Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Malaysians Must Speak Up

Malaysians have no courage

Malaysians are generally rational, capable, moderate and flexible. During my visits to various international cities, I have met a number of Malaysians who are working, doing business or residing there. They are resilient, adaptable and as competitive as people from the developed countries. Many of us who are residing locally hold similar traits and qualities.

However, moderate and sensible Malaysians give up too easily when faced with challenges on their own home soil. We allow a small platoon of radicals to dominate and patronise us and dictate to us their values promoted through shortsighted racial and religious political rhetoric and sentiment.

Socially, we continue to tolerate attempts to divide us fundamentally through the rewriting of our nation's founding history by promoting the supremacy of one race against the rest. Our children are told that they should appreciate their legal existence in this country because they are bound indefinitely by a social contract collectively adopted by their forefathers.

Why talk about national unity when the intention is to divide the society forever? True unity cannot be achieved through subordination. All human beings are born equal in a democratic and civilised society. No one needs to remind us to love the nation.

Politically, we continue to tolerate extreme ethno-religious practices even though we realise that such a political model is at the lowest denomination. The aspiration of creating a civilised, successful and peaceful multiethnic society is an unrealistic dream in a society where racism and religious fanaticism can be used as political capital.

Again, the majority of moderate and sensible Malaysians continue to throw our support grudgingly to these politicians although many of us do it for the lack of a viable alternative. This can no longer be used as a legitimate reason to keep the present political model.

Proponents of multiculturalism, non-racialism and human rights must demand for a totally new political landscape. To progress, we ought to adopt a progressive and proactive mindset. We must learn to appreciate the wealth of our diversity and celebrate our freedom to practice our cultures and beliefs. We must restructure the current social order. Politicians and policymakers are not political masters but public servants entrusted by the society to represent our collective interests. They must listen to the voices of the people.

The implication of our lack of courage to stand up against these radicals is severe and destructive. Moderate Malaysians, who represent majority of the society, must reclaim their rights and rightful place in the society. Only through a collective rejection of the radicals can we influence fairer policy formulation and implementation in the country.

Otherwise, policies that are motivated by racial and religious fervour will continue to haunt us and retard our progress. Forever, we may never know how far a truly united Malaysian society can progress on the world stage.

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