Integration crucial in nation building

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KUCHING: National integration and social cohesion are crucial for building a nation state, said political analyst and veteran journalist Dr Jeniri Amir.

He said for a nation to move forward, it was important that sociopolitical stability was attained so that the economy could be developed.

“I hope I can contribute to that, based on my experience as a lecturer who taught ethnic relations and based on the research that I did when I was still at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

“I also hope I can play my role in terms of contributing ideas as a media man. The media can play a role in enhancing social cohesion and national integration,” he told New Sarawak Tribune in an interview on Thursday.

 Jeniri was recently appointed as a member of a think tank under the National Unity Ministry by its Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique. Leading the think tank team is distinguished professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.

Jeniri added his background as one of the editors of an ethnic relations course textbook used in public universities was probably the reason for his inclusion by the Ministry. He was personally responsible for one of its chapters.

“We don’t deny the fact we are facing challenging race relations in Malaysia where people tend to be carried away, irrational and make remarks not based on facts. People seem to see from their own lenses,” he said.

Jeniri, a veteran journalist, pointed out that national unity painted in the media was sensationalised, exaggerated and full of emotions and that its sociopolitical narrative pertaining to ethnic relations did not necessarily reflect the reality on the ground.

“We shouldn’t be trapped in this kind of narrative. We need to put proper rationale to the narrative in the media, especially the social media. That is where the role of media is pertinent,” he stressed.

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