Is Malaysia a model nation?

27 October 2006

Let's make Malaysia a truly model nation

It is indeed a happy piece of news that Takaful Malaysia Syariah head Mohd Fauzi Mustaffa has apologised for his e-mail advising his colleagues against wishing Hindus Happy Deepavali.

Statements like these are the least required in a multi-racial and multi-religious society like ours.While we welcome and accept his apology, we hope Fauzi made it on his own free will for the benefit of the nation as a whole. We sincerely hope it was not made out of force or for business advantage.

Unfortunately there are many more such people who have such misconceived ideas about religious tolerance. This thought is rather disturbing. People like Fauzi, in high positions, whose ideas could have tremendous influence on their subordinates must be very cautious in making statements that could be detrimental to national unity and harmony.

Our leaders should themselves come hard on those who make irresponsible statements that could undermine the racial harmony in the country which is already under strain of late.

Our younger generation today seems to be less tolerant of racial and religious diversity as they are not exposed to communal living with others.They live cocooned within their own community and have grown up ignorant of the sensitivities of communities other than their own. We must accept that this is a manifestation of our flawed education system which has failed to instill the comradeship among the various ethnic groups. We must take immediate steps to rectify the unfavorable situation before it does irreparable damage.

Our children from young must be taught the importance of living together in peace and harmony. They must be taught that all races are here to stay and have a stake in the good and bad of the nation. Poverty and ill-health in any one community would ultimately affect the peaces and stability of all. Children of all races and religion should be made aware of the sensitivities of other ethnic groups and must learn to tolerate and live together harmoniously. The parents and teachers play a very important role in this teaching of the young.

It is reassuring that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has come strongly against those who are so myopic in their thinking as to be against extending greetings to fellow Malaysians who are celebrating their respective festivals. He has also rightly pointed out that it is perfectly all right to join in the celebrations of those of other faiths. It fact it should be encouraged at all levels as it could cultivate inseparable bonds of friendship among those of diverse cultures.

We hope his views would be taken seriously by all, especially leaders at all levels of the administration, so that such misconceived attitudes and believes like these will not surface in future.

We claim that Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country, and truly it is. Our leaders claim we are a model nation for the world to emulate, as far as ethnic relations are concerned, sure enough it should be. But in actual fact are we truly a model nation?

We have all the great religions in our country, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduisms,Sikhism and Christianity. All of them are unanimous in their teachings - to share what you have, however scanty it may be, with those who are less fortunate regardless of race or creed.

Having all the religions by themselves will not make us a model nation.In order to truly make our country an example for the world, we must rid ourselves of our suspicious attitude towards other races and share what we have with the less fortunate, regardless of ethnicity, in accordance with our religious inclinations.

As Christians let us take the lead to show others what Christ taught us – love your neighbour as yourselves.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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