KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysians should be wary of the manipulation of racial sentiments by politicians, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Speaking virtually at the launch of the National Unity Policy and National Unity Blueprint 2021-2030 today, the Prime Minister said that was the main challenge in almost all multi-racial countries.
“Politicians who try to gain political mileage by exploiting racial sentiments must be avoided,” he said at the event streamed live on the Ministry of National Unity’s Facebook.
He said the government was aware that Malaysians would never sacrifice social solidarity and national unity they had enjoyed for so long for personal goals.
“The government will never compromise in matters that could jeopardise national unity. It was based on this principle that the Ministry of National Unity was created – to shoulder the responsibility to ensure the success of the national unity agenda,” he said.
In his 30-minute speech, Muhyiddin said Malaysians, especially the frontliners, had proven their empathy towards each other, regardless of race or religion when the country was facing the COVID-19 crisis.
According to him, empathy is a trait that should be strengthened in the society, as it helps in efforts to overcome racial challenges more effectively.
“During the time the country is facing the COVID-19 epidemic, I realise that many of us have also shown empathy towards others.
“We need to continue to nurture this feeling (empathy) in order to understand racial issues from a more balanced and comprehensive perspective. Like in some other multi-racial countries, sometimes we only look at racial issues from the perspective of certain race or group,” he said.
He believes this perspective needs to be improved to make it more balanced and holistic and that it should be nurtured through the education system and the media.
The Prime Minister said the spirit of unity shown by Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, when the country was still facing the COVID-19 crises, helped the government to spread a positive message on supporting the Movement Control Order and complying with the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOP).
“This shows that Malaysians are patriotic because we are united in fighting against the invisible enemy. We are patriotic because we want harmony and unity in this beloved country.
“Congratulations Malaysians for this unity! If we continue with this spirit of unity and assisting one another, I am confident that we will succeed in overcoming whatever challenges we face in the future, InsyaAllah, “he said.
He stressed that the effort to achieve unity is a long and winding journey.
Therefore, he said, all parties must always ascertain that their intentions are right and to jointly strengthen their efforts to ensure Malaysia remains a strong nation and the people are strongly united, not only for our children and grandchildren, but also the future generation.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia’s image as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country was often used as a model of a united nation.
“Although sometimes there are differences, rivalry and conflict, but the social integration that has existed for so long in the society has maintained our unity until today, making other countries to want to learn from us,” he added.