A new, brave way for unity

THERE would be many things in our personal past that we may want to change. Our way of thinking and doing things, some habits, some people we associate with and so on. This is normal if we want to evolve into better persons and develop. Life is about trial and error.

As times change, we have to adapt. As we become more knowledgeable about life and mature, we must be brave to change accordingly so that we become better human beings. We cannot expect improvements in our lives if we keep repeating the conduct and thinking that is keeping us back in the past. We have to “fix the past” in order to design the future. The same principle applies to a nation.

To fix the past, we must firstly admit and recognise the mistakes that we have made as a nation. We have to identify where, how and why we have gone wrong. For example, after 64 years, why do we still feel divided and not as united Malaysians? Why do we sometimes feel that our very being and dignity is being challenged by even the State that is supposed to protect and nurture us?

We must study these things objectively, courageously and factually in order to design a better future. We must move away from our very “Malaysian” way of doing things – wasting funds by having docile committees, politically correct seminars and forums and syok sendiri politicians, academics and religious leaders who are in love with their own voice.

We have to learn to grab the bull by the horns and start looking for long term solutions to our increasing national malaise in many areas.

It is my unfortunate observation that national unity in its true sense of the word is made unachievable due to the nature of how politics is being played in our country. Some of the political and religious leaders are themselves obstacles to peace in the nation.

We have to reject leaders that seek to divide us along ethnic and religious lines. If they themselves are unable or do not want to evolve and understand life and humanity, then they should be left alone to live a lonely life. If such leaders are allowed to mix with society, they will infect society with toxicity and cause collective misery. They will not allow us to embrace humanity, diversity, love and peace.

Along with these leaders, we have to reject and identify the so-called “clever ones” – some of the academics and graduates – who cohabitate with their political masters for a few grains of privilege and wealth. These are shameless vultures and hyenas who have no qualms about feeding themselves and their families on the misery of other people’s lives. They ought to be left aside too.

Likewise, some of the so called “men of god” who sprout nothing but superstitions, conflicts, divisions, and hatred. In the name of God, they unhesitatingly try to divide human beings into many kinds of categories.

They even cause disunity among the people of their own religion so that loyalty is only to their views. They surreptitiously turn differences of opinions into positions of aggression and sometimes even violence or extremism. Hence, they cause inter and intra religious conflicts. They do this because they earn their living and status from perpetuating ignorance, fear and conflicts.

Some of the citizens are fooled by them due to ignorance. Once again, our society is to be blamed for disallowing free and civil discourse on religious matters under the guise of sensitivity.

We perpetuate stupidity in the name of sensitivity and sometimes, God. It boggles my mind when anyone sane does not even see this simple fact – unless many of us have indeed been befuddled.

In a politically charged country like ours, when we elect political leaders who do not have sound intellectual and cognitive abilities, we would end up as a substandard society heading for ruin in the long run. The matter becomes compounded because the politician, by virtue of his power and accumulated wealth, begins to believe he is indeed intelligent.

There is really no point in reelecting someone who has so called political experience for the past thirty years, for example, if he has not contributed anything significant to our country. Further, he should be rejected if he has been contributory to the negative state of our nation in terms of unity and progress.

We need leaders who seek to educate the citizens and not the type that seeks to perpetuate ignorance, fears and insecurities of some citizens for their selfish political interests. We need to go “headhunting” for political leaders that are unafraid of thinking citizens.

Malaysians respect and love religious leaders who invite people to the path of peace, love and progress. Those that remind us that we all come from the same creation and therefore we all have the same fears, pains and hopes.

There are such leaders out there from different faiths and religions. They respect diversity and most importantly, they respect that people are able to make up their own minds.

Intelligent citizens cannot tolerate presumptuous religious leaders who pretend that they can guarantee anyone’s fate in the hereafter. With respect, this may be an indication of neurosis under the garb of religiosity or pure arrogance. Thinking citizens like religious leaders who are educational in their approach, not imposing.

Hence, we have to start thinking differently to stop the infestation of our nation by irresponsible and intellectually deprived leaders.

We need new leaders. We need good leaders who respect the citizens and not those who insult us with their arrogance, greed and stupidity. The bedrock for progress and well-being is unity and love between us as Malaysians and human beings.

Let us safeguard that.

Senior lawyer Datuk Seri Dr Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos is the founder and chairman of Yayasan Rapera. The views expressed here are entirely his own.

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