On 31 August, we commemorate and celebrate the freedom and Independence of Malaysia. We, as a nation, express our patriotism and love towards our country by raising the Malaysian flag on our vehicles, our buildings, homes and shopping malls and even along the streets!
We celebrate our Independence Day this year with the theme “Malaysia, Sehati Sejiwa” (Single Minded Malaysia) to reflect the spirit of solidarity, understanding, togetherness and humanity of all the people in the country. However, after 58 years of Independence today “we are witnessing many distressing events in our country.” Presently we face political instability and chaotic and economic deterioration. Human rights, freedom of expression and the liberty of social media are increasingly controlled by the authority.
It is the duty of every citizen including the minorities, the migrants and refugees to defend the rights of humanity. With the many current issues such as the 1MDB and depreciating currency, many of the rakyat have lost their confidence in the ruling government. Furthermore, many are really “perturbed by the religious extremism and intolerance of certain individuals and groups” which create divisions and disunity.
The opposition leaders, NGO groups, religious institutions and individuals are challenging the present government for “fairness, transparency, accountability and integrity” through various forms. As a nation, we must keep the spirit of solidarity, understanding, togetherness, goodwill, and humanity among all races in this multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
We, the Church should respond to the Gospel invitation to be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world,” (Mt 5: 13-14), to be “faithful” and to play a “rightful role” in building up our nation. We must be led by the “teachings and direction of the Church” and uphold our “spiritual and moral values,” in order to enhance peace and harmony in our society.
Let us together pray for our nation to be truly united and live in harmony.
“Selamat Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia!”
(Adapted from the Archbishop’s National Day Message)