UNI­VER­SI­TIES AND

New Straits Times - - Letters -

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DIALOG Rakyat 3, themed “The Role of Uni­ver­si­ties in Pro­mot­ing Na­tional Co­he­sion and Unity”, was held at Univer­siti Ke­bangsaan Malaysia.

The half-day fo­rum, hosted by UKM, drew par­tic­i­pants from pub­lic and pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties who were rep­re­sented by their vice-chan­cel­lors, deputy vicechan­cel­lors and aca­demic staff.

They reaf­firmed their con­tri­bu­tions to na­tion-build­ing, in par­tic­u­lar the pro­mo­tion of in­tereth­nic in­te­gra­tion in their in­sti­tu­tions.

The theme is timely or per­haps even a lit­tle over­due as the coun­try seems to be wit­ness­ing more break-ups and dis­ar­ray.

The peo­ple are dis­mayed by the fre­quent al­ter­ca­tions and con­fronta­tions that oc­cur in pub­lic spa­ces, some lead­ing to ag­gres­sive and un­to­ward be­hav­iour.

It seems as though there is an echo of Shake­speare’s fa­mous lamen­ta­tion by Ham­let, “All is not well in the state of Den­mark”.

To ad­dress this con­cern, seven civil so­ci­ety groups and in­di­vid­u­als have pooled their re­sources to form a con­glom­er­ate, Dialog Rakyat for Na­tional Co­he­sion and Unity. Its aim is to in­spire a move­ment of like-minded in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­mote codes of eth­i­cal con­duct at dif­fer­ent lev­els of so­ci­ety.

It is hoped that by adopt­ing best prac­tices and in­ter­ven­tions, Malaysia will be bet­ter po­si­tioned to achieve na­tional unity.

To achieve Trans­for­masi Na­sional 2050’s ob­jec­tives of train­ing the young to in­herit the helm of lead­er­ship and drive devel­op­ments fur­ther, there must be good in­ter­group re­la­tion­ships and so­cial har­mony.

Rapid eco­nomic devel­op­ment will be mean­ing­less if the rakyat is di­vided.

Among the ques­tions that need to be an­swered are:

WHAT does so­cial and na­tional co­he­sion mean?;

WHAT is unity and is it at­tain­able?; and,

HOW does one de­scribe Malaysia’s level of har­mony?

With­out doubt, the coun­try’s uni­ver­si­ties are among the best in­sti­tu­tions to re­search these con­cepts, mean­ings and in­ter­pre­ta­tions.

Both pub­lic and pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties, there­fore, have a cru­cial

MON­DAY, MAY 29, 2017

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