“The nation has been hijacked and we need to collectively reclaim the country,” declared social activist cum lawyer Haris Ibrahim at the Kembalikan Negara-ku forum held at Kinta Riverfront Hotel and Suites, Ipoh recently.
The two other panelists were Dato’ Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa, Chair of an anti-racism coalition Gabungan Anti-Perkauman and Stanley Yong Yew Wei, Secretary-General of KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.
The forum, organised by Negara-Ku, a people’s movement, was supported by local non-governmental organisations Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) and Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia.
Haris continued, “We found that there are no racial issues at the ground level but every time the ruling coalition feels the pressure, the race and religious card is played because those in authority want the power that is in the hands of the rakyat. In order to keep the power perpetually, they are prepared to sacrifice national unity. Although the power under the constitution is with the rakyat, we are useless if we are divided.
Forty per cent of our population is living in poverty. Therefore, we urge you to step forward and be part of this movement because if we do not collectively reclaim this nation for them, we are all going to join them at the bottom of the pile.”
Dr Mujahid was of the opinion that the biggest culprits are the politicians for fanning racial dissent for their own benefit, and the mainstream media for continuously releasing such news in the papers and on TV, when they should help to promote the true sense of Malaysia.
Despite being a politician himself, Dr Mujahid opined, “What we need are not politicians, who only think of the next election, but statesmen, who think of the next generation. Political parties need to reform to be more inclusive to adapt themselves to the needs of the people.”
Stanley Yong believed that the country is not moving in the right direction. He said, “Malaysians own this country. The fundamental understanding and harmony is still among our different communities. From my travels, I find that countries that are making good progress are those that value talent and merit but these values, while not lacking in Malaysia, are not appreciated.”
Negara-Ku aims to carry the message of peace, harmony and unity, through their Kembalikan Negara-Ku forums, to at least seven states in Malaysia. The Ipoh forum, a part of their roadshow, was their second after Malacca.
These forums serve as a platform for people to voice their concerns for Malaysia with the hope that the fragmented Malaysian race will be reunited.