PUTRAJAYA, Sept 4 -- All quarters must go beyond their respective political ideologies by upholding the Constitution and the values of Rukun Negara for the sake of unity in this country, said Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Social Sciences lecturer Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian.
A panelist in the discourse ‘Discussion of Statehood’ titled Intellectualism and Nation State Development: Where are we and where are we heading?, Sivamurugan said the principle that the society should hold on fast to in upholding unity is courtesy and morality, other than the joint ownership of the nation.
‘’But currently, the core of the struggle of certain groups is politics and it is easy to be spread through our social media platforms presently,’’ he said in a discourse organised by the Higher Education Leadership Academy, Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) and Universiti Putra Malaysia at MOHE, here, today.
He said the intellectual and academia must carry out their social responsibility in the building of a nation state by mingling with society and creating a two way communication in order to understand the way the communities of today think, their wants and their needs.
Another discourse panelist, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies Principle Research Fellow Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong said the foundation of the formation of Malaysia could not be compared to other South East Asian countries such as Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines because Malaysia was based on integration while the concept of the three countries was assimilation.
‘’In racial integration, different races can live in contrasting ways. But in assimilation, different races cannot maintain their ways of life and must identify with the majority group,’’ he said.
For example, Teo said the Chinese community in Indonesia must adopt Jawanese names while there are no vernacular schools in Singapore.
‘’In Malaysia, assimilation only takes place in Kelantan maybe when the Siamese, Chinese and Indian communities in the state talk in the Kelantanese dialect. But, outside of Kelantan they learn Bahasa Melayu maybe merely to pass the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination," he said.
Teo said unity in Malaysia, which rightly should become better, was currently becoming more challenging and it should not be allowed to become worse in future.
Another panelist, the incumbent of the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Institution of Malay Rulers Chair Prof Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz said a study must be conducted to identify whether vernacular schools affected unity in the country.
‘’The study will help the government in making a decision quickly on the issue of vernacular schools because it is a hot topic which can turn into a racial issue and impact on ethnic relations,’’ she said.
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