Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently launched a national unity policy to ensure that Malaysia remains a strong nation with unity at its core.
Muhyiddin said the policy is based on the concept of “unity in diversity”, and outlines continual efforts to nurture, strengthen and preserve the unity of the people.
The three main objectives of the policy are to:
- strengthen unity and national integration based on the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara (national philosophy)
- form a national identity with character, patriotism, the attitude of caring, tolerance, mutual respect and responsibility
- produce Malaysians who appreciate and foster unity
From the objectives above, the unity that the prime minister proposed, while it has its concept based on the Rukun Negara and Federal Constitution and its resulting strategies, needs an underlying principle that creates a purpose that is beyond tolerance or acceptance.
A higher principle of love and solidarity would lubricate the concept and objective of unity and would provide a greater purpose for Malaysians to gradually evolve from the security of ethnic identity to reach out to others who are in distress.
Solidarity is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards and sympathies, creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes. It is bonded together with love and compassion. It refers to the ties in a society that bind people together.
For example, when there is a violation of human rights, there should be a mobilisation among all communities to seek the truth. Love and solidarity to right an injustice would ensure that ethno-centrism has no place here.
Currently, we don’t see such solidarity among Malaysians except for voices among elites within political and civil society. So, there is a need to incorporate love and solidarity as a higher principle in the unity blueprint that would enrich unity in diversity.
Love and solidarity have an actionable outcome where they would not merely bring all ethnic communities together by activity alone, but also mobilise multi-ethnic Malaysia when there is injustice to any ethnic community.
Love and solidarity with those undergoing hardship or injustice irrespective of race and religion gives concrete meaning to unity. So I urge the government to incorporate love and solidarity in the national unity policy. – New Straits Times