Malaysia has lost its way in nation-building when with our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity, we should be rendering an unique contribution to make the world safer after the September 11 terrorist horrors
Hari Raya Aidilfitri Message
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslims in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, religious festivities have become a national celebration for all Malaysians, regardless of race or creed. Every such occasion is therefore an opportunity for the nation and people to reflect on their past, present and future.
This is the second Hari Raya Aidilfirtri after the September 11 terrorist horrors in the United States, but instead of becoming safer, the world has become a more dangerous place, with the attacks on the World Trade Centre followed by attacks in Southeast Asia (Bali), south Asia (Pakistan), the Middle East (Yemen, Kuwait and Jordan) and Africa (Tunisia and Mombasa).
Two days ago, France’s senior anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who has been investigating terrorists for twenty years, said that militant cells were developing like a virus throughout Europe and were providing logistical support for terrorist operations, even if they were not organized by al Qaeda.
Or as a French terrorism analyst, Olivier Roy put it: “There are certainly networks which were not created by al Qaeda but which will borrow al Qaeda’s symbol, and which will become al Qaeda contractors for special operations.”
The international scenario appears so grim at times that even Pope John
Paul II last week referred to the “clash of civilizations that
sometimes seems inevitable."
With our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity, Malaysia can render an unique contribution to make the world safer through inter-religious and inter-civilisational dialogues and understanding after the September 11 terrorist horrors, but we ourselves seem to have lost our way even in nation-building in the country.
Eighteen months before Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad became the fourth and longest-serving Prime Minister in July 1981, the Cabinet Education Review Committee chaired by him released a report on education to produce a generation of united, disciplined and trained Malaysians.
More than 21 years later, a year before he steps down as Prime Minister, Mahathir is chairing another committee on the national education system precisely because of its failure to forge national unity or produce quality education.
The Cabinet committee established to introduce compulsory national youth service is but another sign of the double failure of the national education system and nation-building 45 years after independent nationhood.
If we have even lost our way in nation-building, we cannot be of much use to global endeavours to save the world from a clash of civilizations, liberate humanity from the horrors of terrorism and build a new civilization.
On the occasion of the Hari Raya Aidilfiltri this year, we should spare some moments to these ponderous issues affecting the nation and the world.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman