It’s time to close ranks and move forward as one nation
One thing struck me strongly when Senator John McCain and Senator Joseph Lieberman visited Malaysia about a year back. Although they were on opposite sides of the divide, McCain being a Republican and Lieberman a Democrat, they represented the US when they were here.
They spoke at the Kuala Lumpur Business Club and they were clearly non-partisan, speaking up always for US positions and interests, almost with one voice. The idea of Republican and Democrat was not there at all and both firmly supported US president Barack Obama, a Democrat.
But both Lieberman and McCain, although good friends, have crossed swords many times in the political arena and the fight between the Republicans and Democrats is a regular affair. They fight really big time, fair and unfair, during the elections. Almost no punches are pulled.
But when elections are over, it’s over. It’s time to get back to life and to unite under one flag. In or out of the US and especially when they are out, they are first and foremost Americans before they are Republican or Democrat, black or white or brown or red or yellow, Jew or Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or anything else.
We Malaysians must learn to do that, accept that elections are over, and overcome the disappointment. And these elections must have disappointed everyone – perhaps 90 percent of the people – but election results anywhere never satisfy all.
There is till so much to do. We have to continue to transform and improve ourselves and the economy, achieving high income and a better quality of life for all while ensuring we do this sustainably and include the entire population in the benefits that will flow.
As you probably remember, our true north is an income per person of US$15,000 by 2020, less than seven years from now.
For Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, surely we can identify common ground and put our hearts and mind to work towards that. Of course, we are not saying that differences disappear, but the idea is to find out where we agree and make fast progress with those.
For instance, both sides want better education for all. So lets get on with it and work towards that and look at the best means to get the quality and reach of education up by the most efficient ways possible.
We are working on a health metropolis, both education as well as facilities, to be located within Universiti Malaya. And since it is located in Petaling Jaya we need approvals from the local authorities and the state. And yes, Pakatan has retained Selangor but we want to and will work with them.
That’s just one example. No matter who controls the states, we want development and progress for all states. Otherwise people’s income and wellbeing will be seriously affected.
No matter who controls the states, we need local and foreign investment. We must work together, coordinate and help one another to encourage the investments to increase output efficiently, create jobs and raise incomes.
No matter who controls the states, we need infrastructure such as roads, railways, public transport, Internet etc. The Performance Management and Delivery Unit is prepared to work with the states to facilitate all projects which contribute towards increasing income and improving the overall well-being of the people.
Let’s stop the mud-slinging which was part of the electioneering season. We now have to do what is sensible and right for the people. It’s a time for reconciliation, forgiving and forgetting.
If Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in a South African prison before eventually freeing the country from the dreaded apartheid which kept blacks in shackles for centuries, can forgive his tormentors and forget his own enormous sufferings, surely we can when there is so much less to forgive or forget.
We have to move forward from out various stages of unity – from merely tolerating each others diversity and differences, move forward to accepting them whole heartedly and leap up to celebrating them and harnessing them for our common benefit and good.
Once we reach that final stage we will all be truly Malaysians, always not matter what. But we have to start now.