YOURSAY | 'Children of different races can learn to be friends, but what's to be done about divisive adults?'
David Dass: It is tragic that we have reached this point. Student Hanis Naqeebah Hasri's views are particularly illuminating.
She has no non-Malay friends. She was afraid that non-Malays would not understand her and she would not understand them.
Hanis (photo, above) also admitted that “what people spoke about the other races also worried her”. That is all the more strange when Hanis' mother is a lecturer in Universiti Putra Malaysia.
This is the reality today. Many of our children have little meaningful contact with one another and are often fed negative views of different races and different religions.
Although this initiative is a good one, it is not enough. Much more needs to be done. How can we engage with the rest of the world if we cannot engage meaningfully with one another?
Apanakdikato: "I am the type of person who makes friends easily, and I am very understanding. It is just that the first approach is a bit hard for me, especially to make a friend from another race and religion."
This statement from a Malaysian youth is not only sad to hear, but it clearly signifies the failure of the government in integrating the people after more than 60 years of independence.
The root of the problem lies in the political system and parties which are based on race and religion. Until and unless this is eradicated, the people of Malaysia will continue to be divided along racial and religious lines because each political party will champion its own narrow and myopic causes, despite the laudable efforts at reconciliation by groups such as this.
In Singapore, where their founding leaders had the wisdom and foresight to put a stop to communal politics, race and religion have ceased to be electoral topics since decades ago.
Honma: Malaysians are very accommodating people. If we truly have racial issues, we won’t have been working in the same offices for the past 62 years.
I remember in the 60s, 70s and even early 80s, Malays, Chinese and Indians could sit together eating. It did not matter what others ate so long as the Muslims ate what was halal to them.
The problem is with politicians and certain so-called religious leaders who want the people of different races to be separated, imposing their own rules and ideologies.
It is pointless to have a ‘muhibbah’ or unity camp when racist politicians and religious leaders do not stop spreading lies about others.
Rupert16: This is a very good initiative and a good start to get students of all races together. It really shows up the lack of effort or initiative by the Education Ministry.
In the longer term, our country should start a ‘muhibbah’ schooling system where the education model focuses on bringing communities together, and training the students to be useful citizens.
This means the schools should be 100 percent religion-free.
Anonymous_19be5a84: Kudos to the organisers. This is indeed a true Malaysia which we must develop. One for all, all for one. irrespective of race.
This is something I am proud to see, and I hope Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Umnoputras and Harapan's racist ministers will see and learn.
Hopefully, we will see some light at the end of this long tunnel BN, and now Harapan, are building.
Shanmugam VK Subrayan: Well, you all can come to Kolej Yayasan UEM in Lembah Beringin to see how children of different ethnicities and religions work together as a family in a remote area far from politicians' reach.
They study, play and celebrate all religious festivals together in all their joy, despite some little Napoleons trying to dictate terms.
We, teachers, are proud of them as our future leaders.
NoFaham: Just stop politicians from grouping on racial and religious grounds, and the problem will be resolved.
Malaysia should deregister racial parties like Umno, MCA, MIC, and Bersatu, and religious parties like PAS and Amanah, and stop all religious leaders from commenting on politics.
Harry Mou: First, we must ban any political party that is mono-ethnic and/or religion-based.
Then, enact an anti-racism law. This will be a surer way to achieve harmony.
Pecker: Efforts like this, though laudable, are not the solution to race relations. The way to promote good understanding and relationships should start from childhood, in kindergartens and primary schools.
So, do away with the vernacular schools that segregate pupils from small. This idiotic schooling system, for the sake of narrow racial interests, is adopted nowhere else in the world.
Kawak: This ‘muhibbah’ camp is a good initiative. Sadly, they are not going to get support from opposition political parties, which constantly play with racial sentiments to get ethnic support to survive. Some political parties in the government are also culpable for this.
Moreover, having a camp for a small group of students once a year has no impact. It will take a lot of resources to organise interethnic school activities nationwide to achieve the same aim.
The problem of ethnic relations in Malaysia will further erode in the future due to political parties, particularly the Umno/PAS combo using race and religion to gain votes.
The deteriorating standard of the national schools and its Islamisation will further drive non-Muslims parents from enrolling their children in such schools.
Brandon: Excellent effort. It shows the basic problem of today: we are not communicating with one another. In a country like ours, it is ridiculous not to have friends of other races. ‘Tak kenal, maka tak cinta’ (If you don't know, then you don't love).
Gaji Buta: By the way, what is the Unity Ministry doing?
The Analyser: Whenever I see a group of Malaysians in uniform, whether they be students or politicians, I know that nobody is thinking.
Because that’s what the autocrats want - the control and repression of individuality.
The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. In the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.
These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.