60 years into our nation’s independence; how many of our citizens will proudly stand up to say, “I am proud to be Malaysian”? How many will take up arms to defend our country from a foreign threat? How many will call another countryman, “my brother or my sister”? Sadly, the truth is that the national fabric or inter- ethnic, inter-cultural and inter-religious has been torn wider.
The Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin (as reported in Free Malaysia Today on 10 Oct 17), blamed Malaysia’s segregated education system for the lack of unity in the country. The Minister attributed the disunity to the different types of schools. Putting blame solely on the different types of schools is both myopic and dishonest. Our public universities are good examples of poor integration among students of different races, despite many of them coming from national schools. Prior to coming to the universities, these students would have been influenced by their parents who have their own affiliation and societal influence. The way the students behave is reflective of the way their parents think, and how politics have shaped the minds of their parents. Any honest Malaysian will not deny that it is the divisive politics and politicking which is a major cause of today’s less than united nation after 60 years have gone by.
Different persons may have different perspective of what contributed to poor racial unity and national harmony. It ranges from stereotyped thinking towards other groups; thinking of others as ‘kafir’, thinking of being treated as second-class, of being uncared for, unwanted, and unwelcome; and even plainly thinking of others as enemies. With all honesty, we in Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan do not profess to know what caused the poor state of national harmony. But as veterans of the military and police, through our profession and experience, we know with certainty how to unite. In our organization, we do not have inter-ethnic disunity and animosity. We share common goals and objectives. As leaders, we treat our men fairly and equally, and many a time would die for them. It is not blind loyalty. But if we feel cared off; under necessary circumstances, we are prepared to give our lives to our leaders, King and Country.
It is now more than ever, we see it imperative to unite all Malaysians to reshape out thinking i.e.to think as one and as a whole nation of united people. To care, respect and help each other, to share knowledge, to motivate each other to excel, to make everyone feel important, to call each other, ‘saudara’, ‘my brother’ or ‘my sister’. We need to share a common goal of a united, progressive and harmonious Malaysia.
We must start by changing our thinking.