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The nation can start afresh
Published on: Sunday, January 01, 2017

By Richard Joe Jimmy
2016 had already left us.

Today is the first day of 2017. I am sure the majority of the people of Malaysia just want to forget 2016.

I do not know if they still consider last year as worthy to cherish. Economically and politically, this country had been consistently tainted with the IMDB saga with the latest addition of the Sabah Watergate scandals, the emergence of new political parties that change our political landscapes, the controversial hudud bill and not forgetting dishonourable antics of certain politicians.

With the exception of the ruling elites and those gainers, many Malaysians feel that this country has lost her integrity.

They are confused for the many unpleasant events that are rocking their trust towards the government and authorities.

They hope that they will continue to be guided becoming exemplary citizens of the world but they are disappointed that they no longer can find the quality of leaderships by example. Certain deeds of certain leaders are not what the majority of Malaysians want to see and hear. Many want to trust our leaders but when issues that are dear to them became the hurricane twists, it blurred their comprehension; hence they just lost that respectful trust. But nothing is too late to amend.

This country can start afresh, and this can be done this year, if we are willing to do away with all our old habits.

Every stratum of authority from top to bottom must change. That change must be total. The corrupt attitudes, the dishonesty and the lack of integrity must be obliterated for the good of all Malaysians. The tag of “perception” of leaders or authorities of 10pc, 20pc, 30pc or even 40pc must be eliminated at all cost. It is time to put real responsibility into action.

No more hanky-panky because Malaysians are not fools.

Remember, when developing this country, it must be acted truthfully so that every sen of the allocation can be utilised for the good of all Malaysians. The suspicions of corrupt practises emerged when the quality of end-results development due to irresponsible and corrupted officials show nothing. In fact, billions or millions of ringgit are already legally promised.

Therefore, let us utilise the coming of 2017 as a platform for all of us to start anew. Let all the right attitudes prevail this year.

I wish we can still scrape through the vision 2020. But looking at our present scenario, I am sceptical that we can achieve such vision. Three years to that year is impossible for a complete change knowing very well that many Malaysians are not united to act enthusiastically with commitment, dedication and with quality works. This is the major obstacle that prevent us from moving at a fast pace of developments. Moreover, as far as Sabah and Sarawak are concerned, there is still a lot to be done to catch-up with Malaya’s developments. It is just impossible the vision can be achieved. Malaysians must move forward with hope. This can only be achieved via total unity. Let not race, religion and cultural differences become blockages to our oneness. But it seems that while unity is consistently promoted, political leaders due to their political ambitions keep on reversing such noble aim. Just look at their annual congresses. Their speeches are always downgrading others as if this country only belongs to one race. There is no sincerity accepting Malaysia as a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country and belongs to all genuine Malaysians. This must also be re-evaluated this year.

And the sad thing is that Sabah and Sarawak are often trapped in this dilemma. Fortunately, Sabahans and Sarawakians still can keep their own ways of keeping unity. Sabah and Sarawak must not allow such destructive tendencies.

Remember, Sabah and Sarawak are equal partners. In fact, unity should no longer be our obstacles if we are readily accepting one another as truly the people of Malaysia. Come on, we have been together for more than five decades.

The choice is ours. To be united or to keep on arguing and fighting for our so-called special privileges.

Let every genuine Malaysian enjoy their presence in this country without any hitches attached. Let all discouraging deeds in the past be buried and refresh them with new integrated and purist commitments.

I wish this year Malaysians can live with complete peace. No more unwanted suspicions between Malaysians.

Let no religion, race or even culture conflicts be consistently highlighted and create tension among Malaysians.

We have already had departments looking into these matters and let those related issues be solved amicably without hurting other communities. Every responsible official must think that it is they who must play a role, keeping a peaceful co-existence among the various multi-ethnics of Malaysians. Let the tensions experienced by Malaysians last year be not repeated as this is not the recipe for nation building. Stop all those obstacles and let Malaysians progress with great unity and dignity.

It is also time for Malaysians to become realist. Perception or not, and although only certain Malaysians are perceived as hypocrites and liars, it affected Malaysians’ integrity as a whole. This is due to the many controversial issues known not only locally but internationally that have somewhat tarnished our image. All these can be normalised and be done away with if Malaysians, be leaders or people on the streets, are willing to change for the better. Let this year be the year for all Malaysians to start making Malaysia as a respectable country once again. I believe there is no problem materialising it.

It all depends on the willingness of Malaysians to institute preferred right attitudes.

However, there is one thing that Malaysians still cannot avoid, that is, the economic issue. They must be ready to accept any surprises. As it stands now and since Malaysia is still depending on oil prices, the fluctuating prices of oil do not help stabilise the much needed funds from oil. It must be understood that the rush implementation of GST was principally due to the sudden drop in oil prices. It is an alternative income to support our economy. At least GST saved Malaysia from the brink of further economic woes. In addition to the oil prices, Malaysians must also accept the fact that the depreciation of our Ringgit is a factor that can give economic surprises especially those in the export-import industries.

Now, even those having an income of five thousand ringgit a month are those categories of people struggling to make ends meet, and they include many pensioners. So how can we enlighten them this year?

This year should be made a year of replenishment year. Shield all bad decisions, bad attitudes, bad-leaderships.

It is time to move with exemplary and respectable values. Many Malaysians have been far too long been fed with act of “stupidity,” the consequence which lowered their self-confidence. It is everyone’s responsibility to create conducive environments to do business, to have jobs and to become a great united people of Malaysia, no more race calling but as only Malaysians. Disparities of opportunities must be abandoned. Share equally what are rightly belonging to the people.

Leaders must stop their self-selfishness. Look at the people as great assets, not as product of political manipulation to sustain their political privileges. Make this country a place for all to be able to live happily and peacefully, not a place to create conflicts. Now, 2017 has appeared. Let us totally commit ourselves for a total self-change.

This change must transcend to all Malaysians irrespective of whether they are in Malaya, Sabah or Sarawak.

Recognise all Malaysians as legal shareholders of this nation’s wealth.

Let us try hard to abandon the slogan of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Make this commitment as the resolution for all Malaysians in 2017.

Finally, what kind of resolution do we want to embrace? Let us look at Sarah Ban Breathnach’s, an author, of one of her penned resolutions for her new year. She said, “New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written.

New questions to be asked, embraced and loved. Answers to be discovered and lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carved out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand.

Only dreams give birth to change.”

Indeed all Malaysians must change to be responsible citizens of Malaysia. No option needed. Happy new year 2017.

May this year be a fruitful year for all of us.

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