Raja Nazrin Shah's recent strong plea to the young Malaysians to protect the integrity of the constitution to safeguard national unity is timely. But I feel that the national leaders should be the ones who need to take his advice first.
If only our leaders heed his advice on the matter and steer the nation towards the right path, we'll all be able to celebrate our 50th Merdeka Anniversary in its true spirit, irrespective of ethnicity or religious beliefs and just as Malaysians.
From the utterances of many of our leaders, it is beyond doubt that many of them do not have an understanding of the Malaysian constitution and its background and its spirit. Our Rukunegara that envisages the spirit of Malaysians is not comprehended by many of our leaders either.
As Rukunegara reflects the constitution, it does not use any terms to denote any particular religion - it is for every Malaysian. If all our leaders hold on to Rukunegara as their guide, we'll not be as divided as we are today.
We have enacted many draconian laws on the premise that such laws are vital to stop extremism that could cause uneasiness among certain groups. But why is it such laws have not been used to stop partisan groups from playing up religious and racial factors to bolster their own interests?
They use these as their weapon with impunity, whereas when the minority defends its own interests, it is considered 'sensitive and anti-national'. Is this the manner in which a parliamentary democracy works? Or is it the Malaysian-style of 'parliamentary democracy' which has its own meaning?
In the early years of independence, the national language was used as the unifying factor. We had the 'Minggu' and 'Bulan Bahasa Kebangsaan' anchored by the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka. Only after the May 13,1969 incident, a different agenda using religion as a unifying force within the majority race seems to have been embarked on. Nowadays, nobody seems to bother about 'Bahasa Kebangsaan' as a unifying factor anymore. And the role of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka in the process of unity is existent only in theory.
It is clear that those behind this move felt that all Malaysians will be able to master the national language well and if this happens, the majority race if left without any 'protection', hence the religious card has come in handy to fend off the perceived 'threat'.
But where, oh where were/are the national leaders who were/are tasked to forge a united Malaysian nation? For all the economic advancements these leaders may have brought to Malaysia, they must be held accountable for the sorry state of national unity in Malaysia today. The development of the Malaysian mind has been conspicuously absent in the whole education system, leaving it to breed ethnocentrism, using religion as a weapon.
Shortsighted politicians who have helmed this country have created this mess. Is there any hope that Raja Nazrin's comments will trigger some rational action in the national leadership? Unless the leadership changes its stance, it is no use expecting the young to be moulded as Malaysians using the constitution and Rukunegara as guides. The environment will just not be conducive for such a development.