PETALING JAYA: Former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan is hopeful of a less racist future for Malaysia.
Speaking at the launch by Pusat Komas of the book ‘We Are Convinced – Time for a New Malaysia Away from Racism’, Ambiga spoke of underlying racism presently prevalent in Malaysian society and a lack leadership.
“I see a lot of hope on this front because you have groups who are speaking out who have never spoken out before. What we are seeing is that since nothing is forthcoming from the leadership, they are saying let us show leadership.
“We will not allow this country to descend into chaos because of race and religion. I think that the people of Malaysia will do something,” Ambiga said.
Commenting on recent issues regarding dress codes in government offices and departments, Ambiga said that these were simply ‘ridiculous’.
“They may now not impose a dress code anymore, but how many of us will go to a government department not suitably covered up in case we are stopped from going in?
“So they have already changed the way we are behaving and the way we are thinking – by making things difficult,” she added.
Ho Khek Hua, director of Institut Kajian dan Latihan Integrasi Nasional (IKLIN) believes that social media will play a pivotal role in the future of the country.
“This is where the social innovation comes in. We see that it will be the future,” said Ho. “Our future will see people driven by social media. Every issue which relates to people will be put out on social media for debate.”
Also present was Saifuddin Abdullah, CEO of the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM).
He commented that misinterpretations of the Al-Quran may have resulted in a belief that there is a need to challenge the race paradigm in Malaysia.
“Muslims should understand others better. We should look at each other as fellow citizens, full stop,” Saifuddin said. “That, to the best of my knowledge, is not unIslamic.”
“We Are Convinced – Time for a New Malaysia Away from Racism” is now available in bookstores nationwide.