Bringing unity to the fore


Ling (centre) and Johor unity ambassadors helping out during a community ‘kenduri’ cook-out programme. — THOMas yOnG/The star

JOHOR Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar’s appointment as the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong could help to cool the political temperature in the country.

Johor health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said the Sultan’s decrees have always been moderate and widely accepted not only by Johoreans but also people in other parts of Malaysia.

“The rakyat is looking forward to a more stable and harmonious country with Sultan Ibrahim as the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“I hope that those who like to touch on the 3R (race, religion and royalty) topics will refrain from stirring up such issues after this,” he said.

Ling, who is Yong Peng assemblyman, noted that Tuanku as the Ruler of Johor frequently attended festive celebrations of the Chinese and Indian communities, which shows that he accepts the different cultures and beliefs of the people.

Ling trying his hand at making the thosai, a popular Indian dish, during a programme in Johor Baru recently. — THOMas yOnG/The starLing trying his hand at making the thosai, a popular Indian dish, during a programme in Johor Baru recently. — THOMas yOnG/The star

“I believe that Tuanku will bring the Bangsa Johor spirit, which emphasises unity, peace and moderation, to the national level,” he said.

The MCA Youth chief also believes that the new King could play a significant role in “putting out the fire” before it spreads.

“It has become the people’s habit to link everything and anything to race and religion these days. In the past, whenever racial or controversial issues arose in Johor, Sultan Ibrahim would be quick to respond or provide his views.

“This has helped to cool temperatures and prevent the issue from spinning out of control,” he said, adding that the Ruler is well equipped and experienced to handle such issues on the national level.

Taking cue from the Ruler, Ling said the state government has allocated RM7.3mil since 2018 to promote unity and foster better ties among the people.

He added that unity was part of the state government’s Maju Johor agenda, outlined under Strategy Four: Fostering Unity among the Bangsa Johor people, which is a term used to address those living in the state.

“The agenda was also in line with the Johor Development Master Plan 2030 which puts forth the element of unity. Among our objectives are to focus on the social, unity and harmony aspects of the people,” he said.

As such, programmes conducted included the Unity Ambassador programme and the cross-cultural dance programme where school students were encouraged to combine dances from different cultures into a performance.

Johor unity ambassadors helping out during a recycling drive as part of their community engagement efforts to foster stronger ties among the people.Johor unity ambassadors helping out during a recycling drive as part of their community engagement efforts to foster stronger ties among the people.

“While continuing the ongoing programmes this year, we are planning to expand the cross-cultural dance programme to vernacular schools to get more young people involved,” he said.

In efforts to further promote unity, Ling said he plans to launch the “Port Perpaduan” or unity spots initiative soon to recognise food and beverage outlets that carry unity elements.

“We have many coffee shops and eateries that are frequented by people from various walks of life. Some were even patronised by the Johor royal family.

“As a start, we will choose two of such shops in each of Johor’s 10 districts and name them Port Perpaduan that serve food and drinks that everybody can consume,” added Ling.

Apart from that, he said the state Unity and Integrity Department also introduced an aqua-farming project involving Rukun Tetangga (KRT) communities.

He said the department worked with local councils to allow residential communities to run aquaponic farming activities on unused plots of land.

“So far, 54 locations are involved in the project where they produce vegetables such as lady’s fingers, mustard greens and long beans, as well as fish for the consumption of the surrounding community.

“The produce is sold lower than market price to strengthen food security while taking care of the people’s pockets,” he said.

Jalan Meranti, Taman Sri Pulai Rukun Tetangga members proudly showing the fresh produce such as mushrooms and fish from their aquaponic project.Jalan Meranti, Taman Sri Pulai Rukun Tetangga members proudly showing the fresh produce such as mushrooms and fish from their aquaponic project.

Ling added that the state appointed unity ambassadors were also involved in the aquaponic project and urged them to come up with more fun programmes to bring people together.

Since the Unity Ambassador programme’s inception in 2022, two batches of ambassadors from various races and backgrounds have been appointed, he said, adding that they were mostly public and private university students.

“I also hope they can bring forward the unity spirit when they enter the workforce and contribute to national unity in a positive way.

“Apart from the state and federal government’s efforts, I call upon the people to stand together and keep in mind that racial unity is our asset and should be cherished.

“Let’s not break it by spreading hate or stirring sensitive issues, which will not only threaten our racial harmony but also the country and state’s development and growth.”

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StarSpecial , Ling Tian Soon

   

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