Malaysians should cherish the legacy of Tunku, whose centennial birthday
falls in the ushering of the Year of the Goat celebrations, to uphold the
founding 1957 Merdeka Constitution principle that Malaysia is a democratic,
secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation with Islam as the
official religion but not an Islamic state
2003 Chinese New Year Message
by Lim Kit Siang
Malaysian Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in the 2003 Year of the
Goat is doubly significant and auspicious as the centennial birthday of Bapa
Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman
Putra, falls within this festive period.
There is no better way to mark the coming of the Year of the Goat than to
cherish the legacy of Tunku to uphold the founding 1957 Merdeka Constitution
principle that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant
and progressive nation with Islam as the official religion but not an
This is the only nation-building .principle which can see the plural
Malaysian nation through all vicissitudes and crisis as it is the only
cementing force to bind a people of such diverse ethnic, linguistic,
cultural and religious origin and heritage into one united nationality.
The new year is full of tests and challenges for Malaysians. Internationally
the war clouds over Iraq threaten not only world peace but also the health
of the global and national economy.
Internally, the new year will be a historic one for the various momentous
decisions that will have to be made about the character, direction and
future of the nation.
The year of the Goat may or may not be the year for the 11th general
election, but it will see the passing of the baton of office from Datuk Seri
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad after 22 years and three months as the fourth Prime
Minister of Malaysia to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the fifth Prime
But even more important than this personal transition are weighty national
matters such as:
Whether the legacy of Tunku of a democratic, secular and
multi-religious Malaysia with Islam as the official religion but not an
Islamic State stands intact or is relegated to the history books.
Whether Malaysians can restore another Tunku legacy, the rule
of law and the independence of the judiciary, and be a model for both
developed and developing nations in the protection and promotion of human
Whether Malaysia can effect a revolution in the education
system to make Malaysia an international centre of educational excellence,
not merely in profession but winning world recognition that the country is a
provider of quality education for primary, secondary, tertiary,
mother-tongue and ICT education.
Whether Malaysia can in the shortest possible time redeem her
international honour and reputation by wiping out the international image of
the country as a "terrorist centre" adversely affecting Malaysia's economic
prospects causing a sharp drop in inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs)
and foreign tourists.
Whether Malaysia can register substantial progress to take the
quantum leap to become a K-economy and Information society to acquire the
international competitiveness to catch up economically with countries like
South Korea, which had a lower per capita income than Malaysia in 1981 but
whose per capita income is now 2.5 times higher than Malaysia, joining OECD
with US $10,000 per capita income in 1996.
Happy Chinese New Year to all Malaysian Chinese and all other
non-Chinese Malaysians who celebrate the occasion as a national festivity
unique in Malaysia.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National