Ul­ti­mately it is unity that mat­ters

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - HOME -

WE HAVE just cel­e­brated Malaysia Day 2017 at Likas Sports Com­plex. The cel­e­bra­tion is held on 16 Septem­ber ev­ery year to com­mem­o­rate the for­ma­tion of the Malaysian fed­er­a­tion on the same date.

This year marks the 54th an­niver­sary of Malaysia; the join­ing to­gether of Malaya, North Bor­neo and Sarawak to form Malaysia.

For mak­ing Malaysia a pro­gres­sive na­tion de­spite dif­fer­ences in po­lit­i­cal be­lief, ul­ti­mately it is the unity of Malaysians that mat­ters. No one can deny that unity must be gal­va­nized with sin­cer­ity and sup­ported by the likes of unity in ed­u­ca­tion, cul­tural ap­pre­ci­a­tion, so­cio-econ­omy, po­lit­i­cal, re­gional, etc. In­deed, the need for all this sort of unity is im­per­a­tive in Malaysia’s cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

We take pride in the fact that ever since Merdeka ,Malaysia has re­mained peace­ful with­out fac­ing ma­jor se­cu­rity threats that could jeop­ar­dize its sta­bil­ity, peace and har­mony ex­cept for the May 13 1969 racial ri­ots and the La­had Datu, Sabah mil­i­tant in­cur­sion.

To­day, we stand out in the world as an ex­am­ple of how dif­fer­ent eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties can live in peace and har­mony and work to­gether for the progress and well­be­ing of the na­tion.

As a coun­try of di­verse races, cul­tures and re­li­gions, Malaysia is unique in prov­ing how its diver­sity could be united and har­nessed for na­tion build­ing.

De­spite the dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies and con­trast­ing views and opin­ions, we have been able to re­spect and ap­pre­ci­ate one an­other. We were able to con­duct 13 gen­eral elec­tions peace­fully with­out blood­shed.

It is in­deed a bless­ing that we have been a har­mo­nious so­ci­ety; how­ever we must not sim­ply rest on our lau­rels on the is­sue of na­tional in­te­gra­tion.

It is nec­es­sary for us to fur­ther en­hance and strengthen our in­ter-racial and re­li­gious un­der­stand­ing and trust for one an­other not­with­stand­ing what­ever dif­fer­ences.

We shall con­tinue with greater fer­vour and de­ter­mi­na­tion to strive towards build­ing our multi-racial na­tion into a united Malaysian na­tion with a sense of com­mon and shared des­tiny.

Na­tional in­te­gra­tion, a pos­i­tive as­pect is a very broad state­ment and vi­tal for our sur­vival. It re­duces so­cio-cul­tural and eco­nomic dif­fer­ences or in­equal­i­ties and strength­ens na­tional unity and sol­i­dar­ity, which is not im­posed by any author­ity.

Peo­ple share ideas, val­ues and emo­tional bonds. It is the feel­ing of unity within diver­sity. Be­ing a plu­ral­is­tic so­ci­ety, it is nor­mal that dif­fer­ent in­ter­est groups may start iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves, and press­ing their cases for a bet­ter place in the so­ci­ety.

Some­times the po­lit­i­cal cir­cum­stances can widen the sphere of such think­ing mak­ing an in­ter­est among the divi­sion want­ing to know more about the roles they are play­ing.

To achieve its ideal, the coun­try has to pool re­sources, via hu­man cap­i­tal, cul­tural, re­li­gious, sci­en­tific, nat­u­ral re­sources etc., to achieve one­ness in all spheres of life of the cit­i­zens of the coun­try so that the progress can be re­al­ized.

With progress, Malaysians can en­joy fruits of pros­per­ity and hap­pi­ness, liv­ing in har­mony ir­re­spec­tive of the race, creed, lan­guage, re­li­gion and cul­tural lean­ings pro­fessed by each one of them as in­di­vid­u­als.

With a fed­er­a­tion of 13 states and three fed­eral ter­ri­to­ries, our de­vel­op­ment so far has been rather im­bal­anced with most of the wealth cen­tered on cer­tain ur­ban ar­eas.

In or­der to ob­tain bet­ter dis­tri­bu­tion of na­tional wealth, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments needs to con­tin­u­ously and sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved.

Po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences be­tween the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers should not hin­der the best in­ter­ests of the peo­ple.

To most Malaysians, na­tional unity cen­tres on the feel­ing that we all be­long in ev­ery sense of the word; equally and with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion as we are Malaysians first and fore­most be­fore we are any­one else.

That means we cel­e­brate our cul­tural, racial, lan­guage, food and other di­ver­si­ties know­ing fully well that we are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked and be­long to one na­tion in spite of our var­i­ous back­grounds. We not only ac­cept our dif­fer­ences, we rec­og­nize that as our strength.

What has pre­vented na­tional unity from strength­en­ing is that we have stressed our dif­fer­ences as di­vi­sive forces and failed to cul­ti­vate it as strengths.

Not only do we not cel­e­brate our dif­fer­ences we have become in­tol­er­ant of them. Many dif­fer­ences have been raised in the me­dia to such an ex­tent that we ne­go­ti­ate for ev­ery­thing based on race, lan­guage and re­li­gion.

If that is not enough, quo­tas, job op­por­tu­ni­ties and ed­u­ca­tion, eq­uity stakes, all of these are be­ing split up on the ba­sis of race with po­lit­i­cal par­ties rep­re­sent­ing, ba­si­cally, races. Where have we gone wrong?

Geo­graph­i­cally, Malaysians should not be think­ing as Sarawakians or Ke­lan­tanese or Saba­hans, in­stead, we should be think­ing and mov­ing for­ward as MALAYSIAN.

Look­ing back since 1955 when we suc­cess­fully es­tab­lished the gov­ern­ment of Malaya then, our lead­ers firmly be­lieved that po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing are cru­cial to en­sur­ing sta­bil­ity and na­tional unity.

Hence. po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion through a con­sen­sus within the al­liance of sev­eral po­lit­i­cal par­ties, ex­panded with the estab­lish­ment of the Barisan Na­tional (BN) or Na­tional Front in 1971.

Un­til to­day, BN is the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of var­i­ous eth­nic and in­ter­est in the rul­ing gov­ern­ment.

The 1Malaysia con­cept in­tro­duced by Prime Min­is­ter Datik Seri Na­jib Razak is a su­perb step to fur­ther strengthen na­tional in­te­gra­tion.

We must en­cour­age pos­i­tive pub­lic dis­cus­sion and par­tic­i­pa­tion in crit­i­cal so­cial de­vel­op­ment, pub­lic is­sues and pro­gram­mers.

Es­sen­tially, it is ev­ery Malaysian’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to help achieve a truly united Malaysian na­tion.

The gap be­tween the more af­flu­ent ur­ban­ites and the seem­ingly hard up ru­ral folk needs at­ten­tion.

The dis­par­ity be­tween the two cat­e­gories of peo­ple could be re­dressed by means of cer­tain re­vamps in ar­eas of ed­u­ca­tion and econ­omy.

Many Malaysians agree to the sug­ges­tion of the teach­ing of English for in­stance, which must be more thor­ough and pro­gres­sive in ru­ral ar­eas.

This is to al­low the stu­dents a bet­ter foot­ing in com­pet­ing with their ur­ban peers. Eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in vil­lages and other ru­ral ar­eas should also be in­ten­si­fied as it will help to raise the liv­ing stan­dards of vil­lagers with­out hav­ing to move to the city.

We must share our sim­i­lar­i­ties, and at the same time cel­e­brate and em­brace our dif­fer­ences. This is the prac­ti­cal recipe for a greater Malaysia. Se­la­mat Hari Malaysia.

As a coun­try of di­verse races, cul­tures and re­li­gions, Malaysia is unique in prov­ing how its diver­sity could be united and har­nessed for na­tion build­ing.

For mak­ing Malaysia a pro­gres­sive na­tion, de­spite dif­fer­ences in po­lit­i­cal be­lief, ul­ti­mately it is the unity of Malaysians that mat­ters.

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