KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should take a major step towards creating a single national identity by removing the "race" category from all official forms in the country, says Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said it was sad that Malaysians were still divided by racial and religious identities, even after 50 years of independence.
"Maybe it's time we remove the need to state our race on any form in the country," he said during his speech before officiating the National Unity Consultative Council's first dialogue in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
"But it is up to the council members who are more learned to suggest this to the Government," he added.
Kurup also highlighted the debate over the country's history as it was interpreted differently to both East and West Malaysia.
"Another irony of our nationhood is that after more than 50 years, we are still debating on a very basic historical question.
"For those in Semananjung, history starts from Tanah Melayu to Malaya to Malaysia.
"Meanwhile for East Malaysians, it is from Sabah or Sarawak to Malaysia.
"So which is more important, Aug 31 or Sept 16 ?" he asked.
Kurup, who is the minister in charge of national unity, said the issue was when Malaysians would start seeing themselves as Malaysians, instead of basing their identities on race and religion.