National Unity and Integration Department - Sleeping On The Job.
After an extended period of hibernation during which Kampung Medan came, killed and went, this yawning entity has just woken up to the fact that things aren't quite rosy on the racial front. Thus it has announced the setting up of a computerised early-warning system on racial conflict.
The DG of this moribund department made the announcement when he gave details of the government's five-year unity plan - the country's first - aimed at creating multiracial activities in schools and institutions of higher learning. The RM100 million (S$430,000) programme recommends, among other initiatives, that schools seat pupils from different races next to each other and encourage multiracial interaction in activities.
The overriding objectives of the 2006-2010 National Unity and Integration Action Plan are stemming racial segregation and building stronger ties.
"What the devil have you been doing all these years except collect your monthly pay?", is the question I would like to pose to these officials of the department. Suddenly they wake up from their slumber and feel that by making some cosmetic changes here and there things will be hunky-dory.
The problem is no one really bothered about this department for a long while now, and the officers spent their time conducting some ineffective, boring ceramah or delivering taklimat. Do the jokers in this place first of all know what it takes to achieve racial harmony? Do they realise that it is successive government policies which have led to much of the problems relating to race-relations? If the government is the biggest culprit then how do they propose to go about realising their matlamat?
It would be interesting to see how integrated or segregated the department itself is before they embark on their newfound zeal to 'unite' the people. The sad reality in Malaysia is that no amount of talking, pledging, claiming or pretending that things are fantastic is going to make any difference to the public. The deep-rooted prejudices of every race and their suspicions of everyone, especially of the government makes things extremely difficult to overcome.
Deep inside, every single Malaysian knows that unfair government policies will not change even in a century from now, and as long as these unjust practices exist, true racial unity, harmony and integration will always remain a pipe dream. The best we can hope for is to avoid open interracial strife. That is where the National Unity and Integration Department comes into the picture. If it can stay awake long enough.