The Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (ABIM) has been conducting muhibah (feeling of friendship, camaraderie tolerance and understanding) camps since 2019 and it is targeted to foster interracial friendship among young Malaysians.
A common problem most students who studied in vernacular schools faced is that they never had a friend from other races.
ABIM Vice President, Zairudin Hashim also said that these students have little idea about the culture and heritage, such as beliefs and customs, of other ethnic races.
“We are aware of this problem, and therefore we decided to do something about it.”
“National unity does not come by itself; it must be nurtured so that the nation can progress.” he was quoted saying by The Rakyat Post.
Meanwhile, ABIM has recently conducted the second edition of its Muhibah Malaysia Camp with the collaborating between educationist and youth groups Dong Zong, Tamil Foundation Malaysia, Architecture of Diversity and Malaysia Hindu Youth Council.
It was also revealed that the project was funded with grants from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Malaysia Reform Initiative (MARI) program.
Nonetheless, the camp had been put on hold for almost a year due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia. The recent one was being held online using Zoom last month.
It was reported that there were about 100 participants from various single-type schools in Klang Valley.
During the session, the students discussed about multiracial unity and the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.
The Malaysia Hindu Youth Council president Arunkumar Chengoden also said it is easy to be discouraged about the levels of racism and prejudice in society these days.
Therefore, it becomes even more important to cultivate cross-group friendships among Malaysian youths.
“The interaction between young Malaysians will help to remove barriers of fear and doubt and to model new norms of behaviour.” Arunkumar said.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that these prejudice is becoming more deeply rooted in our culture and it can been seen from the social media.
He also urge the Education Ministry to take action in promoting cross-group friendships.
He said that NGOs are not getting the level of support that is needed to create lasting impact.
“Unity can only be sustained through continuous efforts through detailed planning, rather than just mere slogans.” Arunkumar added.
He also expressed that he hope the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) concept, recently announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, will turn things around.
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