KUALA LUMPUR: The formation of Malaysia could not have happened without the interdependence of its people.
“We were once united in the longing for independence, so let’s unite and move forward while helping to pick up those who may have fallen behind,” said Sarawak-born actor-singer Tony Eusoff.
He has many Malaysia Day wishes for his beloved country this year.
“I want to see us rooting for each other regardless of race or religion and I want a society that is more accepting of and open to our God-given diversity.
“So much more could be achieved if we band together, put aside our differences and work towards enriching our multicultural living experience.
“Not unlike a successful kopitiam, our country has these three basic components which I believe make it a tripod of greatness – great location (a natural disaster-free zone), great food and great people,” Tony said.
He said Malaysians could boost national unity by promoting cultural diversity.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam agrees with the need for national unity, saying that it is paramount for peace, security and progress.
“Indeed, for our very survival and sustainability as a nation,” said the economist and chairman for the Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies.
“If we can’t be proud of our country, it can erode our self-respect and sense of national and individual well-being.”
He commended the Star Media Group for its Raise The Flag campaign, an initiative to promote a national sense of belonging.
“We may not be proud of some issues in our country but the celebration of national pride will help us overcome our problems, and make us strive harder for a better Malaysia,” he said.
Malaysians need to have the courage and willingness to stand up for their convictions, in the hope of inspiring others to move towards a better tomorrow, said John-son Oei, co-founder and CEO of social enterprise Epic Collective Extraordinary People Impacting Community (Epic).
“As Malaysians and human beings, regardless of background, status or profession, we need to be the best that we can be every day, in everything that we do, and trusting others to do the same,” he said.
“We are all part of a larger ecosystem and we have the responsibility and capacity to make Malaysia better than it is.”
Oei feels that campaigns like Raise The Flag are valuable.
“In the midst of the obvious challenges we have, this campaign brings to light the positive things going on in Malaysia and helps inspire others to aspire to greater heights,” he said.
For Datuk Sheila Majid, it’s “important for us to be proud Malaysians and to stay united”.
“We need to uphold the dignity of our beloved motherland, to stay steadfast and strong and instil courage in the hearts of our children,” said the nation’s musical icon.
“This is the only country we have, so we had better make sure we can live together in harmony and build the country up together, as we have been for all these years. Segregation makes no sense,” she said.
The Raise The Flag campaign runs until Malaysia Day on Saturday. The campaign’s main sponsor is Aset Kayamas while Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd is co-sponsor.
Look out for a special issue in the newspaper tomorrow, which will once again feature a four-page wrap with the Jalur Gemilang and a T-shirt template in the centrespread.
It’s your last chance to participate in the campaign. Pose with the flag and decorated T-shirt template for a photograph and post it on social media with the hashtag #RaiseTheFlagMY by Sept 17.
You can also share your photo at facebook.com/raisetheflagmy and be in the running to win prizes that include staycations and dining vouchers.
Submissions with at least 15 people “wearing” the T-shirt templates and waving the flags stand to win a RM4,000 buffet for 100 people from Original Kayu Nasi Kandar; and winning group school entries will receive Pizza Hut vouchers.
For details and the full list of prizes, go to thestar.com.my/raisetheflag.
Celebrate Malaysia Day with Aset Kayamas’ special issue Jalur Gemilang tomorrow.