I REFER to the article “BN will work with all to put people first” (The Star, Mar 9) on the launching of the “Unity Squad” by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The aim of forming the squad is to mobilise the people at the grassroots to enable a people’s movement for unity and to put a stop to all forms of hate campaigns which can lead to racial conflict and discord in our multiracial country.

I support the setting up of the Cheras “Unity Squad” in line with the objective of fostering greater networking, harmony and unity among the multiracial people at the local community level.

Such Unity Squads should be set up throughout the country in order to empower the people to take full ownership of unity.

If politicians have not succeeded in building and reinforcing unity, it should be the people’s initiative to do so as forging unity goes beyond politics and politicians.

Racial harmony, inter and intra-racial unity, which is crucial for our multiracial and multireligious country are all about people and what they can and should do for the unity of the nation.

Too much emphasis has been given so far to the role of politics and politicians to ensure harmony among the diverse races.

And many a times, Malaysians are disappointed and even disenchanted when certain politicians play the race card to gain popularity.

What is even more disturbing is the emergence of race-based politics and the playing up of racial issues unashamedly by some without realising the consequences of their actions.

It is now time for the people to innovate and take initiatives to break any racial divide that exists and go beyond politics to strive towards unity.

To prevent Malaysians from drifting apart, and to heal a divided nation, it is the people of all races who must be concerned about the future of our nation and be prepared to integrate from a young age.

The most urgent task for all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion and political affiliation is to ensure racial and religious harmony and reject all forms of extremism which can undermine inter-racial and inter-religious peace and harmony.

This is the time for all level-headed patriotic Malaysians to stand up and be counted in furthering the cause of a united Malaysian nation.

This is not the time for anyone to make irresponsible statements which are provocative and can lead to conflict and tension.

As responsible and patriotic Malaysians, it is our duty to work for peace, harmony and unity and refrain from acts of provocation, violence and hatred which will result in conflict and chaos.

In the end, it is the ordinary Malaysians regardless of race who will be our nation’s unsung heroes to unite Malaysia and reject the voices of extremism, hate and bigotry.

Image source: ouishabeta.com

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