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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
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
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 )