AYE for unity. The Johor Sultan’s recent comments on the impropriety of using the derogatory term “pendatang” is lauded.
It is indeed, most pertinent and timely. It serves to highlight that the important narrative of the strong, vital contributions of Chinese, Indians and other ethnic Malaysians must never be underplayed or forgotten.
As reported in theSun, according to Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, the Chinese were actually invited to Johor as “guests” by his forefathers to help develop the state.
“My forefathers had the foresight to forge a unique relationship with the Chinese. They are not ‘pendatang’ (immigrants). They were invited to Johor to open our land and cultivate plantations.
“They are “Bangsa Johor” – just like the Malays, Indians and others, who are all Malaysians,” he had stressed.
It is crucial that divisive politicians harping on religious or racial issues are not allowed to be the bane of our democracy.
Political polarisation over the past months have, no doubt, negatively impacted our sense of unity, social and religious harmony.
The recent commission of a National Unity Policy, complete with a blueprint and an action plan, reflects the government’s sound and necessary initiative to strengthen national solidarity.
It is paramount that widening ethnic divides are firmly addressed.
Put simply, enhanced unity brings stronger harmony, which is critical to our nation’s social and economic progress.
Leaders of all persuasions need to promptly and strongly condemn and reject extreme hate speech or action.
“Checks and balances” stakeholders including our judiciary, legal agencies and Parliament must be committed to upholding the Federal Constitution.
Johor Sultan’s timely remarks are much appreciated and welcome.
Ultimately, the government must have strong political will to form and implement sound policies that are just, fair, moderate and inclusive.
The public must also strive to practise key values including mutual respect, reciprocity, moderation as well as social and religious tolerance.
Sze Loong Steve Ngeow