Embodying the Malaysia Cares Spirit
The National Day celebration this year is memorable as it was commemorated when our nation and the world at large are still struggling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Malaysia Prihatin” (Malaysia Cares) clearly illustrates the importance of a caring attitude in achieving the country’s agenda in the fight against Covid-19. The government has implemented several initiatives including an emergency stimulus package to counter the economic impact of the outbreak. Ultimately the aim is to protect the welfare of the people.
Amongst Malaysians, we witness that the Malaysia Prihatin spirit is not only embraced by the front liners but also by every Malaysian. By carrying out their responsibilities in adhering to the new normal, they become unsung heroes. They provide assistance in times of need irrespective of religion, race, background or political ideology. This is a positive indication which demonstrates that Malaysians can unite in the face of adversity. The positive attitude such as a sense of care and responsibility would bring success to the government’s efforts in containing the pandemic. On the other hand, indifference and selfishness obviously bring more difficulties to others by risking life and livelihood. Causing harm to others is strictly forbidden in Islam. This can be seen in an authentic statement by the Prophet SAW, “There should be no neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Ibn Majah). Based on this Hadith, Muslim scholars formulate a principle that emphasizes the need to eliminate all forms of harm. Thus, it is the duty of Muslims to avoid not only from harming themselves but also other people.
Patriotism, love and sacrifice for the country are important so much so that they are always highlighted during the National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations. From an Islamic perspective, patriotism and love for the homeland and its people is a trait which is very much encouraged. The Prophet SAW once uttered beautiful words to his homeland, Mecca which is reported in a hadith from Ibn `Abbas R.A., ““How sweet of a land you are and how dear you are to me, and if it were not that my people expelled me from you, I would not have lived in other than you.” (Al-Tirmizi). These meaningful words show that it is human nature to have love for his or her homeland.
At this point in time, it is apparent that we are facing tribulations that test our love for the country and spirit of patriotism. Patriotism builds a binding sense of solidarity and love for our country. As mentioned by the Prime Minister, the deep love for Malaysia is one of the powerful forces that makes people come together. This sentiment further forms a shared feeling and common goal amongst the people to do the best for the nation and be supportive throughout this effort. The support given by the people when our country is facing the threat of coronavirus as well as adherence to preventive measures such as the Movement Control Order is commendable. These measures aimed at preserving the people’s interest are in line with the Islamic principle that “the rulers’ decisions must be in favour of the people”. In this regard, the government can restrict the public rights if there is a need to preserve the public interest or maslahah. However, there are still many things that people need to do to prove their love for the country. This is particularly so when there are provocative actions without any sense of shame and guilt towards important symbols of the country such as the national flag and religion of the country.
The freedom to celebrate our National Day despite the unfavourable circumstances should bring about gratitude. This creates a deep appreciation to what our country has achieved in combatting Covid-19 when compared to other countries as well as refugees whose fate remains uncertain. We should be grateful for the basic healthcare facilities which are readily accessible, and the ability to take precautionary procedures including observance of general hygiene measures. It is really hard to imagine living in a cramped refugee camp, exhausted by years of war and traumatic experiences, and barely able to use clean water to wash hands. In Malaysia, there are also stateless people but their condition may not be as critical as refugees in other parts of the world. However, the fact remains that they face certain difficulties such as access to healthcare which is enjoyed by the citizens. Therefore, there is a pertinent need for them to take extra precautionary measures to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection.
The Malaysia Prihatin spirit will also be meaningful if our fellow citizens who are hit the hardest by the global health crisis and have lost their source of income receive continued assistance and support from the government, companies, non-governmental organisations and fellow citizens. Upon completion of the moratorium period by 30 September 2020, the effect from source of income losses would be more pronounced. The assistance and support will make those involved feel that they are appreciated and not feel neglected. By caring for one another and be appreciative of each other’s help and support would surely forge a strong bond. This bond would enable us to be united in facing the current and future challenges as one country.