Merdeka theme must reflect our multicultural country

press-st2Pusat Komas is totally shocked and appalled by the recent comments and statements made by the former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and present PM Najib Razak saying that the Merdeka theme was chosen based on Islamic demands.
This trend of thinking is in fact one of the strong factors that has been reinforcing the division and segregation of race and religion in Malaysia. Ethnic based politics has been the order of the day since the country’s Independence and this has definitely not benefited its multiracial and cultural communities.
After the previous 12th general election of March 8, 2008, Malaysian have shown the government of the day and the politicians that we will not stand for race-based politics and this was reflected in our votes for change then. The people had sent a strong message to politicians on both sides of the political divide that playing the racial card for political ambitions will not be tolerated by the voters and Malaysians in general.
Independence day should be celebrated with pride and honour not to be tainted with dirty politics and using religion as a tool for self interests. Using race and religion as propaganda material to elevate oneself pending the next 13th general election is totally shameful and justifies the branding of it being labeled as “gutter politics”.
The Malaysian constitution describes the nation as a secular state and Islam is its official religion. Both former Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn were both lawyers and had acknowledged Malaysia as a secular state based on the constitution.
The theme of Independence Day should reflect the interests and aspirations of all Malaysians and not of just one community or ethnic group. PM Najib of all people should know this and not be part of the fanatical zeal of propagating one group over another.
It is now 55 years after independence and the nation is overdue to clearly move away from racist politics and political agenda towards a united nation. It is high time the Malaysian government show the world that it is serious in its endeavour to lead the nation towards progress, stability and prosperity for all and not only for selected groups of people.
Malaysia has to immediately demonstrate its membership in the progressive international community by ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). This is an international human rights instrument which provides a check and balance mechanism for governments to account for their policies and actions on any issues relating to racism in Malaysia.
Pusat Komas is currently spear-heading the ‘ Ratify ICERD Now, Stop Racism ’ campaign together with seven other civil societies to advocate for the Malaysian government to ratify the convention.
In the coming elections, all candidates must pledge to the people that they will uphold a non-discrimination position regardless of race, religion. Most importantly, politicians and governments must walk the talk. Enough talk, enough propaganda, and enough racial politics in our country!

1 comment:

Amarjeet Prasad said...

Good one..
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