AS I SEE this 50th Anniversary
NEWSPAPERS,radio and TV programs claim it as ' di ambang kemerdekaan' highlighting the hours before midnight.. Tonight programs hit the streets and open spaces with lots of variety and shows. I suppose they will begin as early as 8.00 pm or earlier and extends past midnight. Rightly going against the wishes as voiced by the Kedah Religious Department through the 'khutbah Jumaat' read at the last Friday session. In respect of malam Jumaat it was deemed proper that extensive celebration of the merry kind be curtailed. That is not to happen.
Tomorrow will see a massive parade at Dataran Merdeka a show piece of the nation and televise throughout the nation. The commentator will have a field day describing the riots of colors, deafening noise and the uniformed groups that will show their marching skill practised over a period of no less than several weeks. All will be resplendent in their best uniforms. The crowd will go wild appreciating the grand show, wavering their mini Malaysian flags along with the dignitaries including cabinet ministers, ambassadors from foreign countries having their embassies here and of course the prime minister and the Yang Di Pertuan Agong accompanied by their wives. For several days the celebration will continue throughout the breadth of the country. Imagine the time, energy and finance poured to make it the highest point in the country's history.
All of us may have noticed that countdown to 31 August 2007 had begun as early as the first day of January or earlier with the Ministry of Tourism declaring 2007 as 'Tahun Melawat Malaysia' Many and varied programs were arranged to make the world visitors enjoy Malaysia. Did they make their marks? Does the number of tourists into the country met with the target figures?
Sarawak had its world forest music. Sabah its Kinabalu climbton. Kedah its Bendang Run and the Langkawi International Dialogue. Trengganu celebrated the Monsoon Cup with no sight of the monsoon storm hitting the coast. Wilayah Persekutuan held the International Koran Reading Competition. Of course Johore took the giant lead when the Iskandar Development Region which saw its birth with promise of greater investment and development. The Northern Corridor next materialised. Coming soon after the Raya break will be the Eastern Corridor. Great, Great, Great. Civil servants got rewarded with a super rise in their salaries. Government pensioners too had new figures added into their bank accounts.
Today we read that the government spent RM 5.6 million for a one day launching of the Northern Corridor agricultural show at Ampang Jajar Alor Star. All together RM 11 million for Penang,Kedah,Perlis and Perak. We are told that Sime Darby bore the expenses. It must be an extraordinary do. That much spent for a short period of just a day at each city.
We must be a very rich country endowed with wealth that seems to come from everywhere. The 9th Malaysia Plan took to the starting line this historic year too with billions of MR development projects spread throughout the country.
On Monday 27 August we were at PICC ( Putra International Convention Centre) Putrajaya to see the launching of the Higher Education Strategic Plan which will put Malaysia as hub of Higher Education in the region while giving the local universities self autonomy and new directions. An apex university will be established out of the present tertiary institutions having the distinction of recruiting the best students and the best academic staff and geared with its own mechanization .Then we would have a Cambridge or Stanford equivalent. Will our Bumiputra academicians and students get through the portals into this apex university? We pray for the best.
Alas with all the excitements, proposals and development seen happening, we are taken aback especially today 'di ambang menyambut 50 tahun merdeka' terdengar rioh rendah di Parliament when parliamentarians in the august house cry out 'traitor' and 'unpatriotic' just because the opposition members did not stand up together to cry out simultaneously 'Merdeka. Merdeka. Merdeka'. They will be at each others throat since provisions allow them to do so with the attendance of the Speaker as 'referee'.
Surely we hope Malaysia too has a polished referee to take care of its future many years ahead.
That we won the Malaysia Cup Invitation Game by defeating Myanmar 3-1 last night was a right start to football much needed push. It was delightful and warmth to see the Sultan of Pahang as president of FAM embracing each one of the Malaysian players as they come up to him to receive their prizes. If a beloved ruler and leader can express such care, love and admiration what's to stop the commonality to do so?We need to express such love and respect without qualms. More so on the highways and trunk roads.
How do you see the future of our country for the next half a century?