Recently GPF Malaysia held our first GPF Dialogue at University of Malaya on 23rd May 2013. Entitled “Moving Forward: Dream of a Better Malaysia”, GPF Malaysia partnered with Projek Dialog and University of Malaya to host this forum which was attended by about 100 participants.
The forum is timely as the current climate in this country has been filled with negative sentiments and uncertainties. It is imperative for ordinary Malaysians, whom are beyond the rhetoric of race and religion to rise above political differences and move forward Malaysia towards a better future.
The forum is based on an open dialogue concept, where speakers and the audience were encouraged to express their views freely amid respectfully. Among the speakers were Kamarul Bahrin Haron, Executive Editor of Astro Awani, Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, Managing Editor of Projek Dialog, Prof Datin Dr. Azizan bt Baharuddin, Deputy Director of Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM), Eddin Khoo, writer and cultural activist, and Maverick Foo, Founder of KickStart.my. K. Puniamurthy of University of Malaya moderated the forum.
The hall were lively with conversations. The dialogue opened confessions of a wounded Malaysia and the direly need to move forward. “We are experiencing a rot. The wounds we are harbouring were created by fear mongering from the mainstream media.” said Ahmad Fuad Rahmat. Eddin Khoo also emphasised that, “We can only move forward when we can candidly look at the past. There needs to be a lot of re-thinking for renewal.”
Even among the audience there were voices of anger and desperation for change, but there were also voices of optimism and reason. “We can differ in opinions but we must still respect each other. The way forward is to understand and listen to each other”, said Dr Azizan. One of the younger audience, Ihsan Hassan, told that the younger generation are beyond the status quo of power structure, they are seeking for new channels or avenues to voice up and move forward.
Towards the end of the forum, it was evident that Malaysians are prepared to move forward as a nation. The forum ended with a “Pledge of Peace and Unity” among the speakers and audience. The pledge highlighted 5-point pledge for Malaysians to take on a collective responsibility to create a better Malaysia.
In GPF Dialogue, we believe in spreading values to society beyond the forum itself. Video interviews were conducted among the audience to capture their thoughts for this nation. In fact, both the forum and the video interviews will be uploaded to Youtube. The forum will also be documented in a report and given to relevant authorities.
The dialogue is the first of a series of dialogues that GPF Dialogue will be holding this year. GPF Dialogue is created as a platform to cultivate the culture of peace and dialogue among people. As a non-partisan movement, GPF Dialogue stirs frank, open discussion on issues that impact society via multi-pronged engagement with the government, private sectors, and civil societies. we believe a positive movement starts with real conversations especially among the younger generation of today.