The Spirit of truth and unity guides Malaysians to a higher level

The scale of the bags and bags of luxury handbags, valuables, cash and foreign currency recovered from the former leader’s residence has left many dumbfounded.

May 25, 2018

By Anil Netto
The scale of the bags and bags of luxury handbags, valuables, cash and foreign currency recovered from the former leader’s residence has left many dumbfounded.

Most Malaysians were flabbergasted by the number of bags — some of them so heavy that hefty men struggled to lift them — being hauled into all those trucks.

This comes at a time when the prime minister himself has expressed concern that the national debt could be in the region of one trillion ringgit!

How did we come to this? Well, the slide downhill in a nation rich in resources has been well documented.

Even Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself probably now realises why it is so important to have leaders of integrity and strong institutions to serve as checks and balances in government, to be governed by the rule of law. Instead of ‘loyal’ officials, we need people who are trustworthy.

We need leaders of unimpeachable integrity in key leadership positions: attorney general, Electoral Commission chairman, police chief, Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission head, auditor general, Bank Negara governor, the chief justice and other judges.

They should not betray the public interest especially in the face of threats; otherwise the consequences will be as dire as they are now, if not worse.

The separation of powers — legislative (Parliament), executive (cabinet) and the judiciary (courts) — must be upheld. An accumulation and concentration of powers in the cabinet and in the hand of the prime minister is unhealthy in the long run — as we have found out the hard way.

The good thing is that it is still not too late to turn things around. Higher oil prices will allow us some breathing space to put our finances in order.

Mega projects must be reviewed to ensure they are not overpriced, they are really in the public interest, and they will not harm the environment.

A bright side in recent events is how we as a nation have risen above the barriers that divide us. Last week, we celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus himself told us that the Spirit would teach us all things and guide us along the path of truth and enlightenment even though evil may surround us.

As time passes, we find that Malaysia too is rising above the barriers of ethnicity and religion that divide us. This is the work of the unseen Spirit moving in our midst.

In the recent general election, we found that if we locked arms and focused on the noble aspirations that we share in common — rather than what divides us — we can rise and achieve great things, including toppling corrupt leaders peacefully using the democratic process.

That said, there is much work to be done. Many rural voters continued to vote along ethnic or religious lines. Did rural poverty contribute to this trend? Most of us have no idea what it is like in rural Perak, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah.

The peninsula itself is somewhat politically divided — the West Coast on one side, the central region on another and the East Coast on a third side.

We should also remember that up to a fifth of the people in Malaysia remain voiceless — the six million-or-so documented and undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. We should ensure they are treated fairly and are not exploited.

The education ministry is a key portfolio. We need to eliminate the divisive political, religious and social indoctrination of students. Instead, we need to nurture young minds to be more inclusive in a diverse society like Malaysia’s and stress the noble values we share in common, including an abhorrence of corruption and our care for our common home, the natural environment.

We also need to review our economic system to ensure that it empowers the marginalised and lifts rural Malaysians (and the hidden urban poor) out of poverty.

We must repeal all oppressive laws and never again allow other similar laws to enter our statute books.

At last, we have a chance to move forward and build a Malaysia we can all be proud of — perhaps one day a nation that is held out as a model of inclusiveness and economic justice among democratic nations, a nation that protects and enhances our natural environment.

May the Spirit continue to guide us. Come Holy Spirit.

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