Merdeka Day should be an overarching national celebration uniting Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation in a common purpose to develop a more democratic, just, competitive and prosperous nation – and any partisan attempt to hijack the Merdeka Day which can only result in greater division, dissension and disunity must be deplored.
It is sad many Malaysians feel depressed by this year’s 55th Merdeka Day not only because they have never felt so unsafe in public places and the privacy of their homes, but also because of the increasingly negative and discordant voices sowing distrust and hatred in our plural society and seeking to polarise and divide Malaysians particularly along race and religious lines.
Merdeka Day is a national celebration not just for any individual, group, community or political party. It is not for Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. It is for all Malaysians.
Let all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation rise above their differences to celebrate the 55th Merdeka Day as one Malaysian people to forge a common national destiny where freedom, justice, integrity and good governance flourish in our land and enjoyed by all our citizens.
The writer is DAP’s parliamentary leader and MP for Ipoh Timor.