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- Albert

OK, I hope that this post will help Esther in her assignment. The topic that I'm supposed to write is about Unity and National Integration - What Has the Government Done and Is Doing. I hope that my post will somehow be relevant to her case study.

Our country, Malaysia, has always prided about its multi-racial community and its culturally rich features. We are always proud to say that the three largest races, namely the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians are able to co-exist without social unrest (but this had not been the case all the while, unfortunately). Of course, there are also the indigenous people of Malaysia who live mainly in Sabah and Sarawak, namely the Kadazan, Iban, Bidayuh and many more.

Since the British rule, there was an influx of foreign labours into the state of Malaya, where labourers were imported from China (Canton and Amoy) as well as from India (mostly from Tamil Nadu). The problem was that when there was a high population of Chinese and Indians in Malaya, they began to form settlements. Not that this was bad, but these settlements (which would soon form towns) were exclusive to certain race. There were Indian settlements where no other races would co-exist, as well as Chinese and Malay settlements. Racial integration was not in their vocabulary as the British did not encourage them to work and live together. The Indians would live in rubber estates, the Malays in kampung and the Chinese in towns where tin-mining and trading were much sought after.

With such segregation occurring in Malaya during the British rule, racial or national integration was not something that anybody could comprehend. They did not realise the importance of being able to live together as one nation harmoniously, nor did they know that national integration is the key to stop colonialism.

After the British rule and during the Japanese occupation, the people of Malaya suffered terribly. This was the moment when people of all races started to realise that it was time that they react and counter the attacks together. When the British returned after the Axis fell, it was through unity of all the races that Malaya finally got its independence.

However, though the leaders have realise the importance of unity and national integration, the people still did not have the knowledge of it. Each race would group up together in one area and getting to know each other's culture and beliefs was out of the question. In May 13, 1969, the darkest incident happened in the history of Malaysia where the worst ever civil war (or communal unrest) erupted. This prompted the government to take measures to prevent this from happening again. Till now, some measures are practised and some new ones have been formed.

The first step taken to promote racial integration was through the National Ideology, better known as the Rukun Negara which was tabled by the National Legislative Council and introuced on the 31st of August, 1970. The National Ideology was introduced as a result of the communal unrest that occurred on 13th of May, 1969. The main purpose of the National Ideology was to promote a common sense of identity, meaning to say that all the races would unite under one roof, under one common status. The five main pillars of the National Ideology are:

  1. Believe in God
  2. Loyalty to the King and the Country
  3. Supremacy of the Constitution
  4. The Rule of Law
  5. Mutual respect and good social behaviour

The National Ideology seemed to have played an important part over the years because since then the tension between the races have reduced. However, as time goes by, the emphasis on the National Ideology has diminished and people no longer understand its importance. Schools have neglected the National Ideology and lately they have begun to recite the National Ideology during weekly assemblies. The problem is that though they recite it, they do not realise its importance in their hearts; they recite for the sake of fulfilling the government's wishes.

The situation now is such that people start to doubt the importance of the National Ideology. If it is now neglected but people can still live in harmony, would it have mattered whether or not the government introduced the National Ideology? No doubt it must have been important shortly after the communal unrest in 1969, but after almost forty years, is it still of any use?

Which brings me to my next point. The government had also introduced the Rukun Tetangga to promote a sense of community, co-operation and tranquillity within within a certain group of people. Back in those days when police stations were rare and far of reach, the people in the Rukun Tetangga were volunteers who would go out in the middle of the night to make rounds around their neighbourhood and keep watch of any suspicious or criminal activities such as robbery. The fact that this volunteering work was done not only by a single race, but by a group of people coming from various racial backgrounds, it allowed them to form a bond and realised that though they may be different culturally, they can still live and work together without any complications.

Nevertheless, like the National Ideology, the Rukun Tetangga has diminished to the point where it is now almost non-existent. Lately, the government has put up calls to the people to revive its existence. But with the people being busy about their career and their own families, the community spirit has died out and people are reluctant to participate in the activities of Rukun Tetangga because they think that it is simply a waste of time. People also have the mentality that why should they be making rounds around the neighbourhood when it should be the duty of the police to do so. As such, its revival would face a lot of failures.

But that did not stop the government from promoting national integration even more. They know that they simply cannot depend on the people solely to promote national integration. Something has to be done from the point of view of economy, social and politics. When Malaya obtained its independence in 1957, the wealth gap between the races was immensely big. The government knew that if nothing was done, jealousy and envy between the races on the wealth gap would inevitably spark off another communal unrest. Therefore, to bridge the wealth gap, the National Economy Policy or NEP was introduced. Personally, I'm not very familiar about the National Economy Policy, but as it has been tabled once every five years continually since it was first introduced, I believe that it has indeed managed to bridge the wealth gap. Today, people of all races are able to have the spending power that was once a dream to many. Gradually, people of other races such as Malays and Indians have already begun their part in the economy of the country, in trading and many more. This in turn decreases any sense of envy between races and will encourage all people to work together for the good of the country.

Much as like to continue writing about this topic, I think I'd better stop, because I've just returned from the gymnasium with Joe and Brian and I'm feeling really tired now to think seriously. But really, one point to ponder upon: Now that so many things that the government came up with actually have gone into dormancy, will their revival actually do anything?

Really, I can't believe that I actually spent two hours trying to write this post.

Edit: Albert, yes, I was going to post this up. Didn't notice that you inserted some short comments here before I had it up. (Chuckles).

6 mad rant(s):

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  1. kuffar lime said...

    I don't think we are truly integrated as we still harbour prejudices or mistrust toward each other. The government must first clampdown on racial politicking before all prejudices can disappear. But the problem is BN as a whole are made up of race based parties. Of course race based parties play racial politics which drive races apart!

    We need strong willed leaders!  

  2. Arbitary Juggernaut said...

    I tell you what! This is going to be the only true way to defeat racism. (Alexander's way)

    "If there are no more purebreds, there will only be mongrels. If there are only mongrels, they will no longer be called mongrels. All will be equal."
    -Jaspreet Singh Kwatra-

    Inter breed until we are all of mixed blood. Then no one can claim color or creed. Then and only then will the demon that is racism truly be banished from our world.  

  3. Esther said...

    aww.. henry.. i heart you for helping.. u hv no idea how grateful i am to you.. believe me, it eases my burden.. to hv a friend who is willing to help me in my assignment is probably the best thing that happened to me.. many thanks henry...  

  4. Henry Yew said...

    [Esther]: No problem, young lady! At least you've given me a topic to write on, although it's not my favourite topic. Yet, I guess it's a topic worth discussing about. I haven't covered this topic extensively, so I suggest that other readers would contribute a little here as well?  

  5. Cheap Pharmacy Online said...

    In USA we need strong willed leaders!  

  6. said...

    Thank you for the post, pretty helpful info.  


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