Christmas is a season of love and giving, of the hope of peace and goodwill.
As we gather with our beloved on this joyous day, lest we forget those who lost theirs – the orphans, the homeless, the abandoned senior citizens in our midst – those are the people whom government has the responsible upon to formulate long term policy to assist, besides giving out ‘goodies’ during the festive seasons.
As we enjoy our festive meals, lest we forget those who struggled to make ends meet for the family, bearing in mind 40% of our fellow Malaysian household which still earn a collective income of less than RM 1500 per month. Lest we forget there are more than 2 million undocumented migrant workers and refugees in our midst, often discriminated by the xenophobic segment of the society. Lest we forget the 34% of the workers of Malaysia who are being paid monthly salary below poverty level i.e. less than RM700 per month, who will be the most affected as the government is withdrawing the subsidies of basic food.
As we sing and dance in joy, lest we forget those physically disabled, who suffered from the inadequacy of disabled-friendly facilities. Lest we forget those whose freedom has been stripped away by draconian laws, those who had been or still detained without trial under Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance, and the 1,535 who had died in custody between 2003 and 2008 (and the number is increasing).
In this season of love, let us call for our country to be ruled by justice, to be freed from corruption and monopoly of cronies, to be a place where the people can live, learn and work without fear or insecurity, to be a place where all would call home.
In this season of hope, lest we forget that we are meant to be the good steward of God, to bring forward public good in the exercise of our faith. Let us keep our faith, that with genuine institutional reform and good governance, we can strive forward to make our country a better place.
Liew Chin Tong