LETTER | Since time memorial, the greatest divisive wedges against living and co-existing harmoniously are race and religion. The Middle East has never known a reasonable period of peace. Religious differences had been the flashpoint time and again, causing endless wars and untold misery.
Kashmir is another notable example. The most recent tragedy in France is a stark reminder of what harm can be inflicted upon mankind by religious conflict. And yet politicians the world over remain stubbornly steadfast in exploiting this age-old animosity to their advantage so that they can divide and rule.
The scenario in the Malaysian context is no different. Local politicians take advantage of the intensely strong racial and religious sentiments of the country’s Malays with magnified versions of self-serving threats that are seemingly being inflicted upon them by the minority races.
These baseless and heavily skewed views are simply fabricated to prevent harmony amongst the races to reinforce their objective of being seen as championing the Malay cause, thus earning tremendous support from the Malay masses who will then reciprocate with blind loyalty.
Let us be honest and analyse the best way forward. In a multi-racial and multi-cultural country such as Malaysia, we should take pride in our rich diversity in culture and way of living and build on these differences to our advantage rather than driving a wedge between us to divide us.
Our cultural diversity is indeed a heritage worth our projection as a truly harmonious nation – one which we can showcase to the world with much pride and honour. Politicians are regularly harping on the erosion of Malays’ rights and privileges if the other minority races are accorded improved business conditions and opportunities, government positions and political positions.
Everyone knows this so-called erosion of Malay rights and privileges are totally baseless and untrue, given the fact that Malays occupy all top positions in the civil service, judiciary, army, police and other critically important positions.
Ask any Chinese or Indian around the country, and they will tell you this – we just wish to be given a fair share of what Malaysia has – period. We are not interested in grabbing power or ruling the country. We simply wish that our voices can be heard, get a justifiable share of the economic cake and an equitable share of academic places in institutions of higher learning.
It remains the fervent hope and aspiration of the minority races to a bigger share of the Malaysian sun, given the fact that they contribute 90 percent of the country’s taxes. In short, we have a simple wish of ensuring that our younger generation will be able to lead a decent life and be proud to be a Malaysian.
Malaysia has lost thousands of highly qualified and talented brains, and most of them opted to stay overseas where their talents are duly recognised and compensated. And our TalentCorp is finding ways to lure them back to serve the country. All that needs to be done is to modify our policies to be more inclusive, and many will consider coming back.
Towards this end, may I suggest that we embrace the spirit of muhibbah of the 60s. The Muhibbah campaign then was ardently pursued, and we could see racial walls crumbling as we started to treat each other with less suspicion and distance.
The campaign was promoted everywhere – big posters all over town, cinemas, radio and TV programmes and schools. We also teach school children to cooperate and work with all others regardless of race or religion.
We grew up with these noble values just to hear and see politicians harping on the contrary. If there is any politician who was in school then, I would like to hear his views on this muhibbah campaign.
All those who are around 70 years old would have experienced or participated in the muhibbah campaign.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.