Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Rukun Negara Secretariat adviser Prof Sarjit Singh Gill, said that as compared to before the pandemic began, people were beginning to realise that they needed to live together, to help and respect each other.
“Before COVID-19, we saw a lot of debates, conflicts, and competitions, indeed there was also co-operation but it was quite limited. But during COVID-19, we see more and more co-operation among communities, conflicts are as if they are non-existent, conflicts in society involving racism are not seen now.
“It is time for the Ministry of National Unity to look into the context of how the people are embracing this moment of unity. I think this is a landscape of change and here I see the strength of the communities such as non-governmental organisations, religious organisations and youths to start using their movement to help society during this crisis, ”he said.
He said this in the ‘Ruang Bicara’ Programme on Bernama TV titled '#KitaJagaKita – Managing National Unity' here last night. Also present as guests were University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Faculty of Education, Centre of Education and Community Wellness senior lecturer Anuar Ahmad and the Malaysian Youth Council president Jufitri Joha.
Meanwhile, Anuar said the education system in the country should be reviewed in line with the way society thinks and acts in the current era, for example, such as emphasising the concept of having a nation.
He said if things such as Rukunegara, unity and celebration of diversity were excluded, Malaysia would probably only produce many professionals who had no appreciation for national issues and at the same time bring bad to the country.
“But thank god, during this COVID-19 we see all frontliners from all races working hard shoulder-to-shoulder. But we need to improve that quality, so that in the future our people will appreciate the concept of statehood,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jufitri said social media, if not managed properly, could be a hindrance to the spirit of patriotism among the younger generation.
“Social media has a lot of fake news, issues … which (can have a negative effect) if we do not educate the younger generation to filter, think critically and most importantly distinguish between true and false news. So young people need to be taught how to use the platforms in the best possible manner,” he said.