IDS ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE WITH
YB DATO’ SAIFUDDIN ABDULLAH, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Roundtable Discussion on Peaceful Coexistence with YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah (4th from left). Also pictured Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Chairman of IDS (3rd from left), Mr. Anthony Kiob, CEO of IDS (2nd from right), Mr. Chong Vun Then, Deputy CEO of IDS (furthest right), IDS Board of Directors, Board of Advisors and Senior Management Team.
KOTA KINABALU (Mon): A Roundtable Discussion on Peaceful Coexistence with YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs was organized by the Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS) on Monday, 6th January 2020 in IDS Hall, Wisma SEDIA. The Session was moderated by Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Chairman of IDS.
According to YB Dato’ Saifuddin, in order for a nation to move forward, the national identities of a multilateral nation such as Malaysia has to be based on universal values of truth, justice and transparency. He said that the politics of racism within the nation is proved to be unhealthy for Malaysia, as it promotes indirectly to discriminatory acts against minorities. “Creating peaceful coexistence within communities is vital for the nation as multilateralism cannot exist without it,” he added.
YB Dato’ Saifuddin stressed that the people have to adapt and accept that Malaysia is a multicultural and multi-religious country, with domestic and foreign policies that are independent from the politics of racism. He highlighted that by encouraging and promoting mixed race political parties, educating the masses to end the politics of racism and reviewing the election system, could establish and maintain peaceful coexistence within the people of Malaysia.
Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, pointed out that when it comes to peaceful co-existence, Sabah has proven that multiculturalism can and have existed peaceful. “Sabah has more than 40 ethnics groups, and mixed marriages within families and communities are a norm for the people here. The secret is to be aware of other cultures and religions, and we accept their practices and lifestyle without imposing our way of life to others different from us,” he explained. Tan Sri added that country’s leaders and ruling government plays a major role in deciding on the magnitude that culture, race and religion plays in the country’s political scene.
IDS CEO Mr Anthony Kiob stated within the context of inclusivity, the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) has to be honoured by the Federal Government for Sabah and Sarawak to support the peaceful coexistence concept, when their rights especially in terms of economic shares are being addressed. A number of issues regarding ways to create peaceful coexistence in a multiracial society were brought up by the participants during the roundtable discussion. Among the issues discussed were avoiding being overly sensitive especially on matters regarding race and religion, the importance of educating children at an early stage on living harmoniously albeit coming from different racial and religious background, and learning to part with the notion of racial supremacy.
The Roundtable Discussion was attended by 50 people comprising of IDS Board of Directors, Board of Advisors, Senior Officers and researchers.