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Thinking Malaysian First:- Empowering Malaysians With Economic Freedom And Equal Opportunity To Achieve The MALAYSIAN DREAM of Success Through Personal Effort
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Year of the Fire Boar would be a momentous year for Malaysia celebrating both our 50th Merdeka Anniversary and the possibility of early general elections. In the year of the Fire Boar, Malaysians are searching for direction and inspiration. The people want to be inspired that there is hope for a better future. And seek direction from leaders they have faith in, particularly those with integrity who work selflessly for the nation's interests.
After 50 years of Merdeka, hope and faith are essential if our country is to move forward and leave behind the politics of fear that has hampered nation-building, crippled our country's potential and development.
After 50 years of Merdeka, the time has come to reject those who seek to unite Malaysians by dividing them according to race and religion. DAP firmly rejects the proposition that to be a Malaysian, one must first be a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban or a Kadazan.
After 50 years of Merdeka we should be Malaysian First, - Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu second.
Malaysian First is akin to Malaysian Malaysia and Bangsa Malaysia. DAP can accept former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad definiton of Bangsa Malaysia as "a people being able to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia and accept the Constitution". There is no race or religion as the pivotal race over other races or a dominant religion over other religions.
DAP's vision of nation-building is through Malaysian First based on forging a Bangsa Malaysia where this common identity and genuine national spirit allows the country to achieve economic prosperity that is shared by all. Malaysians must feel empowered by being Malaysian First.
This economic aspect of Malaysian First is important when many small businesses and workers feel left out by the country's so-called good economic performance. What is the point of having annual trade volume of RM 1 trillion ringgit when many have not benefited and find difficulty in bearing the financial hardships of inflation, rising prices coupled with no annual bonuses nor real wage increases this year?
We are talking about empowering the people economically. Empowering everyone economically requires a system that works. The choice should not be exclusively either relying solely on a political process that stresses on equity or completely on a market system that stresses on efficiency and effectiveness.
We must permit both the market and political system to operate and do what it does best. The political process stresses on equity that can guarantee access for all, whereas the market system ensures efficient allocation of resources that improves productivity and effective delivery. We must free up the potential of our greatest resource - our human resources- to do the best from our abilities.
This is the economic essence of Malaysian First- empowering Malaysians by giving economic freedom and equal opportunity to all so that every individual has an equal chance to achieve our great Malaysian Dream of success by the dint of our personal effort.
Economic prosperity brings meaning to national unity. National unity and economic progress are interdependent. Only with national unity can we secure the basis for economic progress. And only with economic progress can national unity be sustained.
This is our common destiny – achieving and enjoying prosperity together, from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs. Let us find hope for a better future by finding inspiration from each other as Malaysians. Let all Malaysians find faith only on leaders with integrity to ensure us that we are going in the right direction of democracy, justice, peace and dignity.
Happy Chinese New Year! GONG XI FA CAI!
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP