How about a unity declaration this year?


“HIGH confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed.” This is part of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Merdeka speech in 1957.

Tun VT Sambanthan, during the debate on the draft Constitution, said: “We belong to a plural society, and we should always remember that in such a society we have to recognise that psychology has its own place.”

Tun Tan Cheng Lock, in his inaugural speech as MCA president, said one of the basic aims of the MCA was to help develop the process of making the whole of Malaya into one country, one people and one government.

In obtaining independence, these three gentlemen functioned as a closeknit family and not as leaders of communal political parties trying to be heroes to their own people.

Need I say more on unity?

New Malaysia seems to be moving away from being united. Even a controversial speaker from a foreign land can spark unnecessary debates and sow divisions.

Worse, Cabinet ministers from different parties in the same coalition are pointing fingers at each other, and a major party in the coalition is showing cracks.

At this point, polemics, rhetoric and racial bigotry are unwanted. The joint statement signed by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders is a relief (bit.ly/pakatan_unity). But it is not enough.

I suggest to the National Unity and Social Wellbeing Minister that he draft a declaration to be called the “Putrajaya Unity Declaration 2019”. It should be a document to be respected like the Federal Constitution.

It should be signed by the leaders of all political parties (present and future), to put in writing a commitment towards peace and unity. It will be the political parties’ responsibility to take necessary actions against any recalcitrant members.

There must be accountability at the highest levels of all political parties. I know, it is not easy to extract a recalcitrant cork from a bottle....

We need to elucidate on the peace and unity we are looking for. So, among other things, the declaration must include indices or yardsticks to measure progress, and such indices need to be monitored quarterly by the ministry. Experiences in Sabah and Sarawak can also be used as a basic benchmark. And a progress report should be presented and discussed at every new Parliamentary sitting.

In the last sermon, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Arabs have no superiority over non-

Arabs and non-Arabs have no superiority over Arabs, You are all equal except by piety and good actions”.

“It is He Who hath produced you from a single soul: here is a place of sojourn and a place of departure: We detail Our signs for people who understand” (Quran 6:98). The Quran acknowledges the diversity in humanity but described it as a functional aspect of existence and not structural.

I trust the respective parties will give due respect to the proposed declaration and hopefully reduce unnecessary tensions and time- wasting, and grow in compassion in our march towards greater things.

For the Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16, I would strongly urge the organising committee to invite the leaders of all political parties to attend and sign the declaration as a show of solidarity.

What say you, Malaysians?

In the meantime, Selamat Hari Merdeka to all Malaysians!

SALEH MOHAMMED

Kuala Lumpur

   

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