AUGUST 28 — In the next few days, Malaysians will celebrate and commemorate alike, the 60th anniversary of Merdeka and the 54th anniversary of Malaysia.
Even as we prepare to celebrate as one, strains and stresses have re-surfaced, calling into question the very nature of our Federation and the rights and liberties of our diverse peoples.
Many indeed are the concerns which weigh heavily on the collective conscience of our beloved nation whether they be relations between the Federal and State governments on taxation, the independence of the judiciary, the continued erosion of the secular character of the Constitution and the Federation, the political pitting of one religion against another (making the Christian community the proverbial bogeyman), the accountability of political leaders, the perceived selective prosecution of incidences of corruption, the government’s withdrawal of a provision banning the unilateral conversion of children, the general elections which are to take place by next year or the escalating financial burden of the average Malaysian especially of those from the lower income bracket whose basic livelihood has been adversely impacted.
Being concerned shows that we continue to care deeply for our communities and are keenly aware that the continuity of foundational principles, values and beliefs may no longer be assumed as before. It also shows that we continue to seek as a nation, what is best for all who live in our beloved country, regardless of race, language or religion, historical origins or immigration status, or socio-economic or educational standing.
All of us have contributed in one way or another in the past to the building of this nation, and we will all continue to have a role in the shaping and determining of her future.
As our nation’s motto states, Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu — “Unity is Strength”.
Despite the many challenges to our nation’s progress and prosperity, we can achieve a better life for all, both materially and spiritually, only however if we remain united.
Our Lord Jesus Christ called us to “love our neighbour as ourselves,” a call to us to renounce a selfish and self-oriented lifestyle. Communities and countries are built up when people band together and live as one. Our faith teaches us that the suppressive use of might is not right.
Thus, loving our neighbour as ourselves may involve accommodating views with which we do not agree, or making a special effort to protect minority or marginalised groups such as the displaced persons in our midst and those who have been so inhumanely trafficked.
It also requires us to reach out in love to those who express distasteful and even hateful comments about us.
Our annual celebrations and commemorations remind us that we are called to rise above our petty self-interests and to seek the common good.
As we journey together as one country, let us uphold in fervent prayer, collectively and individually, honesty, integrity and justice in our daily lives and in the institutions of state, and civility and respect in our relations with one another.
Let us continue to pray for all our leaders, civic, political, judicial and religious: that they will be diligent in the discharge of their duties and obligations and strive to uphold the true spirit and meaning of their oaths of office and that justice for all may be done and seen to be done in our cherished land. Selamat Hari Merdeka and Selamat Hari Malaysia. May Almighty God nourish, refresh and bless our nation.
Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim
Archbishop Dr. Simon Poh Hoon Seng
Bishop Dr. Ong Hwai Teik
Revd. Dr. Eu Hong Seng
SOURCE: THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE