Malaysians must acquire new values

... continued from page 1

Young Malaysians want to drive fast cars, shop in upto-date malls, live in beautiful bungalows in blue-stocking areas. (There is nothing wrong with that.) They do not want to eke out a living with poor pay, working during ungodly hours, live in rumah haram or in pondok kilat with no sanitation or in over-crowded sections of the capital with poor facilities such as a lack of schools security and social services.

Who can blame them?

My parents always told me that poverty is not natural. We can and many have overcome poverty through education, hard work, foresight and a bit of luck. Agriculture is rich and undertapped in Malaysia, yet we are abandoning work and careers in plantations and the cultivation of rice, fruits and vegetables, orchards and the tilling of land.

I would urge the government to emphasise industry in agriculture side by side with our multimedia, and industrial programmes so that in a time of recession, such as now, we would have enough homegrown rice, fruits and vegetables, sugar and salt instead of depending on a large extent on our neighbour's and importing from distant lands.
Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia's tourism attraction.

I realize nobody is more aware of this than the government and I dare hope it will put great
emphasis on agricultural development, and increase the incomes of our framer- planter& fishermen, growers and smallholders.

Let us, all work harder not because Mahathir has asked us to do so rather because we ourselves realize that hard work is vital if we are to recover soon enough. We are resilient people who have endured and overcome previous adversities. There is no end-of-the-world feeling even among the most pessimistic Malaysians I meet. I note no anxious eyes and nervous smiles. I know we have nine lives (like a cat).

It is incumbent to realize that your neighbour's well being is as much as your concern as it is the government's. Just as your neighbour's prosperity is also your prosperity. Economic imbalance as demonstrated to us 29 years ago was a great source of danger to racial harmony. It remains valid today.

In trying to achieve all this, in the desire for greater human rights and freedom of speech, may I remind leaders what former Lord President Tun Mohamad Suffian Hashim said three decades ago" "that in the interest of national unity even parliamentary privilege has been curbed." Then, he explains in detail what he means in Introduction to the Constitution of Malaysia, Please reread it. The book tells it as it is. Suffian is liberal, and highly regarded, especially in the Bar Council.

In Kuala Lumpur, rumors tend to be exaggerated, however, somehow one or two always turn out to be true. Whatever, they should not cause unnecessary nervousness particularly among those who have lived in the capital long enough.

In any event, we do have a long and hard furrow ahead but we will tackle it with gusto morning, noon and night, working and working.

Dato' Abdullah Ahmad is Malaysia's Special Envoy to the United Nations

(This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Sun )