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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

No ‘Merdeka’ amid corruption and arrogance, says Anwar

Opposition party leaders Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng spoke about economic equality, while Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia should regain ‘Asian Tiger’ status.

PETALING JAYA: Opposition party leaders have reminded the people to reevaluate the meaning of independence as they celebrate Merdeka Day.

“Merdeka” should not merely signify a change from British rule, said opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is PKR president, in a video message.

“The leaders change, but so must the practices,” he said, adding that independence should also mean a change from arrogance, corruption and denial of freedom and rights of citizens, and most importantly, efforts towards economic equality.

The people should evaluate what “Merdeka” means, and whether or not they were truly independent with leaders who were just seeking to protect their own interests.

“Have we really reached freedom? Did we manage to build leaders who do not hoard wealth and destroy the environment (for the benefit of) themselves and their families?”

“And did independence guarantee equal economic distribution that is fair to all, especially to the farmers, settlers and workers?”

He added that Malaysians must also acknowledge that independence could not have been possible without the rakyat’s support.

“They are the main pillars in achieving the country’s independence.”

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng called for a united national effort to fight Covid-19 and pull the economy out of the current recession, to revive “the Merdeka Dream”.

He said DAP was “willing to take the difficult step of working with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob” by adopting a national Covid-19 reset plan. He reiterated the need for a RM45 billion economic turnaround plan to normalise the country and the economy.

He stressed that DAP would remain in the opposition, and not form a “unity government” with Ismail.

“We are willing to work together if we can achieve institutional reforms, especially the constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds majority to enact an Anti-Hopping Law.”

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad called for a return to “the old ways of doing things” which had led to Malaysia being known as an Asian tiger.

Earlier today, Ismail had called upon Malaysians to band together and set aside their differences to revive the country from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his Merdeka address, he hoped that with national unity and cooperation, this could be the last year the country would celebrate independence under the pandemic.

Former minister Rafidah Aziz said Malaysians should free themselves from toxic politics, and take it upon themselves to put Malaysia back on the right track. “We must free ourselves and our country from harmful traits,” she said. - FMT 

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