WHAT will the New Year hold in store for us Malaysians and Malaysia? Are we going to be just a bunch of fellows who sit on our hands and watch the world go by and complain to the moon and the stars when we are frustrated and unhappy?
I believe we can do more than what we have achieved as a country over the past 45 years since our independence. Our country has come of age.
Malaysia is a watershed of the East and the West in geographical and historical terms – an abode for people from ancient civilisations.
Colonialism had formalised the way the country would be governed but not much else. Since 1957, successive governments have shown the way on how a multi-racial and multi-religious country can live in peace and harmony, notwithstanding the political and socio-economic achievements of the New Economic Policy, especially during the last 20 years.
Since 1997, Malaysians have woken up to the fact that they are part of the global community even though we have been engaged actively with many countries since 1982.
We have discovered the strong would like to impose their will, whatever their motives, on the weak and the clever and cunning would also take advantage.
This is the law of the jungle. This is international politics and economics in an ever-changing world.
Are we going to tell the world we are just one nice bunch of fellows who live in peace and harmony with each other, over and over again?
No! I am of the opinion that with our experience we can do more for the world and ourselves.
Malaysia should now contribute positively to mankind and help ameliorate the sufferings of the innocents who have been caught up in the Palestine conflict and the anti-terrorist wars. Our deeds will be answerable only to our conscience.
Two important conferences will be held in Kuala Lumpur this year – the Non-Aligned Movement Conference, in February and the Organisation of Islamic Countries Conference in October.
Our country should offer itself as one of the leaders of a third force with the sole aim of resolving global issues at their roots.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad has often suggested this is the way to achieve success.
Malaysia has the wherewithal and the ability. It has the moral conscience and carries no historical baggage, like Switzerland. This is our strength.
However, we must realise this is a thankless task that may go on for years without resolution. At least, we Malaysians will be satisfied that we have come of age and can give back to the global community what we have taken from it and are not to be sneered at by the big and small.
Hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, trade will over-ride war from the shores of Lebanon to the west coast of the United States.
This will have been Malaysia's contribution to mankind together with other like-minded nations. This will be our national pride which cannot be taken away from us.
DR CHAN CHIN CHEUNG, Kuala Lumpur. (via e-mail)
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