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‘Bangsa Malaysia’ still an elusive concept, says former IGP

Malay Mail Online logo Malay Mail Online 20/9/2017

Abdul Rahim described Indonesia and Thailand as successful in integrating their citizens despite greater diversity than Malaysia. — Bernama pic © Provided by Malay Mail Online Abdul Rahim described Indonesia and Thailand as successful in integrating their citizens despite greater diversity than Malaysia. — Bernama pic KOTA KINABALU, Sept 20 — Malaysians still think in terms of their race before their nationality, according to former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor who said the “Bangsa Malaysia” ideal was not yet in reach.

Malaysia was behind neighbours Indonesia and Thailand in this area, said Abdul Rahim who described the two nations as successful in integrating their citizens despite greater diversity than Malaysia.

“Countries like Indonesia have different regions like Sulawesi, the entire island of Java … but everyone identifies themselves just as Indonesians despite their own racial roots.

“There are no distinctions between the Bugis or the Jawa people due to the Pancasila, their version of our Rukun Negara, and before that was the ‘Sumpah Pemuda’,” he said.

“But even though we have a similar Rukunegara, here we are thinking of ourselves as Malays or Chinese first,” he said.

Abdul Rahim, who is also a former Special Branch director, blamed this in part on the differences in cultural upbringing and history between east and west Malaysia.

He said this during a talk titled “The Future Of Malaysia” organised by the Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis think tank.

He said it was his hope that the country would eventually discard such prejudices and parochialism.

“There should be a time when a Sabahan can be the governor of Malacca or a Penangite can be the [Governor] of Sarawak.

“We should hope to achieve this, a Bangsa Malaysia, within the next 50 years,” he said.

On the topic of secession sentiments in Sabah, Abdul Rahim Noor said that the state could pursue its ideologies within the confines of the law.

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