AS we mark 54 years of Independence, it may be relevant to pause and ponder over some prevailing issues that will determine the direction we will be heading as a nation.
The most important is the much anticipated 13th general election (GE13) which many believe will be held soon.
There has never been such eagerness among the people to cast that all important vote as now.
This is the sign of a thriving democracy, which should be the pride of the nation.
However, it is unfortunate that there are certain quarters who do not want to see that democratic process, the fundamental pre-requisite for any democratic system, thrive.
The onus is on the Government, Election Commission and the relevant institutions to ensure that the elections are conducted fairly.
On our part, let us vote with great discern to elect the party that will take us into the future where citizens of all races and creeds will be able to live together peacefully and harmoniously, thereby realising the true goals of Merdeka.
With the impending GE13, race politics is again rearing its ugly head.
Extremist politics is threatening the peace and harmony that we had built all these years. Not a day passes without some racially provocative statement being reported in the media.
It is sad that those who stoke racial sentiments for personal and political gain do not seem to value the goodwill that we have painstakingly built.
However, it is fortunate that despite the tremendous pressure by certain parties to ignite distrust and hate among the races, Malaysia in general remains peaceful, as the vast majority of people from all races are not hoodwinked by the racist agenda of those out to gain political mileage.
This is primarily due to the maturity and wisdom of the people who long for peaceful coexistence among the various communities.
This Merdeka is of special significance as it coincides with Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Let us make this Merdeka really special by joining our Muslim friends in celebrating this festival in the true spirit of muhibbah and getting rid of suspicions against one another.
Let’s not fall prey to the racist propaganda of the few who continue to instill hate.
This country does not belong to just a few but to all of us who have made it our homeland.
Dr CHRIS ANTHONY, Butterworth.