Editor’s thought: Malaysia is a country so full of diversity yet we are fraught with fights about race and religion. It’s about time we stopped fighting and started appreciating everyone, no matter their background or what the colour of their skin is. There should be no divide between the races because we are essentially, one human race!
She also said there is no harm in introducing anti-racism and anti-oppression education in school in the early stages of a child’s upbringing.
” We need to monitor what our children are learning,” she emphasised, during a public forum entitled ‘Stemming the Tide of Racism in Our Nation’ last night.
Ambiga reminded the rakyat to revive the Malaysian culture of ‘give and take’ to preserve unity in the spirit that our forefathers had envisaged for us.
” Let us learn about each other’s culture and put the different cultures in the education system and cherish our history,” she said.
Stressing that people needed to work together to promote unity in diversity, she said, “Malaysia is such a wonderful country that we can come out being trilingual and we can learn so much from our friends.”
Ambiga added that the core elements of unity are an attitude of acceptance among races and a sense of belonging and we needed to stop anything that would make children accept racism and bigotry.
She stated that the Negara-Ku movement wants to reclaim the nation and hence it is essential to bring Malaysians together to combat racism, bigotry and extremism.
Return to the Federal Constitution
” Let’s go back to the Federal Constitution where there is nothing that divides us citizens,” she urged.
Taking a swipe at certain quarters who condemned a young Malay girl who had joined DAP recently, she asked: “What drives people to the point where they think it’s wrong for a Malay to be in the same party as a Chinese?”
Racism, she stressed, has to be defeated, and Malaysians need to collaborate to put a stop to it.
Executive Director of Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) Ivy Josiah (left), when contacted by Rakyat Times, agreed that there has been an increase in racial and religious tensions.
She added that despite the attempts by supremacists and bigots to provoke, Malaysians have been remarkably elegant and have not succumbed to these provocations.
“No violence, despite cows’ heads and vandalism of churches. But instead, we should be generating goodwill and hope via numerous civil society initiatives to bring people together to celebrate and honour our diversity,” she suggested.
Josiah also said that the silence of the Prime Minister and key leaders, when extremist voices rant claiming they have been hurt or discriminated, is deafening and untenable.
“Leaders must condemn bigotry,” she stressed.
DAP veteran leader Dr Tan Seng Giaw (right) told the Rakyat Times that all religious institutions, including mosques, temples and churches, have responsibilities to promote love, peace, moderation and respect.
Dr Tan urged all quarters to stop going along racial lines for their own political agenda, and instead start embracing our diversity in order to take the country forward to greater success.