That Malaysia is a divided nation is now beyond doubt — a product of its history and deliberate policy of the colonial regime and the post-colonial government that has been in power since independence. Despite its rhetoric of a Malaysia for all Malaysians, the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) and its ideology of Malay (or more precisely UMNO) supremacy has been the main driver of the wedge between the various ethnic groups in Malaysia.
There have long been members of civil society who have tried to remove this wedge. This is a list (not exhaustive) of current peoples’ initiatives to bring Malaysians together.
Project Malaysia was created by a group of Malaysians (representing different races, genders, ages, professions, etc) to respond to “a need for solution – driven, informed opinions on issues affecting Malaysian society as a whole.”
This is a blog by Farish Noor who is a well known scholar of Islam in Southeast Asia. The blog states that among its missions is an “…attempt to highlight aspects of Malaysia’s past and present that have been systematically downplayed or relegated to the background of the national imaginary. We cherish the nation’s multifaceted past, our long historical legacy that dates back to the Hindu-Buddhist and animist era; the rich and diverse contributions made by the coming of Modernity, Islam and other Asian and Western civilisational influences. We hold that ‘Malaysia’ as a concept is too complex to be quarantined within neat ideological or epistemic boundaries, and that we as a nation should celebrate our diversity rather than deny it…”
The CPPS analyses policies in a race-blind manner – i.e. analysing the benefits to Malaysians in general. It aims “…at fostering open-minded dialogue, enlightened leadership and better governance. The belief underpinning the establishment of the CPPS is that the challenge of building a cohesive, competitive and successful multi-racial Malaysian society can best be met by open discussion buttressed by rigorous analytical work and a spirit of tolerance and respect for the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders in the country…”
An initiative of Haris Ibrahim, to make Malaysians responsible for the legislators that they send to Parliament or state legislative assemblies by actively holding them accountable.
More to come…