Malaysia's multicultural nature does not change the fact that there are many who do not venture beyond their own communities, said DAP's Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang.
The veteran with 50 years experience in politics said reaching out to communities that live in isolation from other races has been the "greatest challenge" of Malaysian politics.
"In our plural society today, there are still Chinese who are living completely in the Chinese world, Malays who are living in a completely Malay world, Indians who are living in a completely Indian world, and the same goes with the Ibans and the Kadazans.
"Our greatest challenge is how to reach them, the Chinese living in a completely in the Chinese world, Malays living in a completely Malay world and the Indians living in a completely Indian world, to share with them a larger Malaysian picture and perspective - to share our ideals that this beloved Malaysian nation belongs to all of us, that we have a shared destiny," Lim said.
He said this in a statement to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the death of DAP stalwart P Patto.
Lim said this was Patto's lifelong mission and "unfinished business".
"It is no easy task. We may even fail as there is no guarantee of success. But what we can be sure of is that if this Malaysian mission fails, then there is no way that Patto’s Malaysian Dream, which we all share, can succeed.
"Patto’s Malaysian Dream is the dream of all patriotic Malaysians. We must therefore labour to realise the Malaysian Dream, whatever the odds," he said.
Fluent in multiple languages and various Chinese dialects, Patto appealed to Malaysians of all races and was at ease with all, his daughter, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto recalled.
Lim's memories of Patto also cut across racial barriers.
In 1974, he said, they both campaigned for DAP election candidate for Alor Pongsu Che Rose Abdullah, who secured some 3,500 votes, including a significant Malay support in the area.
Patto served as DAP's Gopeng assemblyperson, Menglembu MP and Bagan MP. He died of a heart attack on July 12, 1995 at the age of 49.