Malaysia's PM: All must play role in national reconciliation

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysians must be actively involved in national reconciliation which cannot be achieved by government policy alone, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Speaking at the launch of the 2014 National Reconciliation Programme here, the Prime Minister said the effort was aimed at starting a process of reconciliation at various levels.

"National reconciliation is a conscious effort and needs to be welcomed at grassroots and local community level because the GovernĀ­ment is only a facilitator that encourages the effort and aids it.

"The main movers are you, ladies and gentlemen, who are the local leaders and members of communities," Najib told the audience comprising residents at the Sri Melaka flats in Cheras.

One way Malaysians could help in the effort was to get involved in unity squads, a new initiative which the Prime Minister launched at the event. The volunteer squads would typically comprise multi-racial members of a local community working together to solve local problems and help strengthen unity in their neighbourhoods.

Many neighbourhoods already have initiatives like the Rukun Tetangga that conducts joint security patrols but unity squads will instead help deal with other local problems and foster better ties between Malaysians at the grassroots level, said Najib.

"Unity squads can also be deployed to help the less fortunate in our own communities and can conduct sports and recreational activities, all of which promote mutual respect and trust."

He said that apart from supporting efforts such as unity squads, Malaysians must stop saying anything that can hurt those of other races and aggravate the current situation.

"Lately, we have witnessed statements and actions by groups who have heightened the feeling of polarisation. Although we have not reached a serious level such as in 1969, the Government feels compelled to do something about it," he said.