It is commendable that Star has launched a campaign to promote moderation in a multiracial and multi-religious country Malaysia. After the 308 political tsunami, race and religion became the staple diet of the Malaysia social political landscape. This has obviously raised the political temperature and tension in Malaysia. A lot of NGO, political leaders and religious bodies had jumped on the bandwagon to raise their profile and consolidate their position.
Unfortunately, after the 505 general election, the issue of race and religion has reached a boiling point. It is time to raise a red flag. Hence, the Star campaign is timely and hopefully should create greater awareness that maintaining the peace and prosperity is the responsibility of all Malaysians. In the name of democracy, freedom of expression and transparency, leaders have thrown caution to the wind. In fact, it is a sad day for Malaysia that after 57 years of independence, all of us live in our own racial and religious silo.
Maybe it is a dream to think of Malaysia living in the early 60s and 70s where race was never a consideration in our daily lives. Today, it does matter. Not only race, but religion. It is this growing intolerance of diversity in the multiracial country that cause alarm among us - the Allah issue, political leaders and NGOs advocating a single stream of education purportedly to promote unity are example of how the nation has not progressed despite our physical development.
In the 50s like many children at that time, I was sent to English school, the Batu Pahat High School. Even up to University days in University of Malaya, we never look at each other through the tainted lense of race or religion. We embrace each other and friends despite the differences in race, culture and religion and political inclination. We are the true 1 Malaysia. Even until today, the MU medical faculty year 1973 yearly reunion is a multiracial turnout of doctors who have passed their prime of life.
This new phenomenal of intolerance among Malaysians is a reflection of a small section of Malaysian leaders who are unable to accept that Malaysia is a multiracial country with diversity of race and religion. It is these intolerance and difficulty to accept the diversities that caused race and religion to be a permanent feature in our daily life. Maybe peninsula Malaysia should look out to Sabah and Sarawak to understand the degree of tolerance and acceptance. There’s no denial that Sabah and Sarawak has greater level of acceptance of race, religion, languages and culture.
All level-headed Malaysians should stand up to be counter that they want to see Malaysians irrespective of race and religion pursuing a middle path. There is no loser. Everybody is a winner. Everybody’s voice will be heard. There is no need to threaten your fellow Malaysians just because his views, race and religion is not in tandem with yours. There is no need to label anybody as pendatang or intruders and there is no need to stroke the fire of hatred by threatening to burn religious books of prayer. One must not forget that for every action, there must be reaction. Hope Star campaign will achieve its desired result. We are all Malaysians, we should always be sensitive that we have a role to play to maintain the peace and harmony in this beautiful country of ours.