Whilst the French national motto of liberty, equality, fraternity had its origins from the 1848 February revolution, we in Malaysia have proudly shown the world that the people’s desire for change can be achieved through a peaceful democratic process. Fundamental to this desire for change has been the growing concern and impact of the large income disparity between the rich and poor and a desire for a just and caring society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably distributed. Whilst the need to fix the ever- increasing financial gap is essential and urgent, other forms of inequality will also need to be addressed. Equality must be promoted and practised in every aspect of life be it gender, race or social class. Central to this is to recognise the equality of all individuals as citizens and as children of God. Replacing the decades long race-based policies with one that is merit-based and that favour the poor in general regardless of race and religion will be one of the biggest challenges the new government has to face.
Much hope is being pinned on this new administration to right the wrongs of the last few decades and to rebuild the nation. However, change can only come if each and every one of us embrace a new culture that values integrity over dishonesty, excellence over mediocrity, hard work over hand-outs. Openness, transparency and accountability will be our new Essential Medicines. Malaysia has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources, free from natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons and a strategic geographic location. Our diversity is our strength. Let us together move forward to heal and rebuild the nation and put it back on track to become a developed nation not just in our economic achievements but also in our moral substance and values.
* Professor Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman is the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at University of Malaya.