LETTER | Amidst growing ethno-religious tensions, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) underlines that Malaysia is home to all Malaysians since 1963. Period.
Statements like “China is for Chinese, India for Indians and Malaysia should be for Malays” show complete disregard to Malaysia as the union of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. They have no place in Malaysia if we want our nation to remain one.
More than alienating non-Malays and non-Muslims, such statements reinforce a perception that Malaysia is internal colonisation of Sabah and Sarawak by Malaya, and fuelled discord across the South China Sea.
Like Malay Malaysians, all other Malaysians – be they Acehnese, Arabs, Bajaus, Banjarese, Bruneians, Bugis, Chinese, Dayaks, Javanese, Kadazandusun, Malayalis, Melanaus, Minangkabaus, Muruts, Portuguese, Punjabis, Rawa, Semang, Senoi, Siamese, Suloks,Tamils, Turkish, or from whichever other community – belong here and here alone.
GBM categorically condemns any call by any party to ask any Malaysians to return to Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen or any other foreign country and any insinuation that they have another country as their alternative home.
GBM reminds all that ethnocentric views that try to locate people’s value primarily based on when their ancestors came to a country are incompatible with Malaysian values.
Lest we forget the wisdom of ancient Malays in defining belonging and loyalty: "Di mana bumi dipijak, di sana langit dijunjung (Uphold the sky where we step our feet on earth)."
Lest we forget all great spiritual traditions hold that humans are a family descending from the same ancestors, notwithstanding their differences in skin colour, faith, language and culture; and we mortals can claim nothing to be permanently ours.
GBM would like to make a reference to Surah Al-Hujarat 49:13, which beautifully explains why we should celebrate diversity and uphold justice: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted”.
Malaysia stands on two pillars – first, the preservation of its Malay-Nusantara heritages: Islam as the religion of the federation, Malay as the national language, special constitutional status for Malays and the Natives of Sabah and Sarawak; second, citizenship right and inclusion for all.
GBM warns that any attempt to abuse the first pillar to destroy the second pillar will leave Malaysia broken. The two pillars must stand and be affirmed side by side in order for Malaysia as a nation-state to progress and prosper.
To this end, GBM urges all public office holders and opinion leaders to recognise the great responsibility that comes with their public office and public influence. If they cannot say anything to promote understanding, togetherness and solidarity, the least they can do is not to spread distrust and discord.
GBM prays that Malaysia will be blessed with the return of peace and love as we usher in the blessed weeks in August and September that mark our birth as a nation. At a time when irresponsible forces try to pit Malaysians against each other, let such actions be the reminder that we are family.
Families are families not because they always agree, but they still love each other despite all disagreement. If some people are so unfortunate to be devoid of such love, let we Malaysians be their example instead of imitating them in agreement or retaliation.
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