KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22, 2015:
Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that it would be impossible to form a nation such as Malaysia without racial harmony.
Speaking at the International Peace Conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina yesterday, the former Deputy Prime Minister said creating and maintaining racial harmony in an ethnically diverse society was integral for a country to function.
He said this fact was recognised by Malaysia’s forefathers, the leaders of the nation in their struggle to build the nation during its infancy after gaining Independence.
“They realised that without racial harmony, there will be no political stability, and without political stability there will be no economic development and growth.
Muhyiddin also noted that creating and maintaining racial harmony in an ethnically divided society was not easy and this remained an integral challenge for leaders of the nation.
“There were suspicion and prejudices among the different ethnic communities in the early days of Independence
“Each ethnic group aspired to have greater share in politics, economy and society and started to put forth conflicting demands.”
He added that as such, the existence of a multiracial political coalition was important in order to achieve cohesion.
“For the greater good of maintaining racial harmony and political stability, they had to agree to share political power, to concede on certain things and sometimes to withstand mounting pressures from their own community.”
He also mentioned that questioning the special position of the Malays and Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak risks political peril as it would sow distrust and lose the majority of electoral voters.
“Likewise, political parties that undermine the legitimate interests of the other races will risk losing significant percentage of votes in elections and will fail to form the federal government.
“In the end, most political parties become more compliant to the constitutional framework that seeks to balance racial interests, and in so doing promote racial harmony, political stability and national unity,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the initial survival of the political coalition, as well as the maintenance of political stability, rested on the wisdom of the country’s leaders to gain the trust of their own race, and at the same time forge true understanding between the leaders of different races.
“They had to emerge as a coalition of the moderates whose primary concern is not only to safeguard the interests of one particular race, but also to respect the legitimate interests of all races.”
Recently, the country has seen two different fractions of Malaysian political and ideological stance, namely the red shirt rally, that took place on Sept 16, as well as the Bersih 4.0 illegal rally that took place on Aug 29 and Aug 30 in the nation’s capital.
The seemingly peaceful demonstrations display the tension that now exists in the nation as well as the frustration that has been cultivated between communities of different races, beliefs and ambitions.