NATIONAL unity is a process that seeks to unite people from different ethnic, religion and socio-economic backgrounds for beneficial goals where citizens think, feel and care for each another and sacrifice individual interests for the country.
“There comes a time… When we heed a certain call… When the world must come together as one… There are people dying… Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life… The greatest gift of all” – lyrics from the song, We Are the World.
There was a time in Malaysia, when all races grew up with tolerance for one other and inter-racial friendship was sincere. Religion was not a big issue.
Sometime ago, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said, after 62 years of existence and experience as an independent country, national unity in Malaysia still seems elusive and it is always a work in progress.
Leaders often deplore the lack of unity but many make seditious remarks and irresponsible actions. And policies tend to continue segregation and create disunity.
There have been calls for all segments of society to be treated as equal. It’s really the ultimate utopia. Even among family members, not everybody is of the same height, built and economical wellbeing. Confucian roles expect obedience and honouring elders and to consult elders on big decisions. The interest of the family is expected to supersede the interests of the individual.
We do not need to question who came first to this beloved land or the origin of the Malays. If Indians came here first about two millennia ago, why did they come here? If Malays originated from Yunnan, China, how and when did Yunnan became part of China?
We are all from Adam and Eve (except atheists) and “pendatang” and will leave after a life expectancy of about 76 years.
This land is prosperous and attracts everyone.
We also do not need to imply Malays are incompetent and lazy and will lose out in a competitive system.
There have been manuscripts written by locals as far back as the 13th century that reflected the state of the Malay archipelago recording the survival and lifestyle habits of the Malays. Many are lost because of the mass copying and distribution of the manuscripts by Western collectors, researchers and orientalists. Some can be found at the Leiden University (the Netherlands), the United Kingdom National Library and the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and even in Russia. Many were in the old jawi scripts.
A popular classical text is Hukum Kanun Melaka – the legal code of the Malacca Sultanate (1400-1511) – reaffirmed the primacy of Malay customary law, while accommodating and assimilating Islamic principles.
In the 1940s, significant Malay opposition to the idea of Malayan Union was spontaneous. Most non-Malays were generally divided or indifferent until it was abandoned by the British. The radical Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and the Malayan Democratic Union (MDU – established in Singapore) supported the proposal.