Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. It comprises 13 states and two federal territories that are defined more by ethnic and cultural diversity than they are by territorial borders. It is this diversity that distinguishes us from our Southeast Asian neighbours. As the years go by, the Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous groups are gradually referring to themselves as Malaysians first and everything else later.
The peace and stability we enjoy is reflected in the pride with which Malaysians celebrate Merdeka Day. On the 31st of August every year, we are reminded how our forefathers worked hard to secure independence for all Malayans. On the 16th of September, we are grateful that disparate factions from the east and west united to bring us the Malaysia we know today.
To honour the struggles of our forefathers, it is the duty of every Malaysian to recognize the importance of unity in nation building. Only with harmony can Malaysians move forward as a single race and chart a course towards glory. For this to happen, we must work hard to strengthen interracial tolerance by getting all ethnic groups to understand each other.
One way forward is for Malaysians to use festivities as platforms to assemble in the spirit of mutual tolerance. Every Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and even Hari Gawai, people of all walks should make it a point to acquaint with one another by removing walls that separate us. Only then can one race see another in positive light and begin to understand each other differently. And only when we understand each other better will there be synergy in our efforts towards nation building.
This may all sound trivial, but it is probably the most important message Malaysians must consider. Every day, we must remind ourselves how lucky we are to live in a country without wars and conflicts. Every day, we must be grateful that our country and its people are prospering and safe. Only when we realise this will we know how unique our country is. Only then can we hold our heads up proudly and say, keranamu, negaraku Malaysia, kami bertekad untuk berjaya.
Long live Malaysia