‘This is the meaning of Merdeka’: PM Anwar pledges to defend the rights of every Malaysian

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 30 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called on all Malaysians to join him in defending the rights of every Malaysian in the country.

He said no one should dispute the absolute provisions and strengthen the country’s Federal Constitution.

“The question of Bahasa Malaysia, the question of Islam, the question of the federal religion, the question of Bumiputera rights and the sovereignty of the Malay Rulers, these were upheld in the past, upheld now, and God willing, will be upheld (in the future) by recognising the social contract between all races, and guaranteeing each citizen’s right to practise their religion.

“God willing, the unity government with a Madani country will defend the rights of every people on this blessed earth,” Anwar said during his Merdeka Day 2023 address here.

The prime minister, in his address, also explained what it meant for a country that has achieved independence.

“The meaning of Merdeka means that the highest levels of leadership right down to the people must know that this country is a mandate and all the powers that exist, no matter at the lowest level in the village or in the district office right up to the Prime Minister’s Department, must shape the people whose souls are also independent.

“We must not allow this country to be used as a tool to obtain wealth for elite groups.

“A study shows that efforts to ensure the independence of souls must continue. The meaning of independence means all the country’s wealth, strength and efforts are meant to return rights to the people, raising the dignity of this country.

“And I am sure, if this spirit exists among Malaysians, Malaysia will emerge as a great and brave country in South-east Asia,” Anwar said.

To achieve a truly independent Malaysia, Anwar said all Malaysians must uphold the spirit laid down by the country’s forefathers that it belongs to all Malaysians.

“And what is this unity that we foster? To guarantee its future through policies and implementation now.

“That’s why I said... about management, governance, don’t use power to accumulate wealth for yourself and your family and cronies, that must be defended,” he said.

He further pointed out that the problems in Malaysia are not rooted in racial and cultural issues, adding that God created these differences for all to know and respect each other.

“So we must accept this reality. For that, we must focus on preventing anyone or any effort that could weaken the spirit of unity in our country.

“Don’t take this lightly, because there are countries that were once strong and civilised but fell apart, not because of governance and corruption, but due to played up racism and religion fanaticism.

“Just look at other developing countries. Differences can be a strength, differences could also damage the branches of the society and the strength of the country,” he added.

In the spirit of Merdeka, Anwar said Malaysia should not be known just for its landmarks, but must be known as country that is fair to all, including those who are disadvantaged.

“For that, we are proud that, this year, 2023, before the year ends, specifically in October, all schools in the country — public schools, Chinese, Tamil, Arab — all without exception, we guarantee that they will receive basic infrastructure such as toilets and roofs.

“For me, this is way more meaningful for millions of parents and students, compared to landmarks and big buildings,” he said.