Reading statements from Very Important People in the mainstream press can be a strange experience. Here are two people who take decidedly different viewpoints. Granted, it's not the same context or audience, but few will question that they both refer to our Malaysian condition:
FIFTY years of the national relay race has been run and we have covered a good distance and achieved much.
However, every coin has two sides.
Let us not be naive in thinking it is all a rosy picture. There is still much room for improvement.
Interaction between the ethnic groups, to the extent that it exists, remains more of an urban phenomenon. In recent years, ethnic identities appear to have become more explicit. In some instances, what divides us has become more emphasised than what unites us.
Moreover, the impasse at the global level between Islam and non-Islam affects even a moderate country like Malaysia.
Matters of faith are topics of immense controversy. They provoke overzealousness and coercive action, and drive Malaysians further and further away from each other.
Our diversity was meant to be our unique asset. The Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara institutionalised living together in peaceful, harmonious co-existence.
YET, 50 YEARS AFTER MERDEKA, WE ARE STILL GRAPPLING WITH CONCERNS ABOUT UNITY.
It is also very important we have leaders who are earnest in maintaining unity, never resorting to religious or ethnic posturing to further their political careers at the expense of peace and security. If they fail, they must be held accountable and made answerable before the law. [More]
Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said today the citizens’ wish list issued by 42 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) does not represent the aspirations and wishes of the people nor does it reflect the reality.
"Rather, it is a clever attempt to disunite the people in the country," he said.
"This is a statement that ignores the reality acknowledged by the world and the people as well as Malaysia’s achievements since independence. One thing that is recognised by the world and has been a model (for the world) is the unity of the people and their ability to live in harmony.
"This is not a citizens’ wish but the wish of a handful of people. This is uncalled for," he told reporters when asked to comment on the citizens’ wish list initiated by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) in commemoration of Malaysia’s 50th anniversary of independence.
"They (42 NGOs) are an elite group which cannot be considered as representing the people and are not a group representing the feelings of the people below and they are removed from the heart and pulse of the people," he said. [More]