A plea for unity from ex-minister Hishammuddin

I have been thinking the last few days over recent events unfolding in the country and it has led me to decide on writing this piece. You may read what you’d like from it, but this is from my heart.

Recent events have painted a very different picture of our forefathers’ dreams of a united, multiracial, thriving nation. Malaysia as a country was built on the founding pillars of tolerance, compromise and optimism – driven by the spirit of the social contract.

Regrettably, this has been undermined by communal polarisation, hatred and animosity. We must be more cautious of our actions and look at the bigger picture, realising that the politics of hate will only push our nation further backwards.

These assertions and actions by certain quarters do not only incite hate and anger but also threaten the very fabric of our society.

As a former home affairs minister, I know and understand how difficult it can be to ensure all Malaysians live safely, in harmony and unity. But I also know how easy it is to destroy peace – it really does not take much. Just see how things are unfolding in Hong Kong; populations can easily face hardships with just a simple idea.

Because of this, we must oppose religious bigotry and racial extremism. They should have no place in Malaysia. History has proven that as a nation, we can overcome any challenge if we are united and resolute in facing adversities.

Strengthening social harmony and unity is more important now than ever. I’m not here to blame anyone; I am writing this as a concerned Malaysian. There’s too much negativity out there.

As a nation, we have so much potential and, deep down, I believe, Malaysia deserves better than this. The worst of times can still bring out the very best in us and adversity can still bring opportunity.

Irrespective of our race, gender or religion, it is our collective responsibility to reject polarisation in any form for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

This is the time for us to wake up; this is the time for us to unite; this is the time for us to realise.

If we do not do something now, we will be held responsible for future generations after us. Let’s leave a country they can be proud to inherit.

Hishammuddin Hussein served as home affairs minister (2009 to 2013) and defence minister (2013 to 2018).

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.