KOTA KINABALU - "Our country would be more prosperous, more progressive , peaceful and safe if we and our leaders could practise the philosophy of "Love, Serve and Remember" said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Bingkor Assemblyman, in his Christmas and New Year message, his first since being conferred the title Huguan Lundu Mirongod or Brave Paramount Thinker.
He said, "Love" is the highest form of responsibility. When practised no harm will come to the nation or to its citizens as we have a simbiotic relationship, with the nation-state, with one another and with our environment.
Just because we have different religious faiths or of different race, it does not absolve us from loving one another.
Thus, if our leaders love the nation they will most likely protect it and make it strong and safe and not steal from it. If our leaders love our people equally they will ensure peace and harmony exist and prevent the seeds of hatred and extremism from growing.
Here, the Federal leaders should take a leaf and learn from the recent Christmas celebrations in Sabah where peace and harmony ruled, quite the opposite to what is the hue and cry over in Malaya and condoned by Umno leaders where race and religion politics created fear and obstructions to racial and religious harmony.
As was customary in the past, family, friends and political opponents from all races, religions and creed merrily wished each other and gathered to celebrate the Christmas open houses. It has always been ever since Islam stepped onto the shores of the land before it was called North Borneo by the British and now Sabah in Malaysia.
At the other extreme end in Malaya, Islamist extremists and bigots were fanning extremism by objecting and calling for Muslims not to wish Christmas greetings to knon-Muslims and not to celebrate Christmas. It was worse in Brunei where official Christmas celebrations were even officially banned.
It is because of the love of God, the love of your country, the love of your fellow man and the love of nature that you serve them. Serving is a form of respect and the twin responsibility of practising love.
We help our neighbors because we love them; we protect our environment because they protect us by giving us food and clean water. Serving others means serving God, the ultimate source of our power and existence... this, we must always remember.
Remember that all things comes from God the Almighty. Without God, we are nothing. We must therefore always remember who we are and where we came from...our roots and our true self.
Thus, "Love, Serve and Remember" is a powerful philosophy of human discipline that helps leaders to be better leaders and people to be better humans which, in turn, keeps nations progressive, safe, stable and peaceful.
With the philosophy, the Federal political leaders should stop the race and religion antics and follow the Sabah Way in nation-building. If not, Malaysia will not progress or survive and will only disintegrate over time.
The Federal and Islamic leaders need to be progressive and forthright, remember and understand that Malaysia is no longer the Malay States and includes Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners and is multi-racial and multi-religious where freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.
Meantime, Sabahans should continue to lead the country with the Sabahan Way and show the people in Malaya what racial and religious tolerance and harmony is and what Malaysia or 1-Malaysia should be.
Wishing all Malaysians a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 and may the leaders adopt the "Love, Serve and Remember" philosophy and make Malaysia more prosperous, progressive, safe and peaceful.