THE joint efforts of two homegrown companies – Star Media Group and Eco World Development Group Berhad (EcoWorld) – should be supported and celebrated by all Malaysians as their campaign, #AnakAnakMalaysia, seeks to promote unity and strengthen patriotism in conjunction with our Merdeka and Malaysia Day 2016.

Last year, the inaugural campaign saw Malaysians wearing the signature #AnakAnakMalaysia wristbands to express their patriotism. This year’s campaign will see thousands of Malaysians taking part in a 3.4km unity walk in the city centre on Aug 14.

Malaysians should take part in the #AnakAnakMalaysiaWalk as it signifies the support, promotion and celebration of our nation’s unity, diversity, harmony, tolerance and moderation.

Those who are not taking part could go down to the ground to lend support for the campaign and cheer the participants. There is a lot to do to show our solidarity, such as spreading the #AnakAnakMalaysia message via social media, which can be done even if you are thousands of miles away from our beloved country.

The #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign emphasises moderation in our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation. It reinforces peace, understanding, goodwill and mutual respect.

The campaign is timely as Malaysia is threatened by growing polarisation within the country and external influence of terrorist ideologies.

Some Malaysians are getting disappointed and disenchanted with the exploitation of racial sentiments by certain parties. Children and students of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions must be prepared to mix and interact with one another in schools and educational institutions to pave the way for the successful building of a united Malaysian nation.

Besides the growing divide and mistrust among multi-racial Malaysians, we also have to contend with the emerging threat that seeks to spread deviant extremist ideologies and recruit young Malaysians. The grenade attack at a pub in Puchong in June showed that the Daesh terrorist organisation has “officially landed” in Malaysia.

Seventeen Malaysians recruited by Daesh were reportedly killed on foreign soil, either as suicide bombers or in battles. On the local front, our security and law enforcement agencies have detained about 140 suspected terrorists and their supporters.

The coming Merdeka and Malaysia Day should be the time for all Malaysians to show solidarity and fortify our resolve to break any existing racial divide and defend our peace-loving nation from being “hijacked” by the extremists. We have to totally reject Daesh ideologies as the organisation is using violence in the name of religion.

Everyone has a role to play by consciously promoting and practising moderation, tolerance, understanding and harmony based on the great values and virtues taught by all religions and races. Each initiative towards unity and harmony, no matter how small, counts as it will make a positive difference in our multicultural society.

Although Malaysia may not be perfect, it has weathered many storms and laid the foundation for racial harmony and unity.

We should embrace diversity and always remember to look beyond skin colour, cultural background, race or creed as our multi-ethnic society is here to stay.

Unity in diversity is a priceless gift that must be cherished by all Malaysians. We should hold dear what we have achieved so far by upholding the spirit of tolerance, moderation and accommodation.

Let us not allow extremism and violence in whatever form to divide the nation which we all love and care for. We should take moderation, balanced approach and non-violence, which have been practised by Malaysians since independence, to a higher level.

Let us all be involved in any way we can as a show of support for the #AnakAnakMalaysiaWalk campaign which is a noble effort to unite Malaysians, uphold the spirit of independence and honour the sacrifices and hard work of our forefathers.

Today, we should all have access to the country’s progress, wealth and modernity and be free of any twisted and misguided ideologies and attempts to disunite us.

Come Aug 14, we should all walk with pride and oneness as we have come a long way. It is time for the silent majority, the moderate Malaysians, to speak out for national unity, solidarity, peace and stability. Let us all embrace our differences and respect our diversity.

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