The people must reject racism in whatever form
The nation is undergoing trying times these days. Since March 8, not a day passes without some depressing news of infighting within the various political parties. The fear of the Barisan Nasional (BN) losing power to the opposition is creating tremendous anxiety among all sections of the population regardless of race, religion and political alignment. Of late these fears have taken a more sinister path of racial confrontation especially after the recent Permatang Pauh by election.
The euphoria of the March 8 elections that gave the much needed hope for a multiracial two-party political system is rapidly fading from the lives of fellow Malaysians. Instead the ugly head of racial politicking is trying to make a comeback which threatens to push our country backward to the sixties once more.
The recent controversy surrounding Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s alleged racist remarks, has revealed some unpleasant realities in the inter-ethnic relations in our country. It should be a lesson for all Malaysians that our race relations, which was once an envy of many, is still fragile and far from what is being portrayed to the outside world. As citizens there is much more to be done to cultivate it further.
This incident may be an isolated one but it is frightening to realize the tremendous effects it may have in a country of diversity where ethnic relationship is so fragile. Are Malaysians in general gullible to such racial incitement? Are they mature enough to ignore the ill-intended racial instigation of a small group of selfish and corrupt politicians?
The vast majority of Malaysians of all races are least interested in politics, most so in racial politics. They have other more important priorities to cope with – rising cost of living, education, health care and housing for them and their loved ones. These are more pressing issues that they are struggling to handle day in and day out with their meager income.
They have learned to live together with one another not just tolerating but respecting each other’s customs and traditions. They value the prevailing peace and harmony that they have built together and the last thing they want is conflicts and violence that would harm them or their loved ones. Such mishaps are evil that will destroy not only the intended ‘enemies’ but themselves as well.
While the majority of Malaysians are peace-loving and tolerant, it is very sad that a small number of corrupt and irresponsible people, fearful of their loss of power, are again resorting to the age-old race card to gain support and stay in power. They have a lot to lose with the rise of people’s power and they will not hesitate to resort to any means to stay in power.
Race based politics might have been necessary in the post-independence era where the people were all migrants from elsewhere but after more than 50 years of self-rule such race based politics is obsolete especially in a highly competitive and borderless global world. Furthermore the newer generation of Malaysians are all born and bred here with many never having set foot on foreign soil. Wouldn’t it be grossly unjust to still consider them as immigrants? They may differ physically and culturally but they are all Malaysians, here to stay to share the fortunes and misfortunes of their motherland.
It is very unfortunate that of late we are being constantly of the racial riots of 1969.Our children know nothing about those riots, why keep reminding them of that black day in the history of our nation? Isn’t it time to forget the past and move forwards to a better future for all, a future where all Malaysians can live together side by side in peace and harmony? Why harp on the few differences between us when we have more in common among us?
The political parties must come hard on their members who incite racial sentiments. The government must act sternly without fear or favor on anybody who utters seditious words that could hurt the sensitivities of any community. Above all it most important to educate the people that mutual tolerance and goodwill are the only way for a peaceful coexistence in a multiracial society.
The people of all races must rise above politics, race and creed, to thwart all attempts by irresponsible people who are out to create racial conflicts for their own benefits. The peace, harmony and well being of the nation depend solely on us, the rakyat. Come what may we must not succumb to the racial instigations of those who are out to cause chaos and confusion among the people of various races. The destiny of our nation is in our hands as we alone can make or break it. We must unite to do the right thing today which will be the pride of our future generations to come.