Our society is a plural society. In a society like this, there exist what we call “social diversities” which comprise difference in ethnic, race, religion, culture, custom and sosio-economy.
Therefore, efforts to build unity and national integration in a plural society is not an easy task.
Nevertheless, we should be proud because in terms of record, we have proven to the world that we have succeeded in building and fostering unity, harmony and prosperity in the society. It is the effects of the strong unity that we are able to enjoy and maintain political stability.
Actually, what us achieved is a result of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government`s administration which is democratic, pragmatic, progressive and fair to all races.
The country`s capability and success in managing and administering this plural society has attracted the world community, especially among the developing countries to be made as a model country. In fact, a few developed countries like Britain and the United States of America (USA) are also interested and recognised our success.
In most countries with plural society, including in the developed countries, racial and religious tension and conflict often happen and plague the lives of their people.
In USA, Britain and several other European countries, religious and racial friction is growing, especially after the September 11, 2001 tragedy.
The “war against violence” led by the USA, especially during the administration of George W. Bush had made the Muslim community from various origins and race to often become the target of “attacks” in European countries, which claim to be democratic and tolerant.
The situation erupts more because of the prejudice of the European community and is still happening, especially when incidents of bombings or violence which are linked to Muslim terrorists.
In a plural society, the freedom and right to live should not be monopolised by a certain race, As citizens, every race should share and live in harmony, to be tolerant, help one another and to be responsible for one another. Every citizen should maintain ties by distancing themselves from issues which can spark racism.
We should understand that having accepted diversity as a strength and beauty in our society, it has made us more open and tolerant.
Once again we should be proud and be grateful because of the diverse race, culture and religion, it has succeeded in moulding the attitude and orientation of the people towards good, progress and development.
The government had never implemented a policy which is “harsh” or “by force” in fostering unity in the country. The government`s policy is not assimilative in fostering racial unity.
The government views assimilation as not realistic and practical as the racial complexity and demography in the country are not suitable for the process. The nurturing of culture and assimilation is let to develop on their own without force.
What is clear is that unity that is built in this country is based on tolerance and sense of responsibility, as well as the social contract which has been accepted by all races since Independence.
Since Independence, were have worked very hard to create a “Bangsa Malaysia” under the concept of a nation state with an identity of its own.
“Bangsa Malaysia” is a concept which is produced through the process of history which developed with its own characteristics.
The process of building this Malaysian race country is further strengthened through vision and mission which are outlined by the country`s leadership where all policies and visions give attention and justice to all races.
One thing which should be understood is unity and security are interlinked in maintaining harmony, prosperity and country`s sovereignty.
Issues on racism which can turn into conflict can threaten the country`s security.
If such a racial conflict happen and difficult to be tackled, then it can be a “security dilemma”(Collin, 1998).
Collin sees that threats don`t just come from outside, by security threat can also exist at domestic level like ethnic conflict.
Hence, the extreme group who use religion and race be allowed to influence psychology, emotion and and minds of the people because the effect is deep which can lead to anarchism and destruction of the country.
This group, although not dominant, but the effect of its ploy, which is wild and with ill-intent, can promote communal issue, as we experience in the may 13, 1969 incident.
This is because they play with emotion and perception in raising an extreme racist spirit.
In today`s modern world, the ethnic conflict which involves issues on religion and human rights can invite foreign intervention.
Normally, the foreign intervention is from quarters with interests and agenda to see this country in chaos, weak and destroyed. To address this problem, then we have to return to basics like:
- The people should continue to defend the policy on political cooperation as practised by the BN government. BN`s cooperation is the best example. We have to understand that Malaysia, in terms of its political dimension, requires political cooperation which can unite the political elites of the various races strongly and effectively so that development policies can be carried out effectively.
- Therefore, the merger of political parties whose struggle is not intandem and ideology difficult to be translated in our country`s political scenario. This kind of merger will always have conflict among themselves and lhave adverse effects on the country`s political stability.
- The spirit of the constitution which contains the social contract which has been outlined and adopted by all the races since Independence should continue to be defended and respected by all quarters.
- Close extremist voices which can affect unity and the country`s security through a firm security policy liked using the Internal Security Act against those who truly threaten the country`s security.
- There should not be compromise and room for subversive elements good at playing issues on freedom of speech and human rights which are not suitable with the demographic climate and culture of our country.
- Development programme should be balanced and enjoyed fairly by all races . If this social justice can continue to be implemented, especially under the government which promote the concept of 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now, the political stability and country`s peace will be maintained.
- Practising a healthy democracy by giving ample room for the people to exercise their rights . However, demand for democracy to an extent of ignoring sensitive matters which can create chaos and threat to security should be contained and monitored.