Common Ground Dialogue: Forging Unity in Malaysia
On Thursday, May 13, 2010 a community dialogue was held at IAIS Malaysia on the theme of Forging Unity in Malaysia. The objective of the presentations and brainstorming session was to identify steps that could be taken individually and collectively in fostering national unity.
The welcome speech was delivered by Professor Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Chairman and CEO of IAIS Malaysia. Tan Sri Dr. Mazlan Ahmad, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National University of Malaysia, delivered the keynote address.
Y. M. Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin Muhriz, the first presenter, expressed hope that the younger generation would make a fresh start in race relations. Zarina Nalla, the next speaker, emphasised that national integration should take place without assimilation, as it is important for each ethnic group to preserve its unique religious identity. Blogger Art Harun highlighted the need for acceptance rather than mere tolerance of each other. Dato’ Ghazali Yusuf narrated a moving, personal story about his family, where a number of interracial marriages took place, including between that of his own parents. Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir extrapolated that competition for scarce resources the root cause of many conflicts in society. Dr Lim Teck Ghee for his part called for the secularisation of the educational system. After the 15-minute presentations, participants brainstormed in groups with the help of volunteer facilitators. At the end of the brainstorming event, one delegate from each group presented the results of the discussion to the gathering.