Oleh Mohamed Azmi Mohd Rasheed Khan, Ketua Bahagian Perkhidmatan Korporat, Institut Masa Depan Malaysia
THE commemoration of Malaysia’s birth on Sept 16 marks the country’s 58th anniversary, a crucial time in the nation’s history.
Unification is the driving force behind Malaysia’s existence, a country born from the exceptional diversity of its people.
Sabah and Sarawak were officially united with the federation and became a part of the country in 1963.
This yearly celebration is an emblem of their steadfast commitment to a united Malaysia, underscoring the message that unity goes beyond cultural differences and territorial boundaries.
As citizens, we must contemplate our common history and principles and work towards solidifying the unbreakable ties that have kept our country intact.
Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and the embodiment of a nation based on diversity and mutual respect.
This nation has faced its fair share of turbulence, characterised by unpredictable leadership transitions, shifts in political alliances and disappointment among its people.
And, as it ramps up preparations for Malaysia Day this Saturday, it is still being afflicted by decades-long polarisation over race, religion and reform.
Polarising issues have, from time to time, scuttled efforts to reach compromises, permeating the society, endangering inter-ethnic harmony and eroding social cohesion.
But Malaysians, on the whole, are generally tolerant and understanding in trying to find comfort in areas of life that can bring them together during these challenging times.
Sports, food and arts continue to cross racial and religious lines in promoting unity and tolerance.
And, they are constantly reminded that they have more in common, whether it is by supporting their favourite sports teams, appreciating the vast cultural heritage of the country through the arts or simply enjoying the rich tapestry of Malaysian cuisines.
Solely relying on passions and interests won’t lead to unity as it takes a combined will to bridge divides rooted in racial and religious differences to achieve true unification.
Respect for one another’s rights, feelings, beliefs, customs and habits remains a guiding concept.
To establish lasting unity, it is necessary to prioritise courteous and open dialogues that can promote empathy and cooperation. It is crucial to remember that unity cannot be forced, rather it must be fostered through inclusivity, education and mutual understanding.
Towards this, Malaysia’s educational institutions play a crucial role by shaping the hearts and minds of the upcoming generations through the cultivation of values such as acceptance, diversity and tolerance.
If we emphasise the significance of cultural consciousness and empathy, it can aid in overcoming the stumbling blocks that hinder our society from coming together.
Thus, amidst times of indecisiveness and political instability, Malaysia Day remains a notable symbol of the significance of diversity and amicability that has steered the country’s progress since its establishment.
These principles serve as a glimmer of hope that Malaysians hold onto tightly. It’s not just a motto but a collective obligation and a glimpse into the nation’s toughness.
So, let us unite and mark this day, reaffirming our determination to form a future that is more prosperous, peaceful and harmonious for all.
Happy Malaysia Day.