Let Malaysians reaffirm the constitutional principle of Islam as official religion and freedom of worship for other religions and not succumb to the lies, false new and hate speech on social media that the various races and religions are facing an existential threat
Merry Christmas to all Christians in Malaysia.
The last 12 months have been testing times for Malaysia to achieve our goal to be a top world-class nation of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity where Malaysians can celebrate the diversity of races, languages, religions and cultures in peace, tolerance, acceptance and co-existence.
Yesterday, I saw on the social media a denunciation of Malaysia of having become a communist state. There was also in the social media a denunciation of myself of having becoming a “hanjian” ( 漢奸 - a pejorative term for a race traitor and Han ethnicity).
Both are equally lies.
But uncontrolled spread of lies, false news and hate speech through the social media in the past year have created a false situation as if every ethnicity and religion in Malaysia faces an existential threat.
Islam as the official religion of Malaysia is not under threat. Nor are the other religions, whether Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikkhism or Taoism under threat in enjoying their constitutional right of freedom of worship.
I am inspired to see Malaysian Muslims disregarding the voices of hate and intolerance warning them that they would be committing a sin if they wish Christians “Merry Christmas”, with many Muslims in Malaysians openly wishing Christians “Merry Christmas”.
Let us develop a new self-confidence of “reaching for the stars" to exorcise the various contrived, imaginary or other baseless fears and demons for Malaysia to excel itself in various fields of human endeavour.
Let Malaysians reaffirm the constitutional principle of Islam as official religion and freedom of worship for other religions and not succumb to the lies, false new and hate speech on social media that the various races and religions are facing an existential threat.
The Malaysia I want to see is one where the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans come out of their own universes to interact with other communities; to learn, appreciate and accept that Malaysia is not to be identified with any one community but with all the different communities who have made the land their mother country.
This is what the basic Malaysian documents whether the Malaysian Constitution, the Rukunegara or the Vision 2020 of Bangsa Malaysia were predicated.
In other words, a Malaysian is a Chinese who is not 100 per cent Chinese but has an extra dimension which could be described as Malaysia-plus; a Malay who is not 100 per cent Malay but with a Malaysia-plus dimension; and an Indian who is not 100 per cent Indian but with a Malaysia-plus dimension. They keep their separate ethnic identities but they share a common core – as a Malaysian.
All Malaysians must ask: Who is the “Other” in the Malaysian context?
Are the “Other” the Chinese and Indians to a Malay Malaysian, the Malays and Indians to a Chinese Malaysian, and the Malays and Chinese to an Indian Malaysian?
If this is the answer, then we have not yet succeeded in Malaysian nation-building, for the “Other” must be a non-Malaysian, whether from Indonesia, China or India or any other part of the world.