PETALING JAYA: Racial tension in Malaysia is caused mainly by politicians’ indifference to the Rukun Negara, according to a political analyst.
If the principles of the national philosophy were adhered to, there would be no racial issues, said Awang Azman Pawi, an associate professor at Universiti Malaya.
He observed that there was seldom any evidence of the Rukun Negara being applied in the proceedings of conventions held by political parties, including their general assemblies.
“What is often heard from political parties is criticism and condemnation of their rivals,” he said in an interview with FMT.
He was responding to a statement that Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran made in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday. The DAP representative said the perception on the ground was that the government was not making any serious attempt to ensure racial harmony.
Awang Azman said it was not right to blame the government alone. “The mass media and political parties are equally responsible in moulding perceptions,” he said. “As long as the media and individual politicians provide the perception and show thinking patterns that break unity, then true unity will be difficult to achieve.”
Another analyst, Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, also said Kulasegaran was wrong in heaping all the blame on the government, noting that it had in fact introduced many policies to foster harmonious race relations since the May 1969 riots.
“The government has actually used several strategies and taken several approaches to strengthen ethnic relations and social conditions towards creating a society which is integrated and harmonious,” he said.
However, he added, these efforts were sometimes disrupted by “divisive” statements coming from certain political leaders.
“The bottom line is that ethnic division is caused by individual political leaders and certain bigoted individuals,” he said.