Day 10

Posted On July 31, 2007

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THE PLURAL SOCIETY
Early history indicates that a substantial number of Malay population was made up of immigrants from the Dutch colonies, e.g. Sumatra.
The influx of migrants from China and India during the British colonial period drastically changed the racial composition in the peninsula. Instead of returning to their homeland after a certain period, some migrants stayed on and developed roots. This marked the beginning of a gradual development of a plural society.
However, the British’s assumed responsibilities for Malays, Chinese and Indians led to stereotyped perceptions and segregation. Cultural integration was slow. The creation of the Chinese Protectorate made it far less important for the Malay leaders to interact with the Chinese.
According to the 1931 census, the Malays were outnumbered. Alarmed by such revelation, the British officials reiterated their commitment to safeguard the ‘special privileges’ of the Malays, i.e. to maintain the position and authority of the Malay rulers and land ownership.
The 1913 Malay Reservation Enactment was amended in 1933 to bar non-Malays from acquiring any form of land ownership. Nonetheless, the Malay rulers had a long history of co-operation with leading Chinese merchants. The relationship between the privileged Chinese and Malays were fostered in the colonial period by common experience of English education and their acceptance of their own social status.
The modern history of Malaysia suggests that religious and racial harmony has been fragile. One of the main reasons is the “identificationof religion with race coupled with the political primacy of the Malays colliding with the aspiration of other races for complete equality”, as aptly put by a political analyst.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His intervention in the past racial incidents.
b. Government’s effort to create national unity and integration.
c. Respect, understanding, willingness to accommodate and share among all races.
2. Forgiveness, healing and restoration for those who were or have been hurt from racial incidents.
3. Against the spirit of strife behind those who stir up racial sentiment and religious issues for their own gain.
4. Government and leaders of all ethnic groups to walk the talk in fostering unity and integration.
5. Favouritism and racial discrimination to be removed from all policies and implementation of projects.
6. Teachers and parents to be role models and instil in their children the values of kindness and respect for one another.
7. Salt & light:
    Local churches to realise their community responsibilities with creative solutions that reveal the goodness of God.

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