Rustam Sani, in this month’s lead story asks rhetorically: Are we a nation yet? Communalism will remain as long as the ethnic groups ‘compete for the supremacy of percentages’ or quotas in our social life. Return to the days of the Putera-AMCJA to draw some lessons, he opines. Responding to last month’s lead story, John Hilley argues that curbs on the discussion of racial and religious issues not only breed suspicion, resentment and disunity but foster Vision-type notions of national unity popularised by big leaders.
Malaysians do know how to debate and disagree civilly. They must reclaim this right.
National unity must be based on social justice too. Graham Brown highlights the disturbing trend of widening regional disparities between peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, a gap made evident in the 9MP due to the new approach used in the Plan to calculate poverty rates.
Meanwhile Supara Janchitfah writes about a Buddhist woman who continues to work with Muslim fishermen in southern Thailand in order to maintain the mutual trust necessary for future peace, even as inter-religious strife occurs all around.
Of late, the Bar Council has called on the government to re-look into the proprietry of the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas and the removal of two Supreme Court judges in 1988. We carry Karpal Singh’ssupport for this initiative. Our back cover story reproduces the private notes of after his meeting with then PM Dr Mahathir. Also reproduced is Part I of Tun Salleh AbasSalleh Abas’s response to the first two allegations levelled against him (Part II will be carried in the next issue of AM).
Belated Merdeka Greetings!
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