Proud To Be Malaysian: Personal Experience (Part 3)

Masjid As Syakirin Masjid As Syakirin

Part 3: Malaysia is one of the most respected Muslim countries in The World and here is why!

I have traveled to some places including most of the South East Asian countries and the Far Eastern too. There’s no doubt that these countries have a lot in common with Malaysia especially if we talk about the Nusantara countries like Indonesia, Brunei, Southern Thailand, and Singapore. Even if we visit nations like Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Timor Leste, there are still some similarities.

However, this entry is not about my experience going to places. I do not have all the pictures with me right now to prove that I have been to these destinations anyway! What I wanted to tell you is about some of the experiences I had that can show to us, how valuable Malaysia is in the eyes of the majority of Muslims worldwide. Interesting isn’t it?

Langkawi is one of the famous destinations among the Arab tourists, in Malaysia.

My first encounter with an Arab who spoke highly of Malaysia was when I had just completed my SPM. I remember that it was early 1995 when I met a group of Arabs who visited my hometown for a study (or probably, doing research). I spoke to some of them who thanked me for driving them to the northern states (yes, I got my driving license in 1994, while waiting for the SPM exam result!). I don’t clearly remember the main reason why I drove them there, but I can still remember some of our conversations, especially if it is about my beloved country, Malaysia!

They wanted to visit Langkawi as they had heard beautiful stories about the beautiful island. So, while I was driving towards the Northern Peninsula, they kept praising Malaysia for so many things including the good highways, automobile industry (Proton to be exact), good food, good economy, education and many other things. All were just the positive things that they could think of about our beloved country, Malaysia. They also wished other Arab countries to follow Malaysia’s footsteps someday (that was like 22 years ago mind you, and see how much changes the Arab world have had since then?).

Then when we reached Kuala Kangsar’s R&R area, the rain suddenly falls, so they said “Alhamdulillah!”. They wanted me to stop the car and “play” with the rain. They were amazed to see the flowing water (that fell from the rocks beside the highways because they thought that those were the real waterfalls!). They said that it’s amazing to see a lot of rain falling from the sky and to see a lot of green scenery while it was difficult to get the green trees and grass in their home country.

In the future, Arab tourists may no longer prefer to visit Malaysia’s Sunway Lagoon – as they have built their own Aqua Waterpark called the Atlantis in the UAE’s Dubai.

After we continued our journey, they kept talking and praising Malaysia for whatever reasons they might have in their minds. They felt that Malaysia was very lucky to have great leaders such as Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (now Tun) and Anwar Ibrahim at that time (because they have made significant contributions to the Muslim world at that time). Malaysia was a role model, and they were so proud of Malaysia. Even until now, I wonder – what has Malaysia done to deserve that respect anyways?

Tun and Anwar
The strongest link in Malaysian administration during the 1990s era was due to Tun Dr. Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim leadership.

I was not sure about the world politics at that time, but I told them that I was just a teenager who loves to learn new things. They said that it is good that I wanted to learn new things, but I must not forget about my religion and roots. It was a very good advice.

Then, when I was in Japan – back in 1999, I met a Turkish student at a restaurant. He worked there and talked a lot about Malaysia. He said how he wish Turkey would someday have a great leader like Dr. Mahathir who managed to handle its own economy and did not follow the IMF. At that time, Turkey was not even in the Muslims mind like today. At that time, current President of Turkey, Erdogan had just completed his terms as the Mayor of Istanbul (1994-1998).

The story will go on, and we should be reminded of our history and successes of our past great leaders.