To me, Malaysia is not the land, it is not the government, it is not the flag. Malaysia is us – You and I, the rakyat.
For without us the rakyat, even if there is only land, only the government and only the flag – there will not be Malaysia.
We are the rakyat who makes the country, and let us not forget about that. Let not the powers that be forget that too.
Let not the people’s representatives forget that we are the ones who put them there by merely crossing their name on a small piece of paper and they are only there to govern, to serve us, and not themselves or their families and cronies.
The members of the government of the day are solely our caretakers, not our owners.
We will pay our taxes and tolls, but we expect those to be returned to us in kind – in better facilities, better services, better schools, better roads, better public transport, better houses for the poor – an environment worthy of the respect and trust we give them.
The richer among us would expect our taxes and alms to be distributed to the poor and needy, not to the coffers of the top ranks.
We expect the three branches of the government – the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislative – to always have us as the top priority in everything and anything they decide.
The opposition Aduns and MPs too must understand that they have not been elected into state assemblies or Dewan Rakyat in Parliament to gloat or to serve their own goals. They are there to represent us in suggesting better ideas and telling off the government when they stray from serving the rakyat.
Should the government of the day or our Aduns, MPs and Senators do not respect our trust, it is our duty as the rakyat to remind them and if need be, give them a good paddle on their behinds when they fall short of our expectations, for we the rakyat only deserve the best.
The little cross of ours in the small piece of paper in the next election should do the trick for many.
If the civil service fails us, You and I will ensure the civil servants know what is coming, and that they are not worthy of our taxes.
You and I are the masters of this country Malaysia, and as our forefathers envisioned, we shall live by democracy, by our Rukun Negara and by our constitution.
This Merdeka Day is all the more meaningful for us, as we the rakyat suffer the high cost of living, amid a volatile global economy. Our political stability too are being bandied about, but You and I expect better and we will strive to be better.
Political and economy stability are not the only things we want – as there is our culture, race and religion which we hold dear, which we carry proudly, but the dearest to You and I is the dignity we carry as Malaysians.
It is this dignity that we the rakyat must strive to keep, which You and I will struggle to cherish and honour. We will never shame our name as Malaysians, no matter how there will be racists and extremists and greedy ones who want to take that away.
To those who say our voices cannot be heard and we cannot speak out aloud, we shout it out to them again and again that we dictate how the country is run.
There will be those who try to tell us that the country can come second to us, but You and I know very well that we and Malaysia cannot be separated. We are the same entity. If we quiver, the country quivers. If we let the corrupt and lawless to take over us, Malaysia will be gone.
So, this Merdeka Day, let You and I – the rakyat – stand tall together and hold dear this country of ours, and be truly Malaysia.
Selamat Hari Merdeka!