This year’s National Day theme Bersatu Ke Alaf Baru (Together Towards The New Millennium) is apt and proper, though not in the way the government has intended it.
The people's unity is an essential prerequisite for the nation's ability to face the challenges in the new millennium, but it is not the unity as a result of the false pride of mega-projects like having the tallest building in the world, the world's most gradiose/grotesque Prime Minister's office and residence against which the White House or 10 Downing Street pale into insignificance, the underutilised KLIA airport for the next century or even the Sepang Formua One Circuit.
The unity that we need is the unity of Malaysians, regardless of race, arising from the consciousness that they have a common bond and destiny to create an united, just, free, prosperous and vibrant civil society.
Former Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, has become a rallying-point for Malaysians of all races who cherish justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia for they see in Guan Eng the symbol of the New Malaysian in the New Millennium - a leader who seeks justice and fair play not just for any one community or group, but for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, age or gender.
Instead of welcoming this further coming-of-age of the Malaysian nation-building process, government leaders are very concerned and even disturbed by it - fearing that this would have an adverse impact for the ruling parties in the next general election.
This has given rise to the unique and unprecedented situation where the Malaysian people are showing themselves to be more Malaysian-minded, nationalistic and patriotic than the government leaders.