Pak Lah enters blogosphere

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KUALA LUMPUR: Troubled by the hostile tone of public statements and the increasing rancour between communities in Malaysia, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has made a surprising entry into the blogosphere.

Pak Lah, as he is affectionately known, posted his first entry on on Malaysia Day yesterday and shared his views on the meaning of independence and unity.

“As Malaysians, we are very proud of the diversity in our nation and we have promoted it around the world as an impressive treasure. But lately, many among us focus not on our diversity, but on our differences in political views, race, religion, and living standards.

“Such differences if left unchecked will escalate into fights that know no bounds,” he wrote in the posting “Erti Kemerdekaan dan Perpaduan (The Meaning of Independence and Unity)”.

Abdullah said tolerance and mutual respect among the people had diminished. The freedom to speak in social media and other sites on the Internet had been used to express racial anger, he said.

“I am sad to see what is happening in our country, despite all the efforts put into forging unity among the races,” he wrote.

Abdullah said the people were feeling less spirited in celebrating the Merdeka season from Aug 31 to Malaysia Day yesterday. adding that such feelings should not be something seasonal.

“We must ‘merdeka’ (be free or independent) in our hearts and be united in our souls,” he said. “Unity must be with us in our hearts all the time.”

He said it was normal for people to have different views in a democracy but this should not lead to fights.

“The government chosen democratically must be given the chance to govern, whether it is Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat,” he wrote. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 17, 2014.