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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gratitude

Gratitude

Malaysians are in the mood of celebrating Hari Raya and the Merdeka Day. In addition to enjoying the double festive holiday, we should also take the opportunity to learn being grateful and appreciative.

Gratitude does not mean to reciprocate the government's goodwill or the performance of politicians, but the graceful favour and protection provided by this piece of land.

Malaysia is a paradise without natural disaster. When the Americans, Taiwanese and Chinese are suffering fear of hurricanes Irene and Nanmadol, Malaysians are comfortably celebrating the festive seasons with family and friends at home.

Tens of thousands of people have starved to death in Africa. When 2.4 million of Africans were waiting for aid, hotels and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur were filled with people waiting to break fast and the Chinese were busy preparing bountiful offerings to celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival.

When many children in Afghanistan lost their limbs in war, children in Malaysia were brought to buy new clothes and shoes during the month of Ramadan.

This piece of land has brought us wealth of petroleum and palm oil. The net profit of Petroliam Nasional Bhd's (Petronas) jumped 48.6% from RM14.6 billion a year ago to RM21.7 billion for the first quarter ended 30 June this year. It paid dividends amounting to RM12 billion to the government.

With the wealth, the government is able to continue assisting the poor. For example, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the 1Malaysia People's Welfare Programme (Karisma) on 24 August 2011 and announce a RM1.4 billion fund for the underprivileged group.

The government is also able to continue implementing social restructuring programmes, such as allocating RM2 billion for the Entry Point Project (EPP).

People's elected representatives and civil servants also benefit from the national wealth. A total of RM2 billion was allocated for the bonus payment of 127 million on-the-job and 590,000 retired civil servants. Meanwhile, the Sabah state government has also allocated RM1.66 million for medical expenses of 60 state assembly members.

Malaysia is indeed a blessed land and thus, we should be grateful, appreciative and use the resources well. Otherwise, if we take the cherished life for granted, the graceful favour might then turn into a curse.

If the wealth of petroleum weakens our will and hollows out our fighting spirit, the wealth would then become a curse.

If reform is delayed because of the wealth of petroleum , and protection and assistance policy is continued instead of implementing the performance-based system, the competitiveness of Malaysia would sink to another low.

When assistance comes in an easy way, it might develop the bad habit of extravagance, such as loopholes in government projects, wild spending and even food waste during open houses.

The people lack a sense of crisis and do not appreciate life because we have not experienced a massive natural disaster. At least 200 people die during each festive season.

This piece of land has been too kind to human beings and thus, we should really appreciate it and turn the resources into a momentum to move forward. Only by doing so, Malaysia can avoid turning the graceful favour into a curse and become a true paradise.

- Lim Sue Goan, MySinchew

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