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  • When independence means interdependent as Keluarga Malaysia

When independence means interdependent as Keluarga Malaysia

Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Opinion - New Straits Times
September 6, 2022


IT was barely a week after the National Day celebration that we heard of some "uncelebrated" news. The Kuala Lumpur mayor had said nearly RM700,000 worth of plants were damaged at Dataran Merdeka on the day of the parade.

This was attributed to the crowd that came in full force to enjoy the event. The large crowd after a long absence due to Covid-19 was understandable, but the damage could have been avoided if organisers did some due diligence.

Most likely the same happened in previous years but somehow not highlighted. After all, plants can be regrown without much fuss. Hence, it seemed unimportant then. But not this time, since finances are so tight that everything seems to count.

It is good to develop a new sense of awareness where nothing is taken for granted, especially on things intertwined with the preservation and conservation of nature. 

In order words, nature must take priority, for without it, we cannot survive. It must be well looked after and left untouched wherever possible. If this the principle that we hold on to, then, many steps could have been taken to save RM700,000.

At the very least, plants should not be placed where they would likely be damaged, or have better crowd control. Perhaps a mix between the two. It does not sound like rocket science, but thinking like a rocket scientist can take us to new heights.  

There are better approaches and solutions. Instead of the usual post-mortem after the damage has been done, a "pre-mortem" would be better. That is, taking proactive actions to save or minimise damage and repairs.

By now, this approach must be part of a holistic, systemic thinking that grow out of an independent mindset geared towards sustainability (read preservation and conversation) that enriches life.

The irony is that when it comes to preserving and conserving, all things nature are interdependent not independent.

The mayor also lamented that the parade area was covered by litter caused by the estimated 100,000-strong crowd.

This included the main routes like Jalan Raja, Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Tun Perak. This is even more damaging than the trampling of plants.

Littering leaves a lingering impact on the environment, if not cleared fast enough. Notably, the non-renewable materials like plastic bottles and wrapping.

No surprises here, as littering is commonly observed daily across the society. Any celebration, big or small, will suffer a similar indignity.

A sign that the mind is still shackled by values that kept the human person in disharmony with the natural environment.

In other words, it falls short of actualising that real essence of independence, which is about being interdependent, as expressed by the nation's coat of arms: Unity in Strength (Bersekutu, Bertambah Mutu).

So, too this year's National Day theme: teguh bersama, translated as "to stay firm together" as a united Malaysia family! Salam Keluarga Malaysia.