With General Elections drawing nearer by the day, there are more and more racial issues arising by the day. Yet, among all the news, the suggestion that there should be a “guideline on the code of conduct between Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia” (Garis Panduan Fiqh Interaksi Orang Islam dan Bukan Islam di Malaysia) has to be the most ridiculous of them all.
I have Muslim friends in school, college and workplace. I have not had an issue where I had a need for any so called guidelines. Malaysians in general do not need such guidelines. We respect each other’s faiths, beliefs and cultural differences. I strongly feel that all the talk about race should be eliminated from our society in order to improve on our unity and grow as a country. We are of one race, human race. What we choose to belief in are our faiths but our faiths should not decide who we are. Is race really all that important?
Some people say that eliminating race would lead to a cultural identity crisis. I would argue that if we are to have an identity, shouldn’t it be a Malaysian identity instead of any individual race? I have always introduced myself as a Malaysian rather than a Chinese and at one point long ago, my screen name in ICQ was Malaysian. We are all citizens of this country and therefore we should be subject to the same laws, benefits and burden. However, I do not mean that all special privileges should be abolished or removed. I am of the belief that there are some folks who are still finding their footing and would require some assistance in order to be an active contributor to the economy.
However, the blanket ruling that applies to the majority race in this country should be amended. Abolish the racial requirements and make it such that special privileges are rendered to those who requires it such as those in the country side where education and other technological advantages are negligible. As with the protection afforded to our national car makers, we can and should slowly reduce the special privileges to give them the opportunity to grow and become a force to be reckoned with. If the perception is that the special privileges will continue, as it is now, there will be little to no effort made to grow and better themselves as they know that there isn’t a need. Let’s face it. Humans are lazy and will not do something unless they have to.
By educating our next generation from young that we are all Malaysians instead of pointing to races, we can start building towards a time where the citizens will proudly announce themselves to the world as Malaysians and treat everyone equally. Hopefully, I will live to see such a time.