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Thursday, July 10, 2014
New Movement to "reclaim Malaysia" launched
BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
Published: 10 July 2014
A new people's movement called, "Negara-Ku", was launched today, aimed at healing Malaysia and restoring hope, given recent challenges that continue to threaten the peace and harmony of its multi-ethnic and multi-faith society.
Touted as the "people's movement to reclaim our nation", the coalition is spearheaded by two prominent personalities as patrons – lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said.
"There are political parties and their affiliates that are not focused on nation-building, but on building their respective power bases.
"These parties on both sides of the divide pursue their agenda that are transactional and short-term, not transformational and long-term," Samad said at the launch in Kuala Lumpur today.
The former Bersih 2.0 co-chair added that ethno-centric and race-based politics as well as communally-minded politicians continue to derail the process of inclusive nation-building and the formation of a Bangsa Malaysia national identity.
Samad also said that religion was increasingly being used as a main marker of identity, and as a boundary maintenance mechanism to polarise the people.
"The mobilisation and manipulation of race, ethnicity and religion have resulted in increasing intolerance, bigotry and extremism.
"There is also an emerging sub-culture of political violence, these are symptomatic of dangerous undercurrents in our society," Samad said.
He added that the state, by "default or design", had failed to address these developments.
"The state has also failed to play the role of an honest broker in managing conflict in our society," he added.
According to Samad, they believed that the majority of the people wanted an end to divisive ethno-religious politics.
"We have to act before our society descends into the abyss of instability," he added. Negara-Ku is endorsed by 68 civil society groups and NGOs.
Ambiga, meanwhile, said that the movement was about hope and was pro-rakyat.
"After the general election, something strange started happening in this country with incidents of religious extremism and racism getting out of hand," she said.
She added that people started questioning the strange goings-on, which were being stoked by certain segments out to set "a dangerous agenda".
She noted that politicians kept on invoking the spectre of May 13 rather than worked towards uniting the people.
Ambiga said the language in the Federal Constitution was very respectful and meant to unite the people.
"Why can't we go back to that primary document which tells us how to care and share with each other rather than turn it into something ugly?" she asked.
Ambiga also hit out at politicians who appeared to be on "election mode", adding that there was no governance from the country's leadership.
"We want governance and the reason we need this movement is because there is no leadership.
"So we need to take leadership and ownership and restore hope using this movement, we need to tell political leaders that 'if you can't handle it ,we will handle it'," Ambiga said.
She said that there could be a hidden agenda to create instability and to divide and rule, but added that most Malaysians were not interested in that agenda.
"So the next time someone says May 13 to you, you tell them July 10, because this is the day we have decided to take the nation forward," Ambiga added. – July 10, 2014.