KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — Parti Bangsa Malaysia's (PBM) president-designate Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin today urged Malaysians to embrace religious and cultural tolerance, following similar calls by prominent figures recently.
In a statement today, the plantation industries and commodities minister said that multiculturalism is one of PBM’s key agendas, which was consistent with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s Keluarga Malaysia concept.
“PBM would like to call upon all Malaysians to say ‘No’ to any form of racism and to put all differences aside to work as one for the greater good of all Malaysians and future generations.
“The future starts with us today, we are all part of Keluarga Malaysia, and we need to further strengthen our multicultural and multiracial foundation and remain strong and united to face all challenges ahead,” she said.
Zuraida also said that Malaysia “has no place for bigotry”, and that “xenophobic tendencies and sentiments” could harm the nation’s ability to establish global connections and resulting economic growth.
“Our founding fathers have laid the foundation to ensure that this plural country continues to thrive on diversity.
“We should not let racists and extremists undermine the very fabric of this nation,” she added.
Last Sunday, Ismail Sabri asked members of Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) to adopt the concept of tasamuh — an Arabic term meaning tolerance or open-mindedness.
This followed calls from two Malay Rulers, Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Shah and Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, to respect multiculturalism in Malaysia.
Sultan Sharafuddin was responding to calls to ban Muslims from attending the Bon Odori festival — a Japanese festival — for fear it could lead to syirik (polytheism) practices.
Bon Odori directly translates to “Bon dance”, which is performed during Obon, an annual event when Japanese honour the spirits of their ancestors.
Meanwhile, Sultan Nazrin was speaking at the launch of a book titled The Malays: Pathfinders And Trailblazers, and said that for centuries the Malay archipelago has been open to flows of trade, capital, labour and ideas; which had led to its success.
To note, Zuraida left Bersatu late last month to join PBM, and Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is pushing for her Cabinet position to be given to someone else in Bersatu.
For now, Ismail Sabri has opted to keep Zuraida in her position until he has a meeting with her — although no meeting has been fixed yet.