In the words of our nation's founder

04 Feb 2014 / 20:19 H.

    SATURDAY will be the 111th birth anniversary of the founder of our nation – Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. For a man who fought for independence and united our nation, had he been alive, he would have been disgusted with the current state of affairs.
    The unnecessary and needless politicking and stoking the fire by throwing in race and religion would have caused the Tunku to scorn such brand of one-upmanship.
    Today's column is not yet again another posting on what is wrong with our society. On the contrary, it is time to reflect on something the Tunku had advocated.
    What he said many years ago (most of our readers were not born then), still has bearings and implications for all of us.
    I am grateful to Datuk Seri Mohd Yussof Latiff, the chairman of the Penang State Consultative Goodwill Council, for his research into some of the thoughts, issues and concerns raised by the Tunku. He shared his thoughts in an email.
    Because of space constraints we have reproduced some of the great quotes which are still relevant in these trying times.
    ● "Among other things, it was agreed that Islam would be the official religion but that there would be freedom of worship and that everyone could live in dignity as and how they pleased. Everyone must respect these promises and the agreement arrived at. No one must assume that they were greater or could ignore these promises. If the promises are kept, I am sure Malaysia will continue to be a peaceful land…"
    ● "We are all Malaysians. This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation."
    ● "In the twenty-five years that have passed since the ending of the World War when the people of this country emerged from generations of humiliation under foreign occupation, we have accomplished much to our credit, overcome many difficulties and changed the course of our history."
    ● "The main thing which we have to remember is that we have got to make a home of this country and we have got to live happily together ever after. Let us contribute our share towards it, each and everyone of us, no matter what may be our race or creed."
    ● "Let us never allow disunity to divide or disrupt us, for if we do, we fail. Let us always remember that with each passing year, we must ensure that the bonds of unity and goodwill, of tolerance and harmony, grow stronger and stronger."
    ● "In such a country, what would one expect of a leader? One and all would say, the leader must be one who can mould a nation out of these characteristics into a united whole, for out of our diversities a united Malaysian people can emerge."
    ● "I feel that in doing so … as we always should, and forever remember in our minds and hearts, the need and the importance of harmony and goodwill among all the people of this nation of ours whatever their age, whatever their race, and whatever their creed."
    ● "Every one of us must respect each other's rights and feelings, be tolerant of each other's religions, customs and habits, for in diversity we can truly find real unity."
    ● "The last thing people in this country want to see is a Malaysia divided into political extremes, for a nation divided against itself can only invite trouble."
    ● "Our great aim must be to make Malaysia a haven of peace, harmony and happiness. We must strive for this with all our strength. We must be brave, we must be fair and we must be just, so that, come what may, we shall be ready as united Malaysian people to meet it. Merdeka."
    ● "The people of this country seem to forget that we are a multiracial society and as such it is our duty to cast away all racial differences and work together in unity if we are to attain peace, prosperity and a better life for all."
    ● "In our multiracial society, our Malaysian democracy, nothing is more fundamental than harmony between the many races which form the Malaysian nation. In fact, if I were asked to name one single outstanding quality to explain the success of Malaysia as a free nation, I would without hesitation say it is due to racial understanding and cooperation. Not only does this harmony express the trends of thought and feeling in this country, but it is a treasure of priceless value to each and every one of us."
    ● "The biggest lessons I learned in Penang Free School were how to prepare to be a man… possess self-confidence… how to help one-self… to get along with others, mix with them on equal terms… to take orders and how to give them… how to take punches and how to deliver them."
    ● "If we pull together and work together with the maximum of goodwill and harmony, there is no limit to what our people can achieve in the years to come."
    ● "The imperialist mentality and outlook should not be allowed to continue after independence, whether relating either to politics or religion. Co-operation and understanding could be achieved through goodwill and friendship."
    ● "We must each always think first of Malaysia, of the national need and least of ourselves …Everyone must try to help and see that the people are one-minded, with loyalty and one aim, to make Malaysia – the land we love – a happy abode for all of us. If we all do this then we can guarantee liberty, security, prosperity and happiness for the future."

    R. Nadeswaran keeps reminding Malaysians that there's no place for zealots, bigots and racists whose unwarranted chants threaten the fabric of our beloved country. Comments:

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