annual parade on Saturday (Aug 31).

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah arrived at the venue at 8am.

Their arrival was greeted by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, before the royal couple were led to the main stage.

This is the first year Sultan Abdullah is attending the Merdeka celebrations as king, following his appointment as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 31.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir’s arrival at 7.50am was greeted with rousing applause.

The 94-year-old delighted the crowd as he was seen driving a maroon Proton Saga to the main stage.

Also among the VIP list were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Multimedia and Communications Minister Gobind Singh Deo, other Cabinet ministers as well as foreign dignitaries.

People came as early as 6am to the administrative capital in view of the anticipated road closures and traffic congestion.

For two years in a row, the National Day celebrations have been organised at Putrajaya, away from the usual location of Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.

After the historic change of government in May 2018, the Pakatan Harapan administration decided to host the Merdeka Day parade in Putrajaya.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih”.

by  MAZWIN NIK ANISJOSEPH KAOS JrMEI MEI CHU and DEREK YONG

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/31/national-day-celebrations-kick-off-in-putrajaya#temxUOXuvz1EetjZ.99

Council for people with disabilities soon – Frankie

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Poon signing a document to show his commitment to implement the Asean Enabling Masterplan 2025 while, from left, Chew, Wong, Chee and others look on.

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Health and People’s Wellbeing in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department (JPKA) will form a Sabah Persons with Disabilities (OKU) Rehabilitation Council to implement policies, laws and programmes with OKU organizations.

Its minister Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung said the council, which included various government agencies and OKUs, would look into the needs of physically challenged people.

He said the council aimed to assist OKUs who had difficulties in assessing public facilities.

“Many government facilities have done their level best to cater to the needs of physically challenged persons, including the visually impaired.”

Nevertheless, Poon said the council would study the recommendations proposed and play an advisory role to public institutions such as the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) and local councils statewide.

He said this at the closing ceremony of the State-level awareness workshop on the Asean Enabling Masterplan 2025 themed ‘Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ here yesterday.

Poon also signed a document declaring the ministry’s commitment to implement the masterplan.

He said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 has emphasized that OKUs have equal rights and status as normal people in terms of the social, cultural, economic and political aspects.

“As such, the views and interests of OKU must be taken into account in every social, economic and political agenda.”

He said people with special needs could equally contribute to the society.

“Hence, we have to cater for and recognize the needs of this special group of people.”

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/08/29/council-for-people-with-disabilities-soon-frankie/

Floating hotel, restaurant boost for tourism soon

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Christina (middle), flanked by Wong (left) and Lai (right), during the MoU ceremony.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has new tourism products that would be introduced in Semporna and here.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the new product, consisting of a cruise ship that serves as a floating hotel that would be docked near Boheydulang and Bodgaya islands in Semporna, and another cruise ship that would be turned into a floating restaurant near here, would be an added attraction for Sabah.

The cruise ship that will be sited near the islands shall have over 60 rooms and this will be able to address the shortage of hotel rooms now experienced in Semporna.

The endeavor is being made possible after the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Supreme Sabah Tourism Limited, which is a subsidiary company of Hong Kong based Bluemount International Limited and Heaven Ray Sdn Bhd, a local Sabah company which was held at the Promenade hotel near here yesterday.

Christina lauded such endeavors, stating that the present state government welcomed foreign investors as it would benefit many people.

She said investors were welcome to invest in building hotels, conduct tour buses businesses and so on.

BY JENNE LAJIUN.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/08/29/floating-hotel-restaurant-boost-for-tourism-soon/

Work Matters!: ‘The value of independence in our life’

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

It is national day weekend!

We came together 62 years ago, as a diverse group of people from different ethnicities to free ourselves from our British colonial masters. Malaysia’s history is rather unique because our predecessors obtained political, economic and social freedom, without any bloodshed.

People of all races that make this nation so beautiful have worked hard, collectively, for prosperity and harmony, in the face of our diversity.

Since our independence, the country has seen many glorious achievements. But the greatest achievement of all, is that generations of Malaysians have bought into the idea of “being Malaysian”.

While at home, we might identify ourselves by our cultural heritage, when we go abroad, we refer to ourselves as “Malaysians” first and not to the specific race that we were born into.

And, we beam with pride when anyone speaks highly of our rather modest Southeast Asian nation.

We value our independence and we stand up against anyone who tries to divide us. This is one of the most endearing features of Malaysia. We identify with and protect our independence, fiercely.

On a personal or work related note, we ought to be placing great significance to freedom, too.

There are very few virtues more important than independence. Independence is a requirement for charting your own life.

The best performing workplaces that I consult at, always have leaders who empower; do not micromanage; and learn to cope with their own insecurities, well.

This leads to well-adjusted office environments, with highly motivated and self-reliant teams.

Being independent does not mean that you do not need anyone else. That’s a myth. Everyone is reliant on someone, for something. Being self-sufficient simply means that you have the ability to add value to every transaction, because you have something significant to offer.

It means that you are able to take personal responsibility, and ownership for your actions and results.

At your job, you will need to be independent in order to endure the ever changing work landscape. Modern businesses are constantly making dynamic shifts of direction. Employees who survive the challenge are those who agile. And, this requires you to learn how to support yourself.

This is fundamental for your career growth.

Ultimately you will only succeed when you are secure with what you believe in. I know from experience that it is tremendously empowering to be able to control of your life and to choose your own destiny.

If every decision you make, or if every action you take has to be filtered through other people first, you will naturally find it hard to gain ownership of your life, and your decisions.

To become independent, perhaps you can start with things about these questions.

Do you like to work independently or do you need a very structured environment?

Sometimes, you will need a combination of both. In my interactions with the people I coach and train, nearly everyone wants some guidelines, and boundaries set up for them, by their leaders or bosses. But, at the same time, they plead for independence and dislike being controlled.

The best work environment is a collaborative one. This teamwork can only take place when expectations are discussed and matched. This has to be followed by people being allowed to function autonomously to achieve the agreed goals.

Are you self-motivated or do you need regular feedback in order to make actual progress?

Everyone requires regular and specific feedback to function effectively. As a manager of people, I give pointers frequently. As a restaurateur I act on the views that my customers offer, for improvement.

It is however important to note that many studies suggest that being a problem solver is the biggest feature that employers seek in new hires. Bosses actively look for staff members who exhibit this trait.

To be solution oriented, you must be innovative enough to generate ideas that will sort out any issues that arise. For this, y

ou need to be self-motivated and independent.

So, while it is necessary for feedback, self-motivation is what helps you progress, in the long run.

Finally ask yourself this; do you work best at your own pace or when nudged by others?

I know that at times I function more effectively under pressure. However in reality, as an entrepreneur, I have learnt that lasting success only comes with measured and consistent performance.

Significantly, I have also realised that when I am purpose driven, and invested in the outcomes of my actions, I work more steadily and reliably. Often, this gives me better results than when I wait to be prodded to do something, by others.

What does independence mean to me? It means being able to chart my life according to the core values and principles that inspire me and it also allows me to increase my value by adding value to others.

By Shankar R. Santhiram.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/08/517197/work-matters-value-independence-our-life

We should always identify ourselves as Malaysians first

Saturday, August 31st, 2019
It is a right and responsibility of Malaysians to want a better Malaysia. FILE  PIC.

WHAT is patriotism? We can define it as love and respect for our homeland.

It is pride in one’s country that drives people to work hard for the development of the nation, protect its heritage and culture, and safeguard the country from being destroyed by external or internal forces.

Former United States politician Adlai Stevenson once said: “Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

Patriotism implies a sense of belonging that binds people together. It is symbolised by flying the flag and respecting the national anthem.

Under the Jalur Gemilang, Malaysia attained independence and we built our lives harmoniously.

But patriotism comes in various forms. When we speak up and defend our country, it is a patriotic act. When we refrain from committing vandalism on public property or littering in public places, we are being patriotic.

When we contribute to making our community free from crime or protecting and preserving our environment, we are being patriotic.

Being patriotic also means contributing one’s views and opinions to areas that can bring good to the country. It is a right and responsibility of Malaysians to want a better Malaysia.

Patriotism should be instilled from childhood because when children love their homeland, they will grow up appreciating their heritage, diversity and history.

Patriotism can be instilled in students through awareness, education and knowledge.

The education system should inculcate pride and belonging to the nation in students. Only through a sense of belonging can Malaysia’s younger generation be moulded into responsible and mature citizens as well as future leaders.

The younger generation must be made aware of the importance of unity as it is the cornerstone of the nation’s success. It is imperative that they forge closer relations despite differences in race, culture and religion.

Fostering unity should begin in schools where efforts can be made to instil interracial harmony, unity and peace in students.

Principals and teachers need to be creative to get students to participate in activities that boost racial integration. They must encourage students to understand one another better.

Parents need to cultivate and practise positive values to inspire their children to emulate good behaviour.

Values such as honesty, integrity, tolerance, diligence, fairness, respect for elders and civic consciousness must be upheld.

After 62 years of independence, Malaysians should be more united as we share the same dreams and aspirations for a better Malaysia.

We should identify ourselves first as Malaysians. I have always believed that to be Malaysian does not make a person less Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban.

History has proven that Malaysia was able to overcome challenges if the people are united.

Our diversity is our strength and it is the recipe for achieving development and socio-economic progress.

By TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/08/517165/we-should-always-identify-ourselves-malaysians-first