Malaysiakini Opinion

Suggestions for the national unity minister

Nathaniel Tan  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | It feels like the portfolio of national unity has traditionally been a little vague.

Our newest minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of national unity and social well-being has kept a relatively low profile thus far, and it is a little unclear what such a minister’s duties are, and what effective versus ineffective measures look like - a nearly blank canvas, in other words.

Here, I would like to briefly explore some ways the new minister could quickly hit the ground running and effectively further the cause of national unity in Malaysia.

Let’s begin sketching out this roadmap by looking at where we are, and how we got here. In doing so, there is no shortage of recent examples we can use as starting points.

My hypothesis is that the following examples demonstrate that the actual issue of contention is often almost immediately left by the wayside, and overtaken by a whole lot of irrelevant baggage.

Basically, issues are often seen through the lens of what feel like ancient tribal conflicts.

In many ways, Malaysians have been trained to do this under decades of BN rule, in which race-based parties decided to see everything through a racial lens, and approach nearly every problem from a racial standpoint.

In the 14th general election, enough Malaysians finally said “Enough!”, and decided that they had had enough of this nonsense tearing up the social fabric of our nation.

Even so, the old ways die hard, and in these last few weeks and months, we have seen many adherents to the old culture attempt to perpetuate this type of divisive thinking....

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