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MALAYSIANS should take pride in their multiracial society, which is founded on the principles of peaceful coexistence and democracy despite differences in cultures, religions and backgrounds.

The diversity of races and cultures is omnipresent in our country, from big cities, small towns to rural areas. However, living together with disparate beliefs, values and perspectives may lead to conflicts. Therefore, it is crucial to address and resolve these issues promptly to prevent them from escalating and affecting the stability and well-being of the people.

In a multiracial country like Malaysia, mutual respect and tolerance are vital for stability. Therefore, it is crucial for everyone to put aside their differences and collaborate towards the country’s progress. Living in a diverse society provides people an opportunity to learn, help each other and strive towards personal growth.

Islam encourages the spirit of multiracial and multiculturalism, and this is clearly emphasised in the Quran.

Human beings were created with different races by God so that we can learn from each other through friendship and cooperation, rather than hatred and conflict.

Living in a multicultural and multiracial society has its benefits, such as the exchange of cultural ideas, values and habits. These can help enhance the quality of life for everyone.

Having a diverse culture paradoxically increases our awareness of our identity while also fostering an understanding of differences and similarities between individuals from various backgrounds.

Consequently, individuals become prouder of their heritage compared with those in a homogeneous society and enjoy sharing their traditions, cuisine, music, dance, art and more with others. This results in a more interesting and complex community. Exposure to different cultures and backgrounds encourages tolerance and open-mindedness.

A country with many immigrants and minorities, and a significant proportion of the population with mixed heritage, requires core values such as acceptance, tolerance and open-mindedness to thrive.

Individuals who feel accepted and valued in society are motivated to contribute towards the betterment of the community that embraces and provides them with the quality of life they seek.

Living in a multiracial society allows for direct interaction with individuals who have different habits and lifestyles, promoting creativity and innovation. Exposure to disparate perspectives and ideas results in fresh and unique approaches to problem-solving and thinking outside-the-box. This diversity can be observed in various fields such as food, fashion, design, art, entertainment, sports and professional settings. A mix of perspectives, talents, skills and ideas foster innovation and promote unique thinking.

Each individual has his unique strengths and weaknesses, and no individual or race is perfect. Cooperation among individuals is essential for success and progress in society.

It is crucial to learn from the racial tensions in other countries and work towards a peaceful coexistence. Endless protests and distrust only make life difficult for everyone. Therefore, people must strive to cooperate with each other to achieve harmony and prosperity.

Multiracial and multiculturalism is a fundamental facet of our society that dates back before our independence in 1957.

Our society has always consisted of individuals from different races and ethnicities, and this historical fact is undeniable.

Since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the number of races and ethnicities in the country has significantly increased, further emphasising the importance of acknowledging and celebrating our diversity.

In a multiracial country, conflict and misunderstandings can arise if individuals are not respectful and sensitive towards one another. Thus, it is crucial for everyone to demonstrate respect and tolerance towards each other.

While laws, rules and regulations can be established to enforce peace and harmony, it would be more beneficial if individuals voluntarily made an effort to create a peaceful society without being compelled to do so.

Assoc Prof Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. Comments: