Filepic - Tan Sri Joseph Kurup signing a plaque.
KUALA LUMPUR: The call by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to remove the “race” category from all official forms will contribute towards unity in the country, said various groups.
Welcoming the suggestion, Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia president Tan Hoe Chieow said this would be good for the unity of the country.
“Despite the various races and religions in the country that we are proud of, the national identity or Bangsa Malaysia is something we have yet to achieve,” he said when met during the Malaysian Buddhist Association KL/Selangor branch Chinese New Year luncheon here yesterday.
In making the call, Kurup, who is the minister in charge of national unity, had said that it was sad that Malaysians were still divided by racial and religious identities, even after 50 years of independence.
Malaysian Interfaith Network treasurer Sanggat Singh Peshi said while he fully supported the call, he did not expect this to be done in the nearest time.
“Given the cultural significance and coupled with religious sentiments, it would not be possible for an immediate implementation. We would need to develop a Malaysian culture which promotes that idea,” he said.
Backbenchers Club chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said while the idea was good, the question would be which official forms should the race category be removed from.
“The idea is possible as there are government programmes where there are no racial quota. Perhaps we can actually start by amending, for instance, the welfare service related forms or even 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) forms in which such changes would be most convenient,” he said.
MIC treasurer-general Datuk S.Murugesan said he personally welcomed Kurup’s suggestion.
“We have been an independent nation for more than 50 years. Removing the category of race in forms is a small step towards fostering a united Malaysian identity,” he said.
PKR’s Kapar MP G. Manivanan also expressed his full support for the move, saying that a single Malaysian identity was long overdue.
“I am extremely supportive of the suggestion. Not only does it promote national unity, it will become a symbol for Malaysia in eliminating the long standing identity problem,” he said when contacted.