Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Call for unity on anniversary of M'sian race riots By Melissa Goh - Channel News Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: The call for unity has gathered momentum across the country -- on radio, television, and online, various campaigns were launched by Malaysians to foster unity and racial harmony. This comes as the country marks the 44th anniversary of the deadly race riots of May 13, 1969.
In the newspapers, members of the private sector took out a full page advertisement, calling for a truce.
Months of intense politicking, leading up to the bruising political battles of the 13th general election, has left the country scarred.
Anas Zubedy, a businessman, said: "What happened is both sides of the political divide have been throwing a lot of hurtful words at each other. So, we are a nation with wounded hearts. We have a whole nation of millions of people with wounded hearts and we have to do something about it. We have to heal it.
"The most important thing to do right now is that when you look at an article, which sells the idea of hurtful words or any racist article, the first thing we have to do is to ignore it."
Younger politicians from both sides of the divide have echoed the call for unity.
On Twitter, UMNO vice president Hishammuddin Hussein and youth chief Khairy Jamalluddin backed Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Azmin Ali's call to reject divisive race-based politics.
As tens of thousands of Malaysians gathered at nationwide rallies organised by the opposition to reject the outcome of the May 5 elections, which they claimed were rigged, they are also championing the agenda to fight racism -- which they say has no place in the new political landscape in Malaysia.
Rafizi Ramli, the Member of Parliament for Pandan, said: "I look at May 13 as a reminder that we need to get rid of the scourge of racism in this country, and eradicate race-based policies. It's a good reminder. There's a lot of lessons to be learnt from it. But I don't fear it, and neither, I think, the majority of young Malaysians -- who have stopped looking at May 13 as a bad thing or something to be feared of."
Malaysia has a relatively young population -- more than half of the people were born after the May 13 race riots in 1969. Many were impatient and have no fear in their pursuit of change.
In a Kuala Lumpur neighbourhood, spring flowers (flags) have sprouted once again, in defiance of an earlier police order to ban them. The organiser said the project, dubbed the Malaysian Spring, was not to topple the government but to bring hope for a better Malaysia.

No comments: