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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Aug 31: Any attempt to sow racial disharmony is similar to “playing with fire that will burn not only oneself, the village but also the whole country”.
Fearing for this, state Fire and Rescue (Bomba) director Khirudin Drahman urged every Malaysians to hold the country united as it is the country’s pillar of strength.
“Malaysia is a multiracial, multicultural country with a population of over 20 million people who practice various religions. Do not stoke racial misunderstanding by raising matters that can threaten national unity and harmony,” he told DayakDaily in light of the Aug 31 National Day celebration today.
While uniting the various groups that have different social and cultural backgrounds may not be easy, Khirudin said with social unity, the different groups of people of various culture will combine to become one society.
With the community’s way of life, interacting among themselves in peace and harmony, he believed that Malaysians should feel proud and dignified that all can live together, have mutual respect for each other and that everybody can practise his or her own religion without any restrictions and criticisms from any quarters.
“Take the example of our Fire and Rescue department in Sarawak. All of us come from different background, race and religion but we are united as one, especially when we response to any emergencies.
“This is the spirit that we want to absorb into our community, which comprises diverse ethnic groups, without having misunderstandings and quarrels among the members,” he pointed out.
Citing the proverb “rambut sama hitam, tetapi hati berbeza” Khirudin said this clearly indicates that even humans have the same hair colour but the soul and desire are different.
By creating racial unity in society, then harmony society with similar aspirations can be achieved, he continued.
“Therefore, for the sake of our future generations, do not fall into the hatred of politics. We have built this nation, so keep it and maintain it in good shape.
“We can have our differences but do remember, diversity makes our life colourful, so enjoy and cherish it. Do not hate,” Khirudin said.
Miri Fire and Rescue chief Law Poh Kiong, said the tools devised to unite Malaysians of all races can come in many forms but they must serve only one purpose, which is to unite the nation.
“This can succeed only if all have the right mindset, determination and willpower to implement it with full sincerity, with national interests at heart,” he added.
Citing the Miri community as an example, Law said there is a great synergy between the people and Bomba.
“Regardless of race or religion, the forest, bush and peat fires in Miri back in April and this month have brought them together, united as one, to help Bomba and at the same time, relentlessly spreading awareness to control open burning during haze.
“The community here are extremely proactive which plays a vital role in working together with Bomba. We in Bomba look forward to the continuation of such great cooperation so that every Malaysia’s Independence day will be more meaningful,” Law said.
Bomba Sarawak’s sole female officer-in-charge of Marudi fire station, Maureen Sim, believed strong racial harmony coupled with the virtues of tolerance and acceptance among those of various faiths is something that no amount of money can buy.
“Racial harmony is the key ingredient that binds the community together. Sarawak is truly unique where racial harmony remains intact and acceptance of people from other faiths are prevalent in every part of our society.
“I am grateful to be given the opportunity to serve in the Baram area, where the community comprised of multiracial and religious background. Everyone here practices respect and tolerance, which is a pillar of our unity in this area.
“I sincerely hope that these noble values are passed on to the younger generation, so that they can better understand others and the importance of racial unity in Malaysia,” Maureen said. — DayakDaily