National Day a time for reflection


August 31, 1957 marks the day that the Federation of Malaya gained its independence from British colonisation, six years before it joined Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia in 1963.

As Malaysians celebrate National Day today, it is important to reflect on our responsibility to protect the country and work towards building a prosperous nation.

For Syafiq Othman, an environmental executive, it is especially important for us to ponder on the true meaning of independence, especially the youths regardless of race, nationality or religion.

“Now, the roles and responsibilities of the youths are still the same. The only difference is that, in the past, the youths were fighting for independence, while today; the youths are responsible to maintain it and portray true meaning of independence. The efforts in building a developed country remains our common goal,” he said during a‘Randau Semasa AZAM’ radio interview recently.

Syafiq pointed out that the leadership potential of the current youth population was great.

“The proliferation of ideas by youths is important in assisting the government implement policies and plans for the people’s development and welfare.

“I hope that the youth can constantly strive for self-development, community and their beloved country to ensure that the excellence and prestige of the country will be sustainable,” he added.

Meanwhile, for another interviewee, Dr Abdul Rahman Saili, a senior lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Samarahan, independence can be translated to one’s self, where he or she can think freely, able to achieve the highest level of maturity and make wise life decisions.

“We must remember that this independence and freedom is still based on the rules of cultural and religious restrictions, ethics, laws and legislations and that freedom should not be misconstrued.

“Living in a community, the strong unity of thought is important so that we can collectively think and act wisely, maturely and independently,” he said.

He cited today’s community was still being ‘colonised’ albeit by modern-day masters like debt, negative perception and victim mentalities.

“On average, every day, there are about 14 people who are declared insolvent or bankrupt in Malaysia. This happens because of their tendency to spend more than income. Hence, the younger generation should always be reminded to control their spending wisely and do not be swayed by their desire for spending,” he said, adding that a total of 122, 169 Malaysians were declared bankrupt from 2007 to 2013 based on records from the Malaysia Department of Insolvency (MDI).

He also advised the younger generation to use social media constructively.

“Social freedom and its meaning are very broad. The most immediate example for us is the freedom in the use of social media. With the increasing development of social media today, more people are using it as a platform to channel their aspirations and opinions.

“However, currently, the usage of social media is widely abused and has strayed from its real purpose. This clearly shows that some people are still not mature or free from the colonisation of negative thoughts,” he added.

He hoped that transformation efforts made by the government, would change people’s perception, especially the youths on the real meaning of independence.

“They should be made to realise that independence is not only about the country’s independence from colonial rule. Rather, independence is a way of thinking, and attitude and behaviour of any kind that can erode moral values and identity should be given attention and priority.”

The radio interview called ‘Refleksi Di Sebalik Kemerdekaan’ (‘Reflections on the meaning of Independence’) organised by AZAM Sarawak joined by Islamic Information Centre (IIC) chief executive officer Zabariah Matali, and two representatives of AZAM, Mohd Hassnal Hakim Junaidi and Nur Shaqhima Hamden.

It aims to provide a space for the younger generation to reflect on the true meaning of independence in the context of the development challenges facing our society today.

For latest developments by AZAM Sarawak, visit and watch their videos on topic including youth and community development and the State that can be used as additional information to all, especially the youths.

Alternatively, keep updated through their Facebook page at

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