Unesco world heritage status for Chinese ‘new villages’: Benefit or bane?

When will we ever learn to capitalise on and celebrate Malaysia's rich diversity?

A new village in the 1950s

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The intention to secure Unesco world heritage status for certain Chinese new villages in Selangor sparked innuendos of fear, anger and outrage among some quarters.

These sentiments were drummed up by certain politicians capitalising on racial sentiments.

Others claimed the plan to seek heritage recognition for the new villages goes against the constitutional rights of the ethnic Malays. 

One historian even claimed it would “result in turmoil, which is detrimental to the nation”.

Why do these people blind themselves to the fact that having more heritage sites will benefit the country on so many levels? Why are they fear-mongering whenever it involves issues related to the ethnic minorities in the country? 

Do we not see the value of capitalising on our multicultural history? Can we not see that such Unesco recognition will put our nation on the world map as a unique tourist attraction? 

In many parts of the world, archaeological findings, lost traditions and fading cultures are being rescued and preserved with great effort to support tourism and to ignite a spirit of nationhood.

We, in contrast, are responding with knee-jerk objections to such efforts.

Foreign universities may even be inspired to set up hubs here to capitalise on the learning experience in this rich, diverse historic and cultural environment.

We may even gain an advantage over other Asean countries.

Why should we even allow racist thoughts to stall such award-seeking attempts? Is gaining Unesco recognition much sought after around the world?

Why should Malays be threatened by the dwindling proportion of the ethnic minority populace? What will be our future if we continue to walk in this direction of racial and religious animosity and fear? 

READ MORE:  Chinese soup (bak kut teh) shows mistrust between Malaysians and Muslims?

When will we ever learn to capitalise on and celebrate Malaysia’s rich diversity?

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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