Saturday, March 07, 2009

Accepting one another as Malaysians

Refer to “Equal rights for all Malaysians, says Perlis ruler”(NST,March 6)

The reminder by the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Syed Jamalullail that every Malaysian, irrespective of age, gender, social status or religion, enjoyed equal rights is very apt and most timely. It comes at a time when the nation is sorely divided by racial and religious disputes that is being manifested in the political turmoil that the nation is undergoing now. His contention that in Malaysia every race is “tuan” is very reassuring and we hope all parties heed his call seriously.

The current political, social and economical problems that are plaguing the nation are all due to the narrow-minded attitude of our leaders who are bent on capitalizing the racial differences for their own political gains. It is very disheartening that after over 50 years of self rule and the various races staying and working together side by side, communicating in a common language and understanding one another’s culture and believes they are still very suspicious and jealous one another. They have yet to accept one another as fellow citizens sharing the common brotherhood of the nation.

It is ironical when we meet one another outside the country we embrace each other to acknowledge that we are Malaysians but this brotherhood sentiment seems to dissipate on returning to the country. The brotherhood that united us outside is replaced with suspicion, jealousy and at times even with hatred.

As Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin says the royalty has played an important role in uniting the Malays and safeguarding their interest. With a nation evolving into a multiracial one with the advent of a stronger multiracial opposition the time has come for our rulers to continue to play that role in uniting and protecting the rights of all the races as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.They may have started as the Malay Rulers but today they should be more aptly be Malaysian Rulers.

Malaysians of all ethnicity must realize that we are all here to stay in good and bad times alike. As such we must adopt a give and take attitude and together help to elevate our nation to a level that will be respected by all in the world. Unless we pool our resources, talents and skills there is no way we can withstand the challenges in the global competitive world. The government must tap the potentials of all races and groups to succeed in the global competition.

For lasting peace and prosperity all citizens must put aside their racial, religious and political differences, respect each other’s cultures and accept one another as Malaysians who have an equal stake in the nations fortunes and misfortunes. It is up to us, the rakyat,alone who have the right and might to determine our future.

Racism that is inherent is the hearts of men is the underlying cause of all problems conflicts and disputes. All religions expound that we get rid of this evil from our hearts and regard all as brothers and sisters. Unfortunately we have even misused our own religions to segregate one another further. Unless we can cleanse ourselves of these racism traits from our hearts there can never be genuine and lasting peace among men.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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