For the third time in ten days, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah reminded all Malaysians about the fundamentals of nation-building in a plural Malaysia as spelt out by the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukunegara.
Speaking at the investiture ceremony of federal awards and honours at Istana Negara yesterday held in conjunction with his official birthday celebration, he reminded all Malaysians not to play up sensitive issues in the interests of any party.
He said that every citizen has been promised rights and freedoms in accordance with the Federal Constitution, but that freedom must not go beyond the values that are fundamental to national unity.
He said: “So as in politics. There must be a line and limit that should not be crossed. If political polemics were left prolonged, sooner or later it will start taking its toll on the people.
“Believe me, the unity, peace and harmony that have been built over these 62 years, if we ever lose them, will be very difficult to get back.
“My advice is, let bygones be bygones, forgive and forget past disputes so that the broken relationship can be fixed and restored.”
In the past ten days, the Sultans of Perak and Selangor have also expressed similar concerns when they spoke on the importance of national unity and the dangers of uncontrolled spread of fake news and hate speech to destroy inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, tolerance and harmony in Malaysia.
Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak described racial provocations “were like setting up time bombs which were waiting for the right time to explode” while Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor reminded Malaysians not to easily believe fake and slanderous news on the social media as they can jeopardise the country’s peace and security.
If we go on by the social media, the picture from the uncontrolled spread of fake news and hate speech is a Malaysia that is never been more polarised in racial and religious terms in the nation’s history as if the country is teetering on the verge of a racial and religious conflagration.
But this “social media Malaysia” is a false picture of the Malaysian reality on the ground, as instead of inter-racial animosity, distrust, fear and hatred, there is general goodwill, understanding, harmony and tolerance among Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese or Indians – regardless of race or religion.
But do not discount irresponsible political opportunists and desperados who are doing their utmost through the uncontrolled spread of fake new and hate speech to incite inter-racial and inter-religious suspicion, doubt, fear and hate to ensure that real-life Malaysia mimic social-media Malaysia – “setting up time-bombs waiting for the right time to explode”,
This is the immediate battle in Malaysia – between the merchants of fear and hate who want to see a racial and religious conflagration in Malaysia through unchecked spread of fake news and hate speech vs Malaysian patriots to prove them wrong and demonstrate instead that Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, are united to build a New Malaysia which is a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity.
The youths of Malaysia should be in the thick of this battle to be in the frontlines to save the soul of Malaysia and establish a New Malaysia which is a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity and an example of the world of the success of the Alliance of Civilisations instead of a failure from the Clash of Civilisations.
In both the speeches of the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Prime Minister at the investiture ceremony yesterday, there was reference to the important subject of corruption.
On building a society of integrity, the Yang di Pertuan Agong urged that the younger generation be equipped with knowledge and called for programmes that could inculcate good and noble values, develop a strong sense of identity and spirit of patriotism, to be organised nationwide.
There can be no room in Malaysia for perverted ideas such as a corrupt Muslim is better than a clean, honest and incorrupt non-Muslim.
The Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, pledged the Pakatan Harapan government’s commitment in a New Malaysia to rehabilitate the country and liberate it from corruption and abuse of power.
With the lowering of voting age from 21 to 18 years and a political environment dedicated to democracy and human rights, integrity is a subject which the liberated youths of today must play a pivotal role, and this is why I am issuing a fourth challenge to the Malaysian youths – to be in the frontline in the war against corruption and to achieve the objective for Malaysia to be among world’s top 30 countries in integrity by year 2030!
The objective for Malaysia to be among the world’s top 30 nations in integrity can never be achieved unless the youths of Malaysia are prepared to be in the frontline in the war against corruption.
This is particularly pertinent as a survey by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from 2014 until June this year shows that corruption is rampant among civil servants in the country, as they make up 46.3 per cent of 4,860 persons arrested for graft offences over the period.
A MACC survey revealed that 22.1 per cent respondents in the public sector said they were willing to accept bribes if they were in a position of power.
Instead, Malaysia fell to No. 62 out of 180 countries in the TI CPI 2017 with a score of 47/100.
It will not be an easy target for Malaysia to catapult some 30 places in 10 years to be ranked among the top 30 countries in integrity in the TI CPI 2030.
The question is whether the youths in Malaysia, regardless of race, religion or region, are prepared to take up the cudgels to ensure that Malaysia is one of the top 30 nations in integrity by 2030?