ON POINTE’S reasoned view that “the country has become increasingly polarised around identity which allows anyone who does not fit the parameters to be left out” (“Racial rules and identity politics”, theSun July 23 edition) is timely as we approach Merdeka Day next month.
Founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj’s key message, that the bond that unites us is that we are all Malaysians, must serve as our constant political and social guide for all stakeholders in our nation, including government agencies, communities and the rakyat.
Put simply, ethnic or religious differences must not prevent us thinking and acting as Malaysians.
Our sense of nationhood can only be enhanced if our multi-racial and multi-religious people don’t live in silos.
Hence, all stakeholders must consciously and deliberately go beyond race and creed factors; in striving to forge a common and uniting Malaysian identity.
It is not about ignoring, but finding strength and unity in, our individual differences.
Hence, it would be a tragedy for our nation to be held back in economic and social advancements by not using our greatest strength – diversity.
Our successful shared destiny, as Malaysians, can only occur by not making the mistake of “building too many walls and not enough bridges”.
Identity politics tend to have some groups believing they are victims and others are victimisers.
Identity politics is pretty much lazy politics as it is somewhat the quick or easy way for opportunistic politicians to win votes.
Identity politics comes at a huge price as it is an issue that slows down the social and economic progress of our nation.
It is not the way forward for Malaysia.
Our political and community leaders must “walk the talk” about creating a common Malaysian identity where people’s diverse strengths are seen as a plus and be emphasised more than their differences.
Our education and government system must impress on inclusiveness and not perpetuate racism.