Saturday February 9, 2013
Unity in diversity a cornerstone
AS the Chinese community in Malaysia celebrates the Lunar New Year of the Snake, it is appropriate for them to ponder and reflect on their past achievements towards nation-building and prepare themselves to face the multifarious challenges ahead.
They should take pride that they have made many contributions since the time of independence to help develop, together with other fellow Malaysians, and make Malaysia what it is today.
The Chinese New Year, just like other Malaysian festivities, should not only be celebrated by the Chinese alone.
On the contrary, through the concept of open houses, other races should join in the celebration in the spirit of 1 Malaysia.
Malaysia’s unique tradition of open houses during religious festivals is a celebration of the triumph of multiracialism.
It is also a reflection of an open and warm society imbued with goodwill and understanding which are vital attributes for building peace, harmony and unity.
No sound and rational Malaysian will dispute the need for all Malaysians, irrespective of race, to embrace the values of 1 Malaysia.
Malaysia is indeed a colourful tapestry and it reminds us that we exist in a country with diversities in terms of race, religion and culture – a uniqueness which is hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Many nations recognise Malaysia for her diversity and uniqueness.
Political leaders and Malaysians should take to heart these diversities and practice them in their daily life.
We need not only to embrace the 1 Malaysia values but we need to put them into practice and give meaning to the 1 Malaysia concept.
The intermingling of the various races during festivities helps to reinforce goodwill, unity and racial harmony.
This is vitally important as it promotes integration and unity in diversity.
Racial harmony and unity must never be taken for granted.
We have to ensure that the country’s unity, painstakingly built and carefully nurtured over the years and which remains one of our cornerstones, is not threatened by any quarter.
To realise this, Malaysians must be totally committed to the philosophy of moderation and the need for inter-racial understanding and its acceptance in a multi-racial community.
Therefore, let us all embrace our differences and respect our diversity.
We must make unity in diversity a cornerstone in our nation building and a hallmark in our national life.
The fact that all Malaysians are able to live in peace and harmony, so elusive in some other troubled lands, bears testimony to our willingness to live and co-exist with one another.
Therefore, let it be the resolution of all Malaysians, irrespective of race to work tirelessly to preserve, protect and promote our peace, harmony and unity
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
1 Malaysia Foundation