We are ushering in 2018, a brand new year. On this New Year’s Day, Malaysians are looking forward to a more prosperous year of hopes and abundance!
As a multi-ethnic nation, Malaysia exhibits diverse ethnic groups, religions, cultures and languages. For many years, different ethnic groups have been living in harmony to maintain socio-political stability, spur economy and social development so as to achieve good and prosperous life. The essence of which has made Malaysia the epitome of harmonious coexistence in a multi-racial country. Malaysia practices constitutional monarchy, though we adopt Islam as the official religion and Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, nationals are empowered by the constitution to practice religious and linguistic freedom. This is the true founding spirit of Malaysia, the precious legacy left behind by our founding fathers.
However, since our independence 61 years ago, Malaysia has been enshrouded in the mist of extreme unitization, wherein the spirit of moderation and pluralism adopted during the early days of independence are continually distorted by racial and ethnic sabotage, with the ill intent to tear apart the diverse cultures of Malaysia with unitary thinking of "one nation, one culture and one language". Regrettably, multi-stream mother-tongue education has not been accorded equal status. There are still many unfair education policies in an attempt to suppress the existing multi-stream education system so as to achieve the politically driven unitization, which is evidently against the basic principle of education, detrimental to learning and all future development of the country. Dong Zong has consistently opposed all policies and measures that jeopardize mother tongue education.
As a multi-ethic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural nation, Malaysia is definitely unique. But we are not alone, there are other famous multi-ethnic nations which include Canada (Europeans, Asians, aborigines etc.) and New Zealand (Europeans, Asians, Maoris etc.). These countries have become strong nations by treating all their ethnic groups fairly. Malaysia can learn from them on ways to prioritize, maintain and develop diversified policies so as to present a diversified and harmonious situation.
Following the inevitable of globalization, the concept of the global village is no longer a dream. Malaysia needs to have relationships with all other nations and, in this process, it is essential for us to highlight our multiculturalism. After all, multiculturalism has become an indispensable yardstick to measure the overall strength of a government or a country. It is an undisputed fact that OBOR, or the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative suggested by China, is such a global economic policy that promotes economic collaboration among South-east Asian countries, with the objective of establishing mutually stable and sustainable development in these countries via political, economic, educational and cultural exchanges. An OBOR participant and strategic partner of China, Malaysia is obligated to promote diversification in order to achieve a long-term cooperative partnership with China.
Dong Zong would like to emphasize that the Malaysian government should practice principles of moderation in its governance. G25, established by a Malay elite group recently, has been promoted Malaysia to become a nation for multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious communities living in a just, democratic, harmonious, tolerant and progressive society. It advocates the practice of moderation in national issues, resisting racism and religious extremism. Dong Zong opines that our country needs a greater number of people and organizations to resist hegemony and unitary policies, truly care for the well-being of the country and its people, and treat every ethnic group fairly.
In retrospect, and anticipating the future, Dong Zong is carrying on with our principles to the bigger picture, doing all we can to set a new milestone for the future of Chinese education. Last but not least, on behalf of Dong Zong, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very happy New Year and all the best.