In conjunction with the Soft Launch & Press Conference for the upcoming Global Peace Convention 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia themed “Unity in Diversity – Building Social Cohesion and Sustainable Peace Through Universal Aspirations, Principles and Values”; Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and co-chair of GPC 2013 gave a meaningful keynote address during the “Majlis Muhibah Bersama Menteri dan Sektor Korporat” (Corporate Luncheon with the Minister) and Soft Launch of the Convention.
The launch event took place at The Gardens Hotel & Residences, Mid Valley City on 21 October 2013.
———— Original Keynote Address by Tan Sri Joseph Kurup ————
A Very Good Afternoon to all of you and Salam 1Malaysia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honor to be with you at this wonderful event.
Everyone in the world wants peace. There is something without doubt all of us can do to promote peace. Therefore Ladies and Gentlemen, I commend all those who are gathered here today to support a most worthy cause.
A common answer one can assume when asked the question of what do you understand about PEACE, many might answer that peace is about people being able to live happily without war.
When I saw the Prime Minister recently in regards to our conference, he enlightened me about a speech delivered by President Kennedy in June 1963, a mere five months before Kennedy’s assassination. The Prime Minister told me, Kennedy asked the audience, what kind of peace do we seek? and Kennedy went on to elaborate about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children– not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
The peace and the unity we seek is not something that can be naturally created. It is created in our minds, blossoms in our hearts and build by our hands.
Are we aware that unity is a force for national development? A country that is characterized and paralyzed by political instability cannot become a progressive and developed country. Nobody wants a repeat of May 13 and I believe the people have learnt from the bitter experience.
New Economic Model (NEM) launched in March 2009, as an overall framework for transforming Malaysia from a middle income to an advanced nation by 2020, recognizes that national unity remains the continuing bedrock of national development plans since our Independence. But some scholars would argue that our ethnic relations in Malaysia are in a “worrying and fragile state.”
For the sake of political stability as much as economic development, a united Malaysia is prerequisites for economic transformation of our beloved ‘tanahair’.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Racial and religious bigotry are the cause for our anger and frustration and the root problem our nation’s deteriorating solidarity and unity. THIS MUST STOP.
These racial and religious bigotries are not only totally contradicts our government’s national reconciliation efforts but also is in contradiction with our Constitution which assures the right of every ethnic group to worship in their own religions and to preserve their own languages and culture.
Everyone especially political and religious leaders should be more careful in what they articulate in public forums so not stir up racial sentiments and to avoid further dividing our communities. We will have accomplished something toward making our unity more secure by rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The National Unity and Integration Department is seeking long term solutions at promoting an enlightened culture of peace focusing on community-based, youth-based, grassroots projects that infuses the values and principles of unity in diversity.
One of our core businesses is the Rukun Tetangga. We have about 6330 Rukun Tetangga throughout the country.
When I mention Rukun Tetangga, many will think of nightly patrols from 1.00 to 5.00 a.m. with the primary objective of thwarting night-time break-ins. Well, I beg to differ, Rukun Tetangga or if literally translated means Pillars of Community is actually the best kept secret in town. It has the potential to become a dynamic grassroot movement to help the government to strengthen our unity.
As the Minister of National Unity, I would like to see our Rukun Tetangga moving from just being a voluntary neighbourhood patrol schemes to focus on more social and economic development activities to enhance the services of Rukun Tetangga groups.
I had initiated a study to be made to explore ways to enhance the potential and transform our Rukun Tetangga, eventually becoming our grassroot Community Development Centres, especially in nurturing neighbourliness and building a stronger sense of belonging in our community. The future of our Rukun Tetangga is about community empowerment especially in the urban poor areas.
Another programme that we are proud of is the Community Mediation Program. Warring neighbours locked in difficult disputes and other social nuisances between neighbours, may eventually turn into a community unity crisis.
So the Department has introduced a Community Mediation Program by providing training to grassroot leader to become community mediators.
The mediators are given sufficient training in mediation skills to resolve disputes especially between two families or among the same community, before the differences become a major issue. Some scholars would say that Malaysians prefer “tongue wagging not parang (machete) wielding” but for me our 874 Community mediators throughout the country are our unsung heroes who sometimes risk their own life while mediating a dispute.
Meanwhile racial polarisation at our schools and particularly in our universities is a worrying problem. The Rukun Negara is no longer recited in schools to remind us of the principles that every Malaysian should uphold.
I was told that we can ask any school-going Indonesian, and they will proudly recite the Pancasila for you.
The principles of Rukun negara: Faith in God, loyalty to king and country, upholding the constitution, the rule of law, and good behavior and morality, needs to be firmly embedded in our students minds.
It is our hope that promotion of unity and national integration would become an element of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities particularly through our Rukun Negara Clubs in close to 6000 schools nationwide and 135 Rukun Negara Secretariats in our universities as part of our efforts to promote harmony among the nation’s youths by promoting the values espoused by the principles of the Rukun Negara.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For the very first time a national level International Day for Tolerance celebration is in the pipeline to nurture the spirit of tolerance. The culture of tolerance can only be built if respect among religions is accepted as a common practice among Malaysians.
As long as Malaysians continue to hold to the attitude of tolerance and moderation, then there will not be any quarters that will be able to split us apart.
We also recently launched the Usman Awang National Integration Award with the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) and MyHero Awards, jointly organised by Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (KLSCCCI) and Nanyang Siang Pau.
The objective of these Awards are to recognize and pay tribute to Malaysian unsung heroes for their illuminating stories of bravery, courage and determination in building national unity and proving the existences of racial harmony.
All the above programmes and activities are in support of the Prime Minister call for national reconciliation to strengthen unity and safeguard the nation’s future. I would like to announce here today that the Prime Minister’s brainchild, National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) to advise the government on effective mechanisms to build bridges towards harmonious race relations had been approved by the Cabinet recently and will be launched by the Prime Minister in late November this year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
History teaches us the dedication of the energies, the resources, and the imaginations of all peaceful individuals are very much needed to build a foundation for a better future.
Ensuring a country that is free from violence and conflict is important not just for the government and the public at large, but most importantly for the corporate sectors, as you are the drivers of our Malaysian economy.
I would like to encourage the corporate sectors to look beyond mere profit-making, and make national unity as part of your corporate social responsibility at addressing the long term agenda of the nation in fostering harmony and peace among our diverse society. The Government needs the private sectors and your participation in our programmes is crucial for a sustainable unity. You are our Partners in Unity.
The upcoming Global Peace Convention 2013, from the 5th to 8th of December 2013, is organised with the aim and purpose of promoting innovative, value-based approach to peace-building rooted in universal principles and values. The convention brings together outstanding leaders and experts from multi-sectorial background to share best practices and develop collaborative strategies. Significant grassroots and global partnerships are developed at the GPC to establish lasting peace.
We are expecting 800 local and international delegates and dignitaries to attend the GPC, representing governments, civil societies, corporate sectors, academic institutions, youth and faith organisations.
I would like to expressed my deepest appreciation to the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak for endorsing the Global Peace Convention 2013 and agreeing to deliver keynote address at the opening of the convention.
I sincerely invite all of our corporate representatives here today to participate and to come forward as sponsors of this global convention. All forms of contribution through you Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are most welcomed.
Without further delay, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honour for me to announce Malaysia to play host of the 5th Global Peace Convention in December 2013 at Kuala Lumpur.
Thank you very much.
Keynote Address by
Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Kurup
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
21 October 2013