A Malaysia Day Letter: Change Starts With Us

What’s can we do to developed our Malaysia? Andrea shares what she thinks.

Dear Malaysians,

Close your eyes and just for this moment, stop scrolling through your ‘news feed of doom’ or delving into the limitations of this country and think, how would you like to envision the future of Malaysia? 

What do you see? A more advanced healthcare system? World class education for all? Perhaps, a stellar economic growth? Well, same here. But more than anything else, I see our people — all thriving and united as the foundation and driving force of our nation’s progress. Behind that driving force is the commitment of the people to certain virtues and practices that make them strong.

The Commitment to Acknowledge, Respect, and Utilise Diversity

True unity doesn’t necessarily involve the adoption of one culture or way of thinking. Instead, we can think of it as developing more efficient public transport routes, and having links to one another to achieve a common goal.

We all know that Malaysia certainly has a lot of land to cover — we’re highly diverse ethnically, religiously, linguistically, and socio-economically. Yes, working with differences can pose discomfort and challenges at times. However, managed with mutual respect and collaboration, our diversity can make us a flexible and dynamic country able to tackle anything that comes our way — for what one cannot do or understand, another can.

Malaysians of all races coming together to make a change.

To Incorporate Compassion Into Their Daily Lives

With thousands of homeless people in Kuala Lumpur and a million households dropping into the B40 community just last year, we may often sit and think, “What’s our government and public welfare services doing about this?” 

True, but also, what are we doing about it? There are many inspiring Malaysians who’ve dedicated their time and effort to helping those in need, but there are also many of us who simply haven’t. I’m not saying that we all have to start an NGO or commit our lives to social work, but rather to deliberately find someone or a cause to show care and support to each and every day. Whether it be your neighbour, a child on the street, or your classmate that’s struggling, look out for one another and watch how collective compassion can heal a nation.

To Guard Their Minds Though Critical Thinking

We have our country’s security installed to keep us physically safe, but we’re truly the only ones that can safeguard our individual minds, which is the control centre of everything we do. To protect it with critical thinking is to practice thorough verification and evaluation of information from different perspectives, before acting, along with allowing rationality and good values to take precedence over the impulsivity of the moment.

This practice is especially pertinent in helping us stand firm against those who instigate racial or religious conflict, which Malayisians have seen over time to be particularly damaging to our progress.

A girl reading a book and presenting in it front of people.

To Pursue a Society That Practices Fairness

As a society, it’s important that we keep pushing for equity — an equal playing field for all Malaysians. In a practical sense, that could mean a good standard of education for all, aid distributed fairly to whoever needs it, rewards allocated based on contribution, and even a reasonable regulatory system that applies similarly to all. 

Equity is a sought-after human right, but how would this help the nation at large? If you think economically, the more citizens thrive and grow in what they do, the greater the possibility of having a nation generate income and perhaps garner more international investments. Sociologically too, the more esteem the country will be seen to have and the lesser it’ll lose its precious human capital to others, as we are facing today.

I won’t dare say that what I’ve written is a guaranteed success formula for Malaysia in the future. As we all know there are many more factors to consider.

However, I believe that true development persists because of the progress of the people. If the systems and physical infrastructures are the veins, we’re the blood that runs through it. That’s just how powerful we are. So I hope, together, we ground ourselves in what is virtuous and just as we move forward with love and hope for our people.

In closing, I’ll leave you, the person with power, with this question. From now on, will you be the change and action this country needs?

A girl in busy Petaling Street showing her patriotism by holding two Malaysian flags

Yours Sincerely,

A Fellow Malaysian

Andrea graduated in 2022 with a double-degree in Broadcasting and Business Entrepreneurship at Taylor’s University. Writing is one of her greatest delights and she believes in its unique power as the first step to bringing impactful ideas to life.