A paradigm shift for Malaysians

WHEN newly-minted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was asked last week how it felt to be the  country’s first Chinese to hold the portfolio in four decades, his reply ‘I am sorry. I do not regard myself as Chinese. I am Malaysian” made me really proud.

Lim, the son of DAP’s stalwart leader Lim Kit Siang, is part of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s cabinet of minister, with a council of world-class advisers who include the world’s best central banker, as voted time and again. And with them stands the former chief minister of Penang, much vilified before, who helped turn the Pearl of the Orient into a showcase of progress and heritage pride.

It’s about national pride, that this 14th general election sees a coalition of parties who have been kept as the opposition for decades get a shot at governing Malaysia. And it’s about turning the official political rhetoric away from race-based stuff to bread-and-butter issues that affect everyone below the …

“You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.”  The problem of economic inequality, the issue of economic distribution or even redistribution, knows no race.

As a Malaysian, a year younger that than the country, I want less petty politics, and more real work. Leave the infighting for that seat next to the boss to another day, and focus on the hard issues of today. Put things right, from merit-based scholarships and quality education and jail inmates dying in lockups to a fair playing field for the citizens of this beautiful land of milk and honey.

If our leaders act and think like they are Malaysians first, so can we the people. This may be the start to end race-based politics, with a cabinet of ministers who are of all Malaysia.

Which means, our mindset has to change to. It’s not Chinese, Indian or Malay when it comes to who gets to be promoted, it’s who is the best person in terms of talent, for the job.

It’s not an assimilation of dances on the stage when it comes to a national event, but who has the best concept of the love we the people bear towards Malaysia, our country of birth.

The sense of belonging, of identity is a struggle that every citizen of every country goes through. As in a family, you must feel that unequivocal love. As in a family, we must be able to talk about religion, wealth and whatnots without breaking into a fight every time.

We made this decision for change at the ballot box together.

Let’s make our lives better with wholehearted conviction, from a greener country with less plastic in our daily lives, to less corruption in our struggle to make a decent living.

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