We have heard of speeches and exhortations by political leaders on unity and the dangers of racism and religious extremism for so long.
Probably we must have done some things right to be able to live together for so long, some of us even fall in love with each other and get married transcending racial, religious and cultural barriers, and so on.
But more needs to be done at the STREET LEVEL - meaning at the level that affects REAL PEOPLE, not just at elitist discussions and forums or at political rallies or on events such as Merdeka Day, Festival Days, New Year and so on.
Najib spoke right about the BN's approach to taking that step - each component party while looking at the interests of its members, must rise up that higher ground of championing the rights of "others", though not from their own party.
Eg: would it not be a breath of fresh air if MCA "protests" against violation of any "Malay rights?"
eg UMNO steps in to protect the legitimate rights of the person who has CONVERTED OUT OF ISLAM (what a sensitive issue!). Actually, people's lives cannot be swept under the carpet on grounds of sensitivity for at the bottom line - we each only have ONE life. There is no reason why yours should be less important than mine.
BN as a party itself is in a position to address the concerns of all ALL MALAYSIANS irrespective of differences in social construct, be ther racial, religious, cultural, etc. It has a good formula and what is needed is the courage, COMPASSION, and persistence to push through the LIFESTYLE of Malaysians.
I fear that good exhortations without concrete steps to remove things that divide Malaysians will not be helpful. On the contrary, hypocritical statements by political leaders will not only invite negative backlash, it will be counter productive to national acceptance of each other( one of the values of Najib's 1Malaysia concept).
As Wong Chun Wai of the Star pointed out, self restraint is a virtue in moving towards honest acceptance of each other.
"For 1Malaysia to work, our politicians, including ministers, need to exercise plenty of self-restraint. They cannot spew racist remarks to become champions of their races, and then talk about national unity. The days of talking to different audiences and expecting such double talk not to reach the ears of other communities are over".
Yes, we can bring down racial barriers and we must if we want to stand before God and say that we are all His Creations/ "His Children".
NOTE: CIVIL SERVANTS WHO PRACTICE RACISM SHOULD BE SEVERELY DEALT WITH BY THE LAW.