FOSTERING RACIAL UNITY – LESSONS LEARNED FROM SOUTH AFRICA
In December 2013, many people came together to mark the death of Nelson Mandela, including world leaders who turned up at the memorial service for him. The world would always remember his legacy of uniting South Africa and to end the apartheid regime.
Indeed, Mandela is an icon of the struggle for peace and reconciliation at a time people have grown distrustful of politicians. He symbolises what wise, farsighted and enlightened leadership can do for a nation. He steered South Africa towards peace, pluralism and co-existence during a difficult and turbulent period in the country’s history. Perhaps there are lessons for Malaysia to learn, especially to our politicians who are quick to join the band wagon preaching on race supremacy, emphasizing on religion, race and divisive politics, all in the name of civil liberty.
Holding the nation together as one in a multiracial and multi-religious country is never easy but Mandela held the respect of the blacks, whites and the ethnically mixed people of his country. He also won the admiration of the world. In contrast, more often than not, our politicians only think about winning the next general election or worse, the next party election. Their political goals, which are, in most cases, purely selfish and personal, will never take them to greater heights. They simply lack the vision and cannot see the big picture.
The world has moved on. The media, through the various platforms, have brought people closer than ever. Travelling has become easier, faster and cheaper. Malaysians can see for themselves the changes. No one can hold back Malaysia. No politician can continue to preach hatred and believe that this is the best way to get elected. If Malaysians are truly unified and no longer distrust and fear each other, race based politics will no longer have a raison d’etre.
Conscious and committed efforts must be made by to achieve this all-important...