Have a heart for Malaysia

IT'S now or never for national reconciliation. The idea of a diverse people coalescing into one is exhilarating given the innumerable challenges facing the nation today besides those posed by an ever-changing world.

The very fabric of our society is being rent asunder by divergent forces on tangential directions pulling us apart using divisive religious, racial and cultural issues.

The time has come for Malaysians of all creeds and colours to set aside our political, cultural and religious differences and meld into a potent force that can care for each other and the nation with a single-mindedness never seen before.

We have requisite talent from both sides of the political divide and society at large to do this.

Kudos to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak for taking up the call from opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to sit together at the table of discussion to stitch together a society fraying at the seams.

I have deliberately avoided the word "negotiation" as there can be no give and take where the people's interests are involved.

There must be a wholehearted commitment about the proposed unity of purpose from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat that resounds within their respective coalitions with the obscure voice of dissent limited by their natural propensity for asinine behaviour.

From the fringe of Malaysian society that insists on going it alone comes the raucous call for respective rights with the purile inflections from childish ignorance of reality.

Malaysians cannot be held ransom by the ranks of the feeble-minded who want to put us on a course leading to the eventual destruction of the society that our forefathers and people of our generation from all races have carefully put together over decades past.

BN and PR cannot allow their respective coalitions to be weakened by those with narrow and selfish ambitions who do not have the interest of Malaysians at large at heart.

To an extent the genesis of the problems of today hark back to the days of independence when individuals representing the various races went to the colonial masters with a loose understanding between them on what the nation would have as its core philosophy.

Time has shown that the basis of the understanding between the races then has sometimes failed to withstand the test of time with instances of uncertainty where specific issues are concerned.

Today, the fact is that most BN component parties are race-based as is the Democratic Action Party (DAP) which is largely Chinese despite the notion held by some that it is multiracial. PAS is Islam-based.

With largely race-based politics, there is little room for the general good of all to prevail as leaders push for their respective race or religion.

I realise that I am walking into a minefield when I say that it is the rare political leader in Malaysia who is blind to race or religion.

Yet we do see them today.

They are politicians and individuals disinclined to politics but with a strong bent for racial and religious unity. They are not blinded by whether they serve Malays, Chinese, Indians or the myriad other linguistic groups in the peninsula or Sabah and Sarawak.

We also see them among the young who do not carry with them the racial burdens of the past and who see themselves as Malaysian.

They are a refreshing addition to a society weakened by racial and religious problems.

Others with Brand Malaysia (Malaya earlier) imprinted on their psyche have also walked among us in the past in the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman who etched himself into our collective hearts with his brand of politics that cut across race or creed.

While Najib's call for both coalitions to work together in this most noble endeavour is heart-warming, it will be heart wrenching if their heart is not in it.

No amount of talking will amount to much if these talks are guided by intellect alone without a total commitment from the heart.

It is no doubt going to be difficult for political adversaries with a great amount of baggage to be sitting together to chart out a common destiny.

It will be only human for them to remember the hurts inflicted on each other over the years.

But I believe that our leaders can rise above their rocky past to walk the road of peace and reconciliation for a new Malaysia where we can all live as brothers and sisters, looking out for one another.

We realise that there are also those among us whose raison d'etre for promoting nefarious acts that undermine national unity is unclear.

In this instance, I am reminded of a Tamil saying (and I am sure there are similar sayings in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese) that there are sometimes people who pinch the child and rock the cradle at the same time.

In short, this means that some Malaysians, usually those not in positions of influence but who assume such importance, give vent to their ire publicly knowing full well the implications of their words and actions and later ask for unity and peace to be the buzzword among all.

We cannot have all the cake – where respective rights and privileges are concerned among the various races – and eat it at the same time.

We have to share everything accruing from the wealth of love, peace, goodwill and affluence that God has given for us to live peaceably in this blessed land.

It may be totally cliched and bordering on the fatuous but I close with this line from D'Artagnan of Three Musketeers fame which says it all for Malaysians: All for one and one for all.

We cannot go wrong with this truism resonating in our hearts.

Balan Moses, theSun's executive editor (news), feels that nothing will work if our heart is not in it. We have to listen very carefully when our leaders get together to chart a new course towards national reconciliation. The reality of the day is that the mouth speaks only what the heart thinks. I, like most Malaysians, want to hear the right sentiments for the common good. Comments: moses@thesundaily.com