HARMONY AND UNITY: Make friends with other races

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By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, trustee, 1Malaysia Foundation, Kuala Lumpur | [email protected] 

WHEN launching the World Interfaith Harmony Week celebrations at a secondary school in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin spoke on the need to foster unity among students of all races in schools.
Indeed, the young generation must set the right example for preserving racial harmony and unity.

In this regard, schools and other educational institutions must develop a conducive social environment and encourage communication and interaction among students of different races, religions and cultures.

I have always advocated that to promote togetherness, students of different races must break down the racial divide and reach out to make friends with those from other ethnic groups by showing mutual respect and trust for one another.

Conscious and committed efforts must be made by the heads of schools and teachers to help the future generation of Malaysian leaders to achieve this all important objective of building unity in diversity in multiracial Malaysia.

In all events, ranging from sports to co-curricular activities, efforts must be made to bring our students together so that they can interact with one another.

Schools are the ideal places to promote racial integration. Teachers and parents must play their roles in helping out in this process.

Parents must encourage their children to mix with different races so that they can better understand one another’s religion, culture and way of life.

Sustained efforts must be made to break the racial divide, if there is any, among students of diverse races so as to overcome the problem of racial polarisation in schools.

Today’s students are our future leaders. Upon their shoulders lie the responsibility of building a united Malaysian nation with a common and shared destiny for all.

The inculcation of proper values and noble objectives to promote unity should begin in primary schools so that we can produce a future generation of Malaysians who are fully conscious of their responsibilities towards nation-building.

We have to go back to basics. In this regard, it is the Rukun Negara and its five principles — belief in God, loyalty to king and country, upholding the Constitution, rule of law, and good behaviour and morality. These should be the guiding light for building a united Malaysia.

Unity and harmony must be a part of our culture and there must be more opportunities for people of diverse races to meet and forge closer friendship and understanding for the sake of our nation’s future.