Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia initiative: launched on Hari Malaysia!

On the 46th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, another endeavour of hope has been launched: the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia initiative, the goal of which is to actualise the spirit and substance of "One People, One Nation".

It is an initiative by a group of Malaysians who believe that we can, and need to, do better as a nation. The difference between this particular effort and the others that have gone before and that continue to suck our precious resources, is that these folk believe in, and know, what they are doing. They:
  • Have identified the things (attitudes, mindsets, policies) that are holding us back as a nation
  • Suggested a set of values and guiding principles that (I strongly believe) our nation needs
  • Proposed a programme of specific actions to address those needs
  • Suggested many ways how we as individuals can help realise the goals, starting with things we can practically do
Why is there a need for such an initiative? Because, as events post GE-12 have clearly shown, our political parties (on both sides) have not been able to effectively address our nation's need for a national identity and consciousness; for justice, human rights, freedom and democracy. Even though DS Najib is promoting his One Malaysia, it is vague and undefined beyond platitudes, and seems to be designed to present different faces to Malaysians from different communities. Furthermore, even as our PM goes around the nation promoting it, his cabinet and their mainstream media are working hard to divide Malaysians by race and religion, just so they stand a chance of winning GE-13.

PR on the other hand, have fared no better. As Kg. Buah Pala has shown, they have made election promises which they have seen fit to break, resulting in injustice being done to poor Malaysians.

It's clear (to me) that we need civil society groups to be the voice of the rakyat. We need to educate and empower ourselves to hold our elected representatives and our public servants to account. We need to decide how our nation is going to move forward and progress as a diverse democracy. We have to do this ourselves, for the political parties have let us down.

Who are leading this initiative? A small group of Malaysians led by civil rights lawyer Haris Ibrahim, of the People's Parliament. They are the folks who came up with the groundbreaking People's Voice and the People's Declaration way back in February 2008. Here they are during the launch of the SABM on 16/9/09:

And here is Haris presenting the SABM initiative:

This is a video where he talks about discrimination, social justice, inclusiveness and diversity (apologies for the poor video quality):

Please do visit the SABM website here and please do read the SABM Charter if you can (note: I've also posted it here) . I believe that if we want a Malaysia that is free from all forms of racism, discrimination and inequality, we need to seriously practise its principles in our daily lives.

Malaysian Heart

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