National Unity Policy timely as country in transition towards digital community

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — The launch of the National Unity Policy has been deemed timely as the country is now in a transition towards a digital community.

Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the multi-racial society of Malaysia used to live in a physical community, either in a village or residential area, with every problem being addressed easily together.

Now, he said the country is transitioning towards digital community and facing different challenges as social media is being used comprehensively to obtain all kinds of information.

“Digital community is something new and some people still don’t really understand how things work in the community. If there’s a piece of fake news, for example, it will spread 1,000 times faster in the digital community than in the physical community.

“This is the challenge for unity (in the digital community) because if anything happened and went viral, the impact can go from bad to worse…I think the timing (for the launch of the National Unity Policy) is right and truly relevant,” he told Bernama in response to the launch of the policy by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

In his speech at the launch, the Prime Minister said the policy based on the concept “Unity in Diversity” outlines continuous efforts to nurture, strengthen and preserve the unity of the people.

The three main objectives of the policy are to strengthen unity and national integration based on the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara (National Philosophy); form a national identity with character, patriotism, the attitude of caring, tolerance, mutual respect and responsibility as well as producing Malaysians who appreciate and foster unity.

Saifuddin said the policy’s action plans were very comprehensive and all quarters have been asked to intensify efforts to enhance public appreciation of unity.

“I agree with the term ‘tolerance’ used in the policy, but we do have to look at another concept of ‘liking’. ‘Tolerance is somewhat passive, but ‘liking’ is more active. Of course, what’s written in the policy is already well-polished, but our understanding must go beyond the words,” he said.

Saifuddin also said sports need be given strong emphasis in the policy’s action plans as the majority of the people in the country love sports.

“Sports should be given higher priority…where else can you find multi-racial people stopped to watch the match involving the country’s football or badminton team, not only wearing the jersey but also flying the flag. This proves that sports unite us all,” he said.

He said the late Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim was once proved that sports could really unite the people when he became a writer in a sports column of a local newspaper to promote reading habit among the public.

“He was the only academician who wrote in a sports column and I had the liberty once to ask him why and he said he strongly believed that sports are meant for unity,” the minister said.

Saifuddin said all agencies under his ministry should strengthen their respective social media platforms and include the message of national unity in the content.

“Today’s generation does not watch television, but they still get all information they want from the social media,” he said.


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