Let Us Usher In The New Year With Renewed Commitment, Determination – Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

KOTA KINABALU: The Spanish philosopher George Santayana famously quoted “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.


Before we close the chapter of the year we are about to leave behind, let us reflect on the disastrous events as reminder to increase our resolve for mitigation or prevention. 2021 has been a tumultuous year filled with challenges.

Covid-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives as new variants manifest themselves globally. It changed the way we live, it affects every level of society and takes a toll on the economy.

Malaysia was initially commended for the steps she took to contain the pandemic. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to those in the corridors of power, we let our guard down so much so that the pandemic reached unprecedented level, recording high death and infection rates.

Just as we grapple with the pandemic, the extreme weather attributed to the Tropical Depression caused the flood disaster in several states leading to a number of deaths. To the families of the victims, Ikatan extends our heartfelt condolences. We also extend our sympathies to the thousands of families that have been displaced.

While the flood victims were seriously traumatised, the rakyat by and large note with frustration that the action by the powers that be fell short of expectations and rescue efforts have various shortcomings.

The disaster in Taman Sri Muda and elsewhere showed rescue efforts were badly managed. It has opened our eyes to see that the agencies are initially not fully prepared in dealing with the floods. The coordination effort could have been better.

Indeed, the impacts of climate change have been made worse when coupled with disasters stemming from man-made actions such as indiscriminate development, encroachment into environmentally sensitive areas and over-development that had benefit a few but had adversely impacted the masses. The government and development players must be fully committed to precautionary approach in development in order to protect and cushion the blows of disasters such as floods, landslides and land subsidence upon our communities.

If there is one thing that reflects the true spirit of Malaysia, it is the solidarity among the rakyat in times of crisis. The front-liners of covid19, particularly the staff of Ministry of Health and the Malaysians volunteers worked tirelessly round the clock. Specific mention must be made of the numerous volunteers from NGOs, or as individuals who braved the dangers to help those affected by the MCO and also the flood victims. They are our unsung heroes.

The Fire and Rescue department personnel, the armed forces and the police also did their part.

The ordinary Malaysians, have come together during the flood crisis to help each other not blinded by race and religion. It was so heartening to see Malaysians united to help fellow Malaysians in the true spirit of voluntarism and “keluarga Malaysia”. It shows that at heart, we are all Malaysians, caring, compassionate, colour blind as we have strived to be.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the floods will take time before we resume our normal lives. We have to be strong to wade the metaphoric tide. Let us take this opportunity for our leaders and citizens to self-reflect. We live to learn well, and learn to live well.

We shall never carry into 2022 the mistakes of the past. Life can only be understood backwords; but it must be lived forwards. With that let us usher in the new year.


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