Malaysians should enjoy freedom from fear and not fear freely

Joint Hari Raya Aidilfitri And Deepavali Message
Lim Guan Eng

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP wishes all Malaysians of Hindu and Muslim faith a Happy Deepavali & Selamat Hari Raya Aidilifitri! 

Whilst Malaysians participate in this festive cheer, our open houses attended by Malaysians from all races gently remind us that despite our religious, cultural and ethnic diversity in appearance we are essentially Malaysians at heart. National unity centered on Malaysian interests is more permanent, enduring and resilient than national unity hooked onto a particular race or religion. 

Bangsa agama dan negara should refer to bangsa Malaysia, semua agama dan satu negara. 

Stoking racial sentiments and pandering to fear is the easy way to power. Creating a pervasive climate of fear permeated by distrust is a proven election winner. Not only is this true in a developing country like ours but proven even in highly educated electorates in Australia and the United States. The recently concluded elections in Australia and United States demonstrate the power of fear to stifle reason and permit irrationality to hold sway, even against one`s self-interest. 

We should not underestimate the power of irrational fear as a weapon against democracy, accountability and transparency. But we should not be afraid to confront fear. That is our challenge to seek freedom from fear and not to allow Malaysians to fear freely. 

A return to the 1957 social contract that gave birth to the Merdeka Constitution should be the unifying basis for all Malaysians to work together to make our country more peaceful, stable, prosperous and justice for all. The Merdeka Constitution can serve as a common platform for national unity based on a secular democracy respecting the status of Islam as the official religion and allowing freedom for other religions as well as provide legal guarantees based on civil rights and rule of law. 

Just as Deepavali and Hari Raya Aidilfitri remind us of triumph of good over evil we must be inspired by good and ready to be tested by evil. 

During this festive occasion, Malaysians should take the opportunity to renew our bonds to the values of our respective individual faith and family values. We should also recommit ourselves too to the values of working hard and freedom. So that the rewards from hard work, political morality, accountability, democracy, prosperity and equal opportunities naturally follow in equal measures.


* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General