Those who have not gone through events like the May 13 incident, First Malayan Emergency and Malayan Communist Insurgency should refrain from saying anything. Ex army men who have fought through these life-and-death situations, where hundreds of people have died, both civil and military personnel, do not want to see the country being ripped apart by communal conflicts brought on by those propagating lies, stirring up racial sentiments and poisoning the minds of the people.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 – Malaysians must voice out without fear on any actions or statements that attack or threaten the country’s harmonious well being, said Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot)’s President, Brig Gen Dato Arshad Raji.
Speaking at the inaugural press conference – Wave of Unity – given by the Coalition of Patriotism and National Unity (GPPK), a newly formed non-political coalition of 61 civil society organisations (NGOs), here today, Arshad said while the coalition will not be involved in politics, it will not mean that it will keep quiet when statements, detrimental to the country’s harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious wellbeing, are made.
For instance, the poisoning of Malaysians’ minds with hate speech against political opponents and racially motivated statements must be stopped, he said.
“But, it is not just us who should be speaking up,” Arshad, who will chair the coalition, said, calling on “everyone” to speak up so the powers that be will listen to what is being said.
The GPPK, that comes in the wake of racially charged statements and rising slander against political opponents, brings together members who are multi-ethnic from a mix of faith based, human rights, community service providers, think-tank and educationist organisations, with the hope of offering a people-centric platform towards rebuilding the nation.
They expect to do this by fostering national unity and inter-religious harmony via a series of programmes jointly agreed upon and in synch with the Federal Constitution, Rukun Negara and other related existing policies. .
The coalition will be expanded to Sabah and Sarawak, Arshad said, adding that they expected to see good response from the two states.
“We have joined forces as we have the same determination and spirit, which is to see the country and its people, who are from various races, culture and religion, living together as one family with deep understanding, friendliness, harmony, love, tolerance, mutual respect and helping one another without boundaries and prejudices due to differences in race, culture and religion and where each community gets to retain their culture and religion,” Arshad said.
He said the country’s Rukun Negara offered a solution for efforts taken to keep the people together, and was key in ensuring harmony among the people of various races in the country.
“It is indeed sad, when we are still questioning the differences between us after 66 years of independence,” Arshad said.
To drive home his point on how people should see themselves as Malaysians rather than as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Arshad also displayed his passport at the press conference, pointing specifically to the column on where one’s national identity is displayed as Malaysian and not by his race.
On GPPK plans for youths in the country, Arshad said there were plans to introduce programmes aimed at strengthening their spirit of patriotism and love for the country as well as unity among the various races right from primary to tertiary levels. The coalition is also ready to work with the government towards achieving these objectives.