MALAYSIA NEEDS THE NATIONAL PATRIOTIC POLICY

on Friday, December 14


CHINESE TO LEND ME HIS CLOTHES  
By: Dr. Al-Azharri Siddiq Kamunri

I was in Seoul attending an international conference, and was shockingly surprised to see the riot that took place at Sri Manamaran Putra Heigh's temple in Selangor. This showed the overall difficulty for the new government in seeking to forge closer ties between people of various faith in the country after the 14th general elections. Apparently there is something that has not changed, and it needs to be resolved immediately. Selangor is the richest state in Malaysia with GDP continuing to exceed the national average. The Selangor state's progress in terms of financial, investment, education and banking for examples  cannot be denied. However, these developments are not guarantees of peace and security in the state.
The question is: Are Malaysians still not yet matured after 62 years of independence, 14 general elections and led by 7 Prime Ministers? Why have the Government at both the state and locals level failed to promote peace and harmony between peoples of various ethnic and faith.
Let's look at the outside world. When I stayed for a shot time in the USA a few years back, my family and I stayed near a mosque and just across the street from the mosque was a church. For the entire time we stayed there, there was never a fight or even a misunderstanding that erupted into riots between peoples of different religion. Each follower of a religion understands the rights of others from a different faith. The societies there are even more diverse and claimed different nationalities such as from Europe, Asia, Arabia and the Americas. I see that our leaders and government have the good intention to promote peace and harmony across different faith and other backgrounds, but apparently some Malaysians are still not ready and continue to be be o overwhelmed by narrow perspective of the past.
I see that ethnic relations in the Peninsular Malaysia especially needs to change. Examine two unique states in the Island of Borneo. In Sabah and Sarawak, people of different religions and ethnic background can live close to each other in the same setting, sit together and eat in the same restaurant while respecting each other faith and mindful of the food requirement that may and may not be permitted. But the food requirement has never been the issue that separated peoples of different faith to sit down together to eat, whether in homes and in restaurants. This does not happen too frequent in Peninsular Malaysia.

I see that in Peninsular Malaysia there is a serious and immediate need to create a new formula to promote unity. All previous policies and programs have clearly failed. Perhaps a time has come to introduce a new policy, the National Patriotic Policy. Our people lack national and social resilience, display a low levels of patriotism and weak in nationalistic spirit. They may wave the same flag in their hands, but the flag do not flutter or resonate in their hearts.
A long time ago, when I used to stay in a small village, villagers mingled with the Chinese who run the small grocery store; Malays and Indians would buy from the Chinese grocery stores. There was never any issue. Indians from Peninsular Malaysia were brought into Sabah to be rubber tappers and plantation workers, to build Hindu temples in the middle of the farm although there were only two or three adherents of the faith. When the Indians returned to Peninsular Malaysia, the shrine was then demolished. Again, there was no issue. There were  no protests and riots. I still remembered my Chinese friend getting higher marks in Islamic Education than most of the Muslim students. During Hari Raya, my Chinese friend lent his ethnic clothes to me which I happily wear. Finally, he gave that shirt as a gift to me. Does these values ​​still exist in our social system?
National Patriotic Policy
The new ruling party under Pakatan Harapan coalition and led by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has a clear vision and mission, and that is to bring about a new Malaysia, united and moving forward. But the ruling party need the help of all and the time to create this new Malaysia. How could new the new Malaysia be carved out and by what mean?
The need for a comprehensive new policy that could rally the people tight must be in the creation of a feeling of oneness fulled by sharing of values, internally and outwardly express able. This is about creating a passion, love and affection of a country, New Malaysia. Riots is not love. It’s is certainly People need to realize that Malaysia is a small country with a diversity of people. What bind them? The answer has to lie in the Rukunegara, the national ideology. But the national ideology has to be seen in behavior and this is where the National Patriotic Policy help in translating the former into helping to produce visible behavior among the multi ethnic people of Malaysia.
The National Patriotic Policy  (NPP) does not need a huge budget. There are former equipments left by PLKN (National Service Training Program) and BTN (National Civic Bureau). We have technical and logistics equipments at many agencies such as ATM (Malaysian Armed Forces), PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police Force) and other security agencies. All these assets could be mobilized for this purpose. It is high time that we should also focus on creating the spirit of Malaysian nationhood instead of focusing merely on the economic and politics of nation building. The riot at Seafield, Selangor recently, and which occurred in one of the most economically prosperous assets in Malaysia is a serious setback in nation building.
In conclusion, the riot in Seafield, Selangor is a serious problem in managing diversity. It is a collective problem where blame cannot be pointed to one or two individual or any particular community. It is a collective failure on our part and one that we need to reflect and find solution to manage in moving forward in the new Malaysia.
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The write's field of study is Politics and Government and has interests on issues relating to nation-building, national security and patriotism.

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