Youths as ‘ambassadors’ of racial harmony

Youths exchanging views at the Bangsa Malaysia Community Workshop at Penang Harmony Centre in Scotland Road. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

YOUTHS from eight religious groups came together to understand more about racism and racial identities at the inaugural Bangsa Malaysia Community Workshop at Penang Harmony Centre in Scotland Road, George Town.

The participants included members of Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram Penang, Malaysian Buddhist Association, Persatuan Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang and Persatuan Pembimbing Belia Islam Pulau Pinang.

At the workshop organised by Penang Harmony Corporation (Harmonico) and Kuala Lumpur-based Pusat Komas, the youths shared their views on ethnic relations in the country.

Penang social development and non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Chong Eng, who officiated at the event, said it was aimed at promoting a more inclusive and harmonious society in the country.

“I feel the Education Ministry should introduce teachings about ethnic relations in the school syllabus as young people can be agents of change.”

She said Penang had always been forward in promoting religious harmony.

“The state formed Harmonico under the Penang Chief Minister’s Incorporation in March last year to oversee matters pertaining to religions other than Islam and to execute policies that will bring harmony without uniformity,” she said.

“Harmonico will act as a bridge between religious communities and the state government.”

Chong also revealed the state would set up a youth group to help come up with initiatives to promote unity. There will be 10 members aged between 18 and 35 in each state constituency.

“ Those interested can approach their assemblyman’s service centres to volunteer.”

Also present at the workshop were Harmonico manager Paul Au and Pusat Komas programme director Dr Ryan Chua.

Pusat Komas is a human rights organisation set up in 1993 to actively promoting equality and the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in Malaysia.

They are also helping to empower the indigenous people, urban poor, workers and civil society organisations.

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