Malaysia’s 60th Independence Day: challenges to sustain peace, economic progress, and political stability


KUALA LUMPUR – Today, the Malaysians are celebrating their 60th Independence Day. For everybody here, independence means we are far away from imperialism, terrorism, dictatorship. It means the peacefulness that we are enjoying right now.

The secret of our peacefulness is the strong unity and high tolerance amongst the people of different races, religions and cultures.

The fusion in food is also one of the binding factors that pull Malaysians together – united in differences and diversities. Malaysians are generally peace-loving people and enjoy eating food cooked in Malay, Chinese, and Indian styles.

However, the country is governed and guided by many laws and regulations that maintain the peacefulness that we have enjoyed since 31st August 1957, when the British imperialists gave us our independence.

The unity amongst the three major races, namely the Malays, Chinese, and the Indians back in the 1950’s had successfully given Malaysia its independence without a drop of blood. It was done through discussions with the British via Malaysian leaders and politicians.

Nevertheless, existing laws and acts in the country can still be amended through debates and consensus reached through the people’s Parliamentary representatives. For example, the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 that allowed the government to detain people indefinitely without trial was abolished on 15th September 2011.

ISA was then replaced by Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 which was passed by Parliament, coming into force on 31st July 2012.

Malaysia being one of the member countries of ASEAN is very concerned about the well-being of its neighbouring countries and global communities.

Politically, Malaysia believes in neutrality and has diplomatic ties with most nations in the world. Economically, Malaysia follows an open market concept where high competencies are required of local entrepreneurs to venture into the global markets.

The transformation concept across the board that was introduced by the Malaysian Government under the premiership of Najib Razak has shown great improvement and progress in many aspects including the government delivery systems.

Over 60 years of independence, Malaysia has grown from a poor agricultural nation to a partly industrialised country and is now heading to become a developed nation by 2020.

The prosperity and economic progress that Malaysia is undergoing are the vital factors for immigrants from neighbouring countries especially, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Bangladesh; those who have come to seek their fortune here.

Immigrants either work as domestic helpers, workers at building construction sites, and labourers in rubber and oil palm estates across the country.

Meanwhile, countries like Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan in the Asian region are consistently acting as trade partners. In most cases, these countries import technology and automobiles to Malaysia as well as electronic gadgets.

One of Malaysia’s greatest achievements is helping Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar from being discriminated by the regime in February 2017. This was possible through humanitarian aid organizations and strong voices at international forums like the United Nations to stop the brutalities imposed on the Rohingyas.

It is impossible that there are no negative issues that the Malaysians have to face in their daily lives. The most gruelling problem amongst Malaysians is the high cost of living and the fact that the value of the local currency (RM) has for the past few years been much lower than the American dollar. Fortunately, the RM has recently managed to accelerate by a margin (from RM4.5 to RM4.2 to one American dollar now).

The most challenging aspect for Malaysia now is to sustain the peacefulness, economic progress, and prosperity. These aspects can only be sustained with the peace and binding unity of the people in the country.

The Malaysians are now waiting for the 14th General Election which is due any time now or, at the latest, early 2018. The General Election is the time where all eligible citizens are free to vote for their preferred leaders and political parties to lead the government.

Malaysia has just successfully hosted the 29th South East Asia Games (SEA Games 17) and became the overall champion with 145 gold, 92 silver, and 86 bronze medals – the best record ever made.

Eleven countries participated and it started on the 14th of August and ended on 30 August with 404 events in which 38 sports were contested.

Independence Day was celebrated with glory and happiness throughout the country following the victory achieved in the 29th SEA Games.


By Norila Daud, Senior Vice President of AJA

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