The meaning of Merdeka is nostalgic because it was a turning point in our history.
It marked a physical independence from colonial rule.
But now 61 years later, it’s time for a fresh narrative, beyond the confines of just unity and harmony.
It is time we give a broader meaning to Merdeka as we embark on a new chapter of our nationhood.
For me, when we talk about Merdeka today, it is about taking ownership of our own future, instead of waiting for others to do it or to be told what to do.
Merdeka is about choosing to be world-class in our mindset, attitude and behaviour in our everyday work.
Poor standards are not an option.
Merdeka means not just tolerating our diversity, but celebrating it.
Most importantly, Merdeka means we respect, and prioritise home grown excellence, ideas and talents over foreign contributions which do not have the same patriotism and commitment to our national agenda.
We have come far.
We have a lot of work ahead of us.
We can only get to the finish line if we find common ground for common good.
This is the only place 32 million people of diverse backgrounds can truly call home.
Selamat Hari Kebangsaan.
Tan Sri Dato Dr Limkokwing is the Founder President of Limkowing University and has flown the Malaysian flag proudly on 12 campuses in Asia, Africa and the UK. He is in a rare circle of Malaysians who have served six of Malaysia’s seven Prime Ministers on nation branding and developed iconic national and international campaigns on nation-building and branding such as Malaysia Inc., Malaysia Boleh, Made in Malaysia for the World, Rakan Muda, 16th Commonwealth Games, Malaysia Innovative Nation, Harimau Malaysia and Jalur Gemilang.
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