CIMB chairperson Datuk Seri Nazir Abdul Razak and AirAsia group chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes have given us much to smile about. It is heartwarming that these two captains of the industry have come forward to voice their support for a move against racial segregation.
By backing actor and filmmaker Afdlin Shauki’s boycott of the Festival Filem Malaysia 2016, they are helping to reinforce our belief in a truly united society where there is no place for discrimination of any sort.
Nazir and Fernandes’ ensorsement of Afdlin’s gallant stand came at a time when the country is beset with racial politicking as the most dominant political party, Umno, comes under siege. We hope that such a positive move will help us to boost racial unity.
The country’s diversity, instead of being a source of strength and competitive edge, has been turned into cause for conflict. Racial disrespect is rampant on the Internet and the culprits are mainly paid cybertroopers funded by political parties.
“Respect. I was aghast to hear that my favourite, Ola Bola, and others can’t compete for best Malaysian movie. Why the segregation? Change will only happen because individuals like Afdlin make a principled stand, well done!” Nazir wrote on Instagram.
Fernandes wrote: “Kudos to @afdlinshauki for standing up for what he believed. Having come form the entertainment industry music media is an art, freedom of expression. Movies should not be excluded because it is multilingual…
“I met Din my brother through music, Malaysia greatest producer who made great Malaysian music that we all listened to. Zainal Abidin, Sheila Majib and Afdlin himself. We didn’t look at our race…
“I say again. Enough segregation more inclusiveness. Celebrate our diversity.”
The bigger hero here is no doubt Afdlin, who initiated this move against racial segregation over the exclusion of Ola Bola and Jagat from the best film category in the festival. They were excluded because the dialogue was not fully in Bahasa Malaysia, and were thus nominated for ‘Best Non-Bahasa Melayu’ Film.
These three Malaysians have given us much hope in turning the tide against racial segregation and disrespect. Ironically or perhaps, due to sheer coincidence, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said all Malaysians should be treated equitably and given the necessary help to better their lives.
“You can rest assured that the government which I lead is a government that will be fair to all Malaysians,” he said at the fifth anniversary celebration of the Malaysian Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Foundation in Shah Alam. “This is the foundation and essence of our country.”
Najib is right in saying all Malaysians must work hand in hand for the nation to reach greater heights and attain success. No one is in better position to ensure that that is path for us to take.
Perhaps, the prime minister can start by getting political parties to rein in their goons, who have been taking to the streets in provocative manners. But more than that, he needs to reaffirm this stand with more cohesive policies and distance himself from the politics of exclusion.