Monday, 26 August 2013

Freedom Brings A Significant Meaning To A Nation

 "Even a great and powerful nation had to fight for independence from colonialism," commented a media practitioner at a function that this writer attended here recently. The media person declined to be named, but his words resonated with many in a country that set an example in the world by winning its independence in a most peaceful fashion.

Of course, he was referring to the United States where 13 pioneer colonies declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence by these 13 colonies was the hallmark of the American Revolution from 1775 until 1783.

The war formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783 which gave birth to a new nation, the United States of America.


The Federation of Malay States gained independence from Great Britain on Aug 31, 1957.

The Federation gained independence peacefully and without any bloodshed or related issues and formed Malaysia along with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore on Sept 16, 1963.

However, on Aug 9, 1965, Singapore pulled out from the federation to become a republic.

The media practitioner then raised a query about how the country would have been at this juncture in history, had it remained under the British rule?

Well, that set many a minds thinking, trying to fathom the unknown. "The Malays could still be finding it difficult to make ends meet," responded lecturer Amin Iskandar who was also at the function.

Amin said if the Malay States had yet to gain independence, then the Malays would still be toiling in the paddy fields, the Chinese would be working in tin mines while the Indians would have been working on the rubber estates owned by the 'Orang Puteh' (British) planters.

"The country's administration would still be controlled by the colonialists and all senior economic posts as well as education opportunities would have been under their charge," he said.


Achieving independence certainly brings a significant meaning to a country and its people.

The lecturer said the same thing applies to Malaysia which achieved sovereignty through independence.

"That was what happened to Malaysian. Freedom from colonisation gave its people their own identity, apart from the drive and commitment to achieve development," he said.

Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister, Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, (who was the Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003) used to say that the nation and its people have achieved tremendous progress in almost all aspects since gaining independence including in the areas of economy, academics and administration.

Dr Mahathir, who led the country for 22 years, had said that the independence enjoyed by all Malaysians meant that the people were not only physically free from colonisation but also spiritually and mentally.

Dr Mahathir is remembered as the Father of Modernisation but his most memorable move and one acclaimed by the international community was his success in extricating Malaysia from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.

He had rejected the offer of assistance and funds from the International Monetary fund (IMF) which he had said would have further worsened the financial crisis.


According to intellectuals and historians, the meaning of independence is obtaining freedom from a foreign power and rise as a sovereign nation.

They say the political power used to gain independence should be supported by mastering knowledge in an effort to hasten the country's development and progress.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of all Malaysians, particularly the new generation, to appreciate the true meaning of 'Merdeka'.

The task of Malaysians is to master knowledge in order to protect the independence the country gained in 1957 as without knowledge, that gain would be rendered fragile.- Bernama


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