The Federal Constitution and Rukun Negara protect the concept of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ – namely the inclusivity, common ground, and contentment of Malaysians.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies principal research fellow Professor Dr Mansor Mohd Noor said the concept itself guarantees prosperity, and peace for every level of society in the country.
“However, Keluarga Malaysia will face the challenge of external influences. The failure to identify and manage social changes will plague our society and nation.
“The global combinations and changes in our society need to be identified in line with local wisdom and local culture. The world today through economic development, mechanical to digital technology, migration and global institutions has built values, cultures and behaviours based on universal norms such as human rights, freedom, justice, inclusiveness and democratic governance.
“This has eventually brought Malaysia to experience rapid economic development, high migration rate and technological change as well as experiencing changes in values, norms and culture of modernity, especially among urban communities, middle class, professionals and Gen Y,” he added.
He also noted that with the global change within the country, whatever the leaders say and do, development plans and its implementation will always be under the people’s ‘radar’.
“Society is increasingly built on universal civic awareness, values and culture. Hence, the country’s political culture needs to be transformed by the voices of the people to uplift and re-establish the values, norms and culture of the Keluarga Malaysia within the framework of the Malaysian civilisation’s heritage based on justice, inclusiveness and democratic governance.”
Furthermore, Mansor stated although studies by local and foreign scholars show ethnic relations and unity are good but the failure of the government to govern well and with integrity and development that prioritises the rich and those staying in urban areas, people regardless of ethnicity, religion and region are marginalised.
“Therefore, parents in every Malaysian family need to master the knowledge about ethnicity and social change in the country.
“Ignorance of the socio-culture of each other’s ethnicity will lead to misunderstandings, social tensions and fights between them. Not all issues and problems in this country are a point of departure and are caused by ethnic differences.
“First, there is no denying that the problems of ethnocentrism and racism exist and are closely linked to the spirit of ethnic groups that belittle other ethnic groups and religions.
Second, however, not all ethnic relations problems are due to one’s ethnic background but, secondly, more due to the failure of governments, especially local governments, which fail to manage the demands of other ethnic languages, cultures and religions such as places of worship, cemeteries, the effect of conversion on family and property etc.
“Third, the failure to implement development that can provide jobs, social mobility and welfare opportunities to the lower social classes and in the rural areas is limited.
“In light of this, the government must strengthen national values, history and heritage and governance and development that prioritises the welfare of the people in a fair and inclusive manner.
“As the launching and upcoming implementation of the 12th Malaysia Plan, as well as Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama; Dasar Perpaduan Negara; Pelan Tindakan Perpaduan Negara; Memperkasakan Kepimpinan; and Kegiatan Rukun Tetangga within the framework of Rukunegara, it is a great hope to be in Keluarga Malaysia.
“With this, Keluarga Malaysia will become more diverse and socially complex as children and grandchildren travel and intermarry with other members of large Malaysian families.
“We need to start building #KitaKeluargaMalaysia by caring for parents with Rukunegara at heart and instilling unity in every Malaysian father and mother,” he emphasised.