On Saturday, 23rd February 2013 at zubedy's office, we held the launching of YB Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa's book 'Aren't We All Malaysians'. The event started from 9.30 a.m. and lasted until 11.30 a.m. During the event, Datuk Mujahid talked about what he wrote in this book and recollected some childhood stories that shaped his inclusive view on racial relations and Unity in Malaysia.
As YB Datuk Mujahid heads PAS’ National Unity Committee, he is PAS’ trustee to explore the dynamics between the Muslims and non-Muslims. As such, we support this gap-bridging effort that cuts across all races and religions because it sits well with our Unity endeavour. This collaboration creates a cross-introduction for both zubedy and Mujahid. This book as a synergy between the zubedy brand and YB Datuk Mujahid’s ideas.
This is a book on Unity by a PAS leader. And as PAS in one of the players in the political arena, it is good for people whether they are PAS supporters or not, to read it. Thinking Malaysians must understand that the underlying issue is not within partisanship. Everyone has their own ways to achieve their goals, but there are people who are hardcore or while there are those who are moderate. The hardcores tend to favour exclusivity while the moderates embrace inclusiveness in their approach.We need to work with the inclusive ones. We need to give our support to the inclusives in every political party. We support them not for their politics, but for their Unity endeavours. zubedy is always open to meet them and assist in publishing their books. As YB Datuk Mujahid said in this book, “Politics is not all about finding the opportunity to attack the opposition; mature politics is looking for best solutions”. At the bottom of it, it’s not about which side we are on. It is about choosing the inclusives among them. The real battle is between the exclusive and the inclusive, the extreme and the moderate.
During the event, YB Datuk Mujahid picked some stories that reflect his multiculturally influenced upbringing such as:
The 13th May incident bears witness of the solidarity between ethnic groups. The old-timers on Acheh Street tell us that when theracial tension broke out, the community leaders decided to take turns to watch the area – the Malays to guard the Chinese area and the Chinese to watch the Malay area so that no one could take advantage. Ask the old-time Chinese and Malays about May 13 and they would just smile and say,“Here, there was no problem, we all took care of each other…”
(Chapter 3; page 31,32)
I still remember my friend Theam Hock. He would visit our home during Hari Raya and we would then go to visit our other friends homes together. The whole day, Theam Hock would act like a Malay and wanted to be called Sufian. During Chinese New Year, we would go and celebrate with ‘Sufian’ at his house.
(Chapter 4; page 42)
Whenever Supaya sent my sister and me to school in Kuala Lumpur, Supaya would carry my bag, hold my hand, and walk me to class, to the point of embarrassing me in front of my friends. I was already in Primary Four. Supaya, however, sternly reasoned his actions, “tuan instructed me to take care of you until you got into class.” I did not understand then the meaning of being loyal to instructions; only now when I look back can I understand that Supaya was being loyal to his Malay employer. I see this as a rare display of loyalty of an employee towards his employer, even though they belong to different races.
(Chapter 3; page 37)
“Differences in Malaysia is not a reason to hate each other, it is a reason to cherish the diversity. Not just to understand and recognise, but also to legitimise it. At the end of the day, it is about trust - the belief that we all share the same dream,” he said at the launch.
In his speech, Datuk Mujahid, who is the MP of Parit Buntar, notes that for some readers of his book would be able to relate to his multicultural stories whereas, some others may not and wonder why. “So I hope this will give them the courage and motivation to understand the reality of multicultural environment that we live in.”
He linked his experiences to the teachings of Islam as taught by his late father. “Look at yourself and compare with Islamic [teachings]. If it’s in line, that is fine. If not, you have to change.”
“When you’re convinced with something, [do it] with knowledge and intellectual capacity. Don’t blindly support it. You have to read,” he further added.
“The world and Malaysia are seeing a growing influence of Islam. It is crucial to ensure that the face of Islam is justly represented,” Anas said. “As the trustee of his party to explore the dynamics between Muslims and non-Muslims, he is the one for the job. We respect his unity endeavours as we support all gap-bridging effort that cuts across creed and politics.”
To watch the video streaming for the book launch, please click here.