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Stop deepening the rift

  • Dividing the people along religious lines and wickedly protruding our differences will not do national unity a favor. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

Following a ban of Better Beer Festival by DBKL, a self-service laundry shop declared that only Muslim customers are welcome in the shop.

The Muar laundry shop used to have non-Muslim patrons until about a month ago when the "Muslims only" sign was put up in front of it. Such discriminatory practice has sparked a heated round of debates in the cyberspace.

The insensitive act by the business owner has not only had a negative impact on his business turnover but will potentially deepen the rift between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country.

More worryingly, such segregation is fast becoming a trend, from the halal supermarket trolleys to the renaming of "pretzel dog" to Muslims-only launderette. There are signs religious issues are becoming increasingly sensitive as religious tolerance shrinks.

Malaysia is a multiracial and multi-religuoss country, and racial harmony and unity among people of different ethnic groups and faiths have formed a solid bedrock to support the country's continued prosperity.

In the absence of such foundation, it will be hard for the country to scale greater heights and become a fully developed nation.

In other words, it is absolutely necessary for all Malaysians irrespective of race and religion to live together harmoniously and establish a good relationship to ensure the country's stability and development.

Unfortunately the level of national integration and unity remains much to be desired six decades after our independence, especially in more recent years when we have seen a surge in Islamization in an attempt to draw a distinct line between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. This will not augur well to the establishment of Bangsa Malaysia and promote greater unity among our people.

As a matter of fact, as a multiracial country, Malaysia should encourage more interracial and interfaith activities to promote enhanced interactions and solidarity.

The Harmony Walk 2017 in Kuching last weekend was an excellent instance that drew the participation of almost 4,000 Malaysians of different ethnic groups and faiths.

We must accept the reality of this country's diversity and strive to narrow the gap among the people in establishing a veritable Bangsa Malaysia where all the walls will be torn down.

Dividing the people along religious lines and wickedly protruding our differences will not do national unity a favor.

We must find our similarities and strengthen our acceptance of a common identity instead of highlighting our differences and pulling ourselves further away.

 

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