Monday 05 Jun 2023
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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 5, 2022 - December 11, 2022

Malaysian politics should hang its head in shame that even after six decades of self-governance, the Conference of Rulers felt so compelled as to call for politicians to stop raising racial or religious issues “for the purpose of inciting the community”.

The fact that the primary objective of the Rukun Negara — “to achieve and foster better unity among the society” — does not appear to have even taken root in the hearts of some of the nation’s most influential political leaders of this time should be of concern to the citizenry.

But that these politicians’ attempts to rouse racial and religious hatred during the recent general election was widely condemned, and the irresponsible culprits named and shamed, followed by police reports and retaliatory demonstrations of Malaysian solidarity and togetherness, mark how far we have come.

And that the Conference of Rulers’ call has been widely welcomed with relief and gratitude suggests that a large part of Malaysian society is sick and tired of having their existence and well-being defined by the politics of hate, rather than the friendship and camaraderie that they can experience for themselves in their daily lives, away from the curation and narration of politicians with vile vested interests.

The newly established unity government — a unique proposition in a time of political fraction — has many challenges ahead. Whether it survives to the natural end of the parliamentary term depends greatly on whether all the politicians involved can set aside their differences and focus on the greater good — the well-being of the country and its people.

That is a principle we should all live by. Only by doing so shall we cease to nurture the parasite that is bankrupt politicians and their incendiary rhetoric.

We, the people, need to choose a better quality of leaders, by we, ourselves, deciding to be better Malaysians.

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