Greetings to all Malaysians on this joyous occasion of our 63rd Merdeka Day and 57th Malaysia Day celebrations.
This year’s theme ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ (Malaysia Cares) is a reflection of the spirit of patriotism, unity and love for the country which has especially been evident in the nation’s efforts in fighting COVID-19.
This year would be remembered by many as the year where we all had to make radical changes. With many of our plans cancelled, our schedules cleared, friends and family members distanced from us, adapting to new norms of life, it is natural for us to ask, where is God in all this? Be assured that God is still with us. Though our lives might be primarily stripped of normality, and so many labouring under new hardships brought about by this pandemic, God has not abandoned us. As the Psalmist assures us, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, He helps those whose spirit is crushed.” (Psalm 34:18)
This is also true for Malaysia. The strength of a nation is seen, not when things are going well, but when crisis strikes. Therefore, it was edifying to see people united in extending help and support in times of need, regardless of race, religion or political belief. We are thankful to God for those who led the fight against COVID-19 – especially all the healthcare professionals and front liners. The fight against the pandemic has shown that Malaysians can work together and be united as one both during good and difficult times.
We recognise that many have had to deal with a reduced income and unemployment. The economic aftermath has also put pressure on the overall wellbeing of Malaysians. In line with this year’s theme of ‘Malaysia Prihatin’, the new normal must be that of a greater concern and care for our neighbours, especially for those in the margins of society and have lost more because of this pandemic. We note with concern the different migrant communities, both documented and undocumented, who have been impacted most because they do not have the same social security safety nets as do Malaysians. We plead with the government to extend relief to all on humanitarian grounds and include everyone in its recovery plan as it leads our nation out of this crisis.
This year too marks the 50th anniversary of our Rukun Negara – a blueprint for national unity guided by the following principles:
The Rukun Negara was intended to achieve and foster better unity amongst Malaysians from all walks of life; preserve a democratic way of life; create a just society where the prosperity of the country can be enjoyed together in a fair and equitable manner; ensure a liberal approach towards the rich and varied cultural traditions; and build a progressive society that will make use of science and modern technology. On this significant milestone, we call on the government to recommit itself to these foundational principles as the anchor and integral narrative for all policy decisions in Malaysia.
The pandemic brought to the fore our ‘Belief in God’. It made us realise the vulnerability of our lives and our common need for God. On the 12th of August, our Holy Father, Pope Francis reminded us that this “pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable and interconnected we all are. If we do not take care of each other, starting with the least — those who are most affected, including creation — we cannot heal the world.”
At the onset of this public health crisis, we watched with much pain and concern at how a democratically elected government underwent a transition through political defections and party realignments instead of elections as is warranted by a Parliamentary democracy, where the people are allowed to choose their own government.
Events such as these have far reaching consequences not only for those in positions of authority and power but also for the ordinary person on the street. It impacts us not only politically and economically but also socially, emotionally and mentally. At a time when the country needs to come together to fight this pandemic and revive our national economy, we cannot afford division among our leaders and politicians.
We call upon all to put aside their differences and political squabbles and be united in working together for the good of the nation and all Malaysians. At a time like this, it is foundational for us to show that our differences matter the least. We pray that the ‘Rule of Law’ as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the spirit envisaged by the Rukun Negara will always prevail irrespective of who is in government.
May the spirit of ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ inspire the leaders of our nation and all its people of diverse races and cultures to work selflessly in resolving the nation's challenges, and to strive with steadfast will to make Malaysia a truly united and harmonious nation, guided by the principles of the Rukun Negara.
On this double occasion of Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia, let us offer up our humble prayers for our King, the Malay Rulers, all political and civil leaders at the Federal and State levels and for all the peoples of Malaysia.
May the peace and joy of our Lord fill our heart as we place our trust in Him.
SELAMAT MENYAMBUT HARI MERDEKA DAN HARI MALAYSIA!
+ Most Reverend Julian Leow Beng Kim, D.D.
Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur
31 August 2020, Monday - Mass is at 9:00 a.m.
Reading - 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
The only knowledge I claimed was of the crucified Christ
Psalm - Psalm 118(119):97-102
Gospel Acclamation - Jn8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
anyone who follows me will have the light of life.
The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives.
Gospel - Luke 4:16-30
'This text is being fulfilled today, even as you listen'