Vision for a Malaysian Malaysia

By Tunku Aziz (The Malaysian Insider)

SEPT 13 – Fifty-two years of Merdeka, of being in full control of our own destiny, and what have we achieved as far as national unity is concerned?

It remains a forlorn hope, a gleam in the eye at best. A harsh comment, perhaps, but it is not far from the truth.

The polarisation which exists today and which appears to have taken a grip on the nation as a whole must not be allowed to gain a permanent foothold.

Bearing in mind that we are talking in national terms, the problem bedeviling us affects us all-they are our problems both individually and collectively. What can we all do about them?

Whether we succeed or fail in bringing about sustainable national unity depends very much on the social, educational, and economic policies that we develop and implement.

Of these, I consider education to be the most important agent of change. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that because our education policy allows for separate existence of ethnic schools, a sort of educational apartheid, whole generations of Malaysians of different racial backgrounds have grown up without the benefit of studying, playing together and enjoying the rich cultural diversity to be found in this country of ours.

The result is apathy, indifference, ignorance and prejudice. All this is a far cry from my own school days when we were in it together, and by the time we left school, we would have made friends with boys and girls of all races, many of whom are still my friends today.

Race was an accident, and it certainly never bothered me. I am convinced that the road to national integration is through the portals of our national schools.

I do not believe that you can create racial unity and understanding by putting young children in their separate national institutions.

My views on a single education system do not go down well with people who are blinkered, and care little or nothing about the future of their country. We have little choice in the matter if we want to achieve integration on a sustainable basis.

The government must find the courage to review the education system with the single, overarching objective of achieving national unity by providing one that, while meeting the language needs of the Chinese and the Indians, is truly national in every respect.

All of us must drop our chauvinistic and selfish grandstanding, and start to think about the country for once. Otherwise, there is not going to be a ghost of a chance of creating a society that can live side by side in harmony, grounded in mutual trust, respect and understanding.

The harmony that we proudly claim to exist in our country is not deep rooted. Scratch the surface, and what do we really see? Uneasy coexistence, compounded by the most irrational suspicion and prejudice.

Read more at: Vision for a Malaysian Malaysia – Tunku Aziz