Embody the Rukun Negara

Back to basics: Lee (left) said now is the right time to adopt Rukun Negara tenets due to rising tensions.

KUALA LUMPUR: The time is now to restore rationality, emphasise unity in diversity and practise the principles of Rukun Negara, says National Unity Advisory Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

“Failure to address racial and religious prejudices in a timely fashion can lead to deepening divisions within society, which erode social cohesion and trust, leading to polarised communities.

“Incidents of discrimination, hate speech and violence may increase, which creates an environment of fear and suspicion that will take a lot of time and effort to heal,” he said, adding that the government should consider providing conflict mediation training for local community leaders across the country.

He also proposed the National Unity Ministry to consider adopting the recently launched “Maaf Zahir Batin Hari Hari” campaign (#MZB365) into a national campaign going forward.

On April 6, #MZB365 was launched with the aim of creating a united front, promoting forgiveness and tolerance among the people.

It has seen massive support from major media organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs).

Lee said there is no better time to adopt the movement than now due to rising tensions in the country over religious issues and other sensitivities that are threatening to spill over to communities, the economy and possibly even foreign investments in a negative way.

“The controversy over KK Mart has not died down despite calls by the highest authorities for forgiveness and reconciliation, along with calls for boycotts of all businesses run by people of different faiths.

“The time is now to act and seriously reflect upon and practise the principles of Rukun Negara,” he said.

The five principles in Rukun Negara are as follows: Belief in God; Loyalty to King and Country; Supremacy of the Constitution; Rule of Law; and Good Behaviour and Morality.

Activist-lawyer Siti Kasim shared a similar view, noting that community efforts towards unity can only succeed with support from political leaders.“Fundamental change starts from the top down, so politicians from both sides must show they have the political will to advocate for such change.“We must be unified in our condemnation of any and all forms of acts of disunity, regardless of which race or religion is involved,” she said.

She added that the issue is with the small vocal minority who spread lies to fan the flames of disunity among the people.

“Authorities must stop these people, regardless of the race or religion involved, because they freely talk and preach things that incite hatred among communities.

“Failing to stop the source of the cancer will just allow it to spread among communities, especially some in rural areas as well as the less informed ones, who are more susceptible to this ‘brainwashing’,” she said.

The campaign stands strong, with major media organisations and CSOs participating since its launch on April 6.

There is a growing number of participating CSOs, among them being Projek Sama, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, G25, Architect of Diversity, Muslim Professional Forum, Ideas, Patriot, Gerakan Belia Sepunjabi Malaysia, Pure Life Society, Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia, Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs and Ikram Malaysia.

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