Shah Alam Convention Centre – I was in Shah Alam today for a talk on Social Issues in Selangor. Three panelists were invited for the session; Tan Sri Ibrahim Abu Shah (UiTM Vice Chancellor), Zaini Hassan (Utusan Melayu) and the well-known Dr Ridhuan Tee. Each of these speakers had presented their own papers of study except for Dr. Ridhuan Tee. However his speech was the best because he made it short and sweet, straight to the point and most importantly it consisted a universal message for all the ethnic communities that attended the programme.
Firstly, Tan Sri Ibrahim had focused on highlighting the problems of public welfare that were deteriorating in Selangor. According to his research, these problems included the underdevelopment of varsity amenities, water, the increase of social problems among youths and others. He asserted that the current state administrators had made the situation in Selangor more complicated and that it is unfortunate that the Pakatan Rakyat government had failed to fulfill their promises as inscripted in the party’s manifesto during the 12th General Election.
The next speaker was Zaini Hassan from Utusan Malaysia. The award winning editor had proposed a different perspective where he focused on the new media and young voters. He began with an interesting excerpt of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”:
That in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.
In simpler words, a lie that is repetitively communicated will eventually be perceived as a truth by the public. Hence, false information needs to be rectified and communicated well to the people. Zaini had also asserted that the new media should be fully utilised to clarify detrimental issues as it is considered as the “best friends” of young voters today.
When it came to discussing intercultural relations, Dr. Ridhuan Tee was the best person to take on this role because he understood the Chinese and the Malays very well. He elaborated further that his understanding was contributed by the fact that he was brought up with true chinese cultural values and he also grew up embedded with the Malay community in his hometown. Based on his intercultural experience, indepth understanding of Islam and his study on “The Non-malays Perception Towards Malay Politics”, he had briefly expressed his message to all different races of the Malaysian citizens by seven key points:
1- Leaders must have High morality and Sincerity
Dr. Tee pleaded that the country’s leaders should build their credibility by having high morality and perform their duties with honesty. He gave us a quote by Confucius that says;
“If you want to rule your country, you must first put your house in order.
To put your house in order, you must cultivate yourself morally.
To cultivate yourself morally, you must be sincere.”
This quote means that for a leader to be able to rule a country, first he must have the capability of conducting his own household well. In a household, the paternal figure is respected by his family members when he has high morality. For him to cultivate high morality, he must have a sincere heart. In Islam, a sincere heart means one is ikhlas; whatever he does in life is for the sake of Allah.
2- To Not Demand from The Weak
Relating to the country’s political scenario, Dr. Tee stated that the UMNO party is currently in a weak condition. He had suggested the rest of the component parties in the Barisan Nasional coalition to not futher increase their demands from the UMNO political party. In a simple metaphor, he illustrated that when a person is weak, for us to push that person to do more than he can would not bring about any benefit at all. Teamwork should teach us to be supportive towards that person so that we can build ourselves together.
3- Redefine Justice
The definition of justice varies from one person to another. Dr. Tee defined justice as putting things fairly as it is supposed to be (meletakkan sesuatu pada tempatnya). He gave us an example of the need of consuming a plate of rice. Having a small figure meant that Dr. Tee himself would require only one plate of rice. However, a big guy would might need two plates of rice to satiate him. Fairness does not necessarily mean everyone gets the same portion of everything because each person has different needs.
The Malays, Chinese, Indians and others should stop bickering for their differences and ethnic interests. Conflict in violence pervades in our society today because we have abandoned religion in our daily practices. Each religion; Islam for the Malays, Christian and Buddhism for the Chinese, Hinduism for the Indians share the same good values of humanity. We should all share the similarities to strengthen our togetherness as Malaysians.
5-Respect The Religion of Others
We must respect other religions and their affairs because religion is a sensitive issue. We should bear great understanding on the sensitivity of religious issues by not criticizing on the practices of other religions. One example is the open discussion on Kartika’s caning punishment.
A leader should turn away from the offerings of corruption. It is good for the people be rich but not the leader.
7- Understand History
It is very important for us to understand the flows of history because it is the history that gave Malaysia its foundation of governance that is based on Malay polity.