Pusat KOMAS is amused and shocked with the suggestions of the Ministry of National Unity to conduct a fresh round of consultations with the aim of consolidating opinions of the public for the purpose of strengthening national cohesion and social unity. Our reactions are motivated by the lack of seriousness of learning lessons from the past and repeating the same type of modus operandi, while lacking seriousness in instituting real changes.
The suggestion for more rounds of consultation is redundant as numerous consultations and legworks were done extensively since the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) which was established back in 2013. Seven years since the completion of the NUCC, we are still way behind in materializing the concrete suggestions by NUCC in achieving national unity and social cohesion. The ministry must refer and take cognizance of the past consultation as many fruitful ideas were constructively proposed by the Council based on broad ranging public consultations.
There were already enough proposals by NUCC and the previous government to kick start a strategic plan in forging a harmonious inter-ethnic relationship which is an undiscounted measure for the creation of a unified society. Pusat KOMAS also reminds all that the previous Pakatan Harapan government had conducted similar town hall meetings with various stakeholders, thus it begs the question why is there a need for the new consultation when it wastes resources, especially in the times of economic severity due to Covid-19.
Furthermore, If the new government is committed to national harmony, then there is no sound justification at the ministry’s refusal to advance on the bill on the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission that was a strong move to mitigate racial sentiment in the country. Our nation needs concrete actions to be taken rather than delaying them in the name of discussions. We believe only political courage can move us forward and its incumbent upon this newly formed “negotiated” government to prove itself that it is serious and willing to move the nation away from race and religious based discrimination.
8th September 2020.