Perspectives on national unity: heritage, home and hope

– Ramon Navaratnam
The Malaysian Insider
February 14, 2014

My perspectives from my generation.

A. Our heritage – past

Merdeka proclamation – I was there at the Merdeka Stadium.

We felt as “One Malaya” even then in 1957.

Tunku Abdul Rahman and later Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn treated all Malayans and Malaysians equally.

There was no name–calling like “pendatang”.

Political leaders were far more honest, polite and civil, and served the rakyat more faithfully on the ground.

Institutions like the judiciary, police, civil service, parliament and politicians were generally much more efficient and of higher quality.

We were much more united and a national happy family.

B. Home – present

Now fewer Malaysians feel that great Merdeka spirit of “satu bangsa”.

We are more polarised than ever before.

We are developing as a “silo society”.

Tolerance of other religions is declining – Bible and temple issues unsettled.

C. Hope – future

Is there hope? Yes, but only if we act now.

What future do we want and what do we need to do for greater national unity?

Adopt the policy of inclusive development as follows:

1. Immediate term

Condemn and pull up all those responsible for hate speeches and acts.

Isolate extremists of all kinds and vote against them.

Enforce rule of law uniformly against extremists – without any perceived selectivity.

Go all out against crime, corruption and cronyism with a stronger political will!

Let the Bahasa Bible be used as before. Proselytisation can be forbidden.

2. Medium term – up to 5 years

Provide for a basic needs and non–racial–based economic strategy in 11th Malaysia plan.

Phase out the NEP which apparently favours the rich and powerful over the poor.

Consider phasing out the bumi/non–bumi divide.

Provide quota guidelines for public and private sector employment and promotions.

Phase out “ketuanan” concept and practices which run counter to national unity.

Phase out protectionism in APs, housing and monopolies. This will counter inflation too.

Allocate more development funds to Sabah, Sarawak, and the poorer states like Kelantan and Terengganu.

Strengthen the electoral process and improve electoral delineation, so that all Malaysians will embrace the new system as fair and reasonable.

Introduce local council elections to improve democracy.


We have about 5 good years to steer our beloved country away from deterioration and the “tipping point”, towards a more united Malaysia.

Be fair to all race and religions based on our Federal Constitution, with the Merdeka spirit.

Adopt a new policy of inclusiveness.

Malaysia is a blessed land with enough for all.

Give more priority to the poor and lower- and middle-income groups for socio–economic progress.

Our motto – “Unity in diversity” – should be upheld. Our diversity should be regarded.

As our national “heritage” and our “home” and “hopes” for the future.

As a model of multi-racial and multi-religious country, for the whole world!

Malaysia Boleh!

* Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is chairman of the Asli Center of Public Policy Studies.

  1. #1 by Noble House on Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 4:33 am

    Too little too late, I am afraid, Tan Sri! For many from my generation, hope is wearing thin for this country we once stood up for. Unless and until Malaysians can come together and rid this country of these insane people and their insane objectives, this is all but a dream.

    Time for us to admit that Malaysia is a failed state, no matter how unpalatable it may sound. We are no different from some of the African countries we see today. My heart goes out to you, my Malaysia!

  2. #2 by bangkoklane on Sunday, 16 February 2014 - 9:55 pm

    Excellent. Let’s have parliament fine tune and adopt it as the new Malaysia Declaration. Any politician who does not abide by the Declaration is considered unpatriotic and should be cast aside by their party leaders.

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