KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians should uphold the culture of working together as one to ensure the country moves forward as envisioned by its founders, says Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal.
The Right Livelihood College Malaysia director said the "Rukunegara clearly indicates how we should be caring for each other."
"This culture of caring for each other, seeing our oneness, but at the same time celebrating our differences, we have a wonderful thing going and we are a model to the world," said Anwar after receiving the Public Service Award from the Gandhi Memorial Trust Malaysia on Monday evening.
The award was given in conjunction with this year's United Nations International Day of Non-Violence held at the Royal Lake Club.
The celebration is into its 10th year and annually celebrated on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement against the British.
Gandhi's non-violent acts of civil disobedience helped free India from British rule.
Anwar said it was the task of all Malaysians to be caring and compassionate to each other to counter the negative developments in the country that threatens the unity among Malaysians today.
"This is the best way to deal with the bigots, thugs, and racists. We must always remember that we are one," he said.
Stefan Priesner , the UN resident coordinator for Malaysia and UNDP resident representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, reminded Malaysians not to take unity and peace for granted.
"Gandhi's message of peace is still relevant today, as while conflicts between states have been declining, there are now more conflicts within states in many parts of the world.
"The root cause of this is a lack of tolerance and appreciation for diversity," said Priesner.
He added that Malaysia takes pride in its multicultural identity and has come a long way in appreciating the differences in people's ethnic groups.
"The lesson we have from other countries is that this should never be taken for granted," said Priesner.