Simply put, independence, as generally understood today, encompasses the question of the sovereignty of the people, religion, and the nation in a whole host of issues that are material in nature. An independent nation most certainly has the right to determine the form it will take, without interference from external parties. This is evident when we trace the events experienced by our forefathers and national warriors who sacrificed their energy, possessions, and lives to protect this nation from a variety of threats and attempts at subjugation. It was their indomitable courage and confidence that have brought us to where we are today.
The journey of a people through history, negotiating a tortuous trek fraught with challenges, must be conscientiously cherished as a resource of object lessons on continuing to remain relevant with every change. Concern for the position and the fate of the people must be a burden borne by each and every one of us. Hence, the strong waves of challenges and trials that repeatedly batter the vulnerable shores of our nationhood, religion, and integrity as a people, must be thwarted with caution and prudence. Every issue or matter that arises must be minutely analysed so as to ascertain its true point of departure. Though there are differences amongst us in terms of the way we think, we can reach consensus through mature, scholarly, and sincere discussions. Likewise, our freedom of mind and soul, in which we take pride, must be guided by faith and the recommendations of religion.
The purpose of commemorating the anniversary of the nation’s independence every year is to revitalize national aspirations and resolve, as well as to afford every citizen the opportunity to reaffirm their allegiance to the people and the nation. Every drop of blood, sweat, and tears that were shed by our warriors of yore, be their role big or small, stemmed from a deep sense of service that we can never hope to repay. Thanks to the beneficence of their sacrifice, Malaysia has continued to succeed in peace and prosperity long after gaining independence.
The theme of Malaysia’s 2015 National Day celebration, Of One Heart and One Soul, (Sehatisejiwa) is eminently apt as it reflects the spirit and the atmosphere that pervade the nation today. The theme, announced by the Honourable Minister of Communication and Multimedia, was created to express the palpable cohesion, understanding, sense of belonging, and humanity of the Malaysian people, no matter where they may be. It is clear that the role of every citizen in this cohesive society is crucial to determining the standing of this nation on the world stage.
As an attempt to fulfil the requirements towards this end, I would like to invite every member of the UUM community to appreciate and uphold the true meaning of our national day, which we will be celebrating on 31 August 2015. I hope that our efforts for the good of the people and the nation receive divine mercy and blessings.
Wabillahi Taufik Walhidayah, Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Professor Dato' Wira Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak
Universiti Utara Malaysia