25 February, 2014

A National Reconciliation Update


Since I announced the government’s plan for national reconciliation, I have been touched by the reaction of the Rakyat who have expressed their very strong support and encouragement for a more cohesive and united Malaysia.

The National Reconciliation Plan will be unveiled and implemented over the next few months and I will provide more details soon but I want to share a bit of what is to come.

I am sure most of you recall that immediately after GE13, I was the first to call for national reconciliation while others were only concerned with questioning the legitimacy of the elections, which has been proven to be completely baseless. It was not an idle call. After months of quiet work on it, we are now almost ready to implement our plan of action.

The NRP will aim to encourage an environment that is conducive and promotes National Reconciliation through unity and consensus across the country. What we want to do is to help inspire the rakyat to respect and reconnect with one another so as to make Malaysia a better home for all of us.

The Opposition and various groups have made suggestions on how we should proceed and I thank everyone for their input, which will be considered. The NRP will help steer the course of national unity in this country and I invite everyone to continue supporting the government’s initiatives.

The NRP is based on the principles of RESPECT, WORKING & PLAYING TOGETHER, and the spirit of give and take. This should underpin all that we do. For a start, we want the rakyat to start sharing stories on acts of kindness between races and this includes the mainstream and online media as well as social media users. For example, sharing a picture of a Malay policeman helping an old Chinese lady cross the road helps to reinforce what we already know but have forgotten, that we are all part of a Malaysian family.

We must also discourage the spreading of reports on actions taken by extremist groups and organisations that tend to destroy the trust between races. You know that what these extremist groups are doing and saying on social media sites are wrong, so should we share such views online? If you want to preserve the harmony of this country, don’t let these instigators overpower us! Even better, don’t pass on news of such incidents as it is almost certain to incite fear and hatred.

Do not give these extremists the publicity they crave. If no one reports on their actions, they will not gain the recognition they want. They will not be able recruit more people to their cause. They will fail. But it comes down to us. We don’t have to condemn them, just ignore them. Don’t give them the airtime or the publicity.

While you will see the National Reconciliation Plan unfold in the next few months, we all know that National Reconciliation does not belong solely to the government. It is no longer the era of “government knows best.” It is a concept that belongs to the people so all Malaysians must play a role if we want peace and harmony.

Our grandparents understood this and have been doing this for decades but we appear to be paying less attention to this today. If you want a better nation, if you want to have your faith restored in one another, then take the steps needed to do it.

Once you do this, it will not matter who says what or which group makes silly demands, because you will know how you, your neighbours and by extension, how most Malaysians feel. If we feel united as a people, these extremists, regardless of who they are and what they do, will get no traction. Destroy them by having faith in yourself and your fellow Malaysian.