Malaysia is known as the 'plural society'. This concept was put forward by J.S Furnival (1948) in his writing.
- Discuss your understanding about the concept of 'plural society'.
- What are the importances of unity in Malaysia? Discuss your points.
Since the twentieth century, the term "plural society" has been used to illustrate societies, especially at the level of independent states or colonial territories and it always typify by sharp internal cleavages between ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic groups. In that case, Malaysia is the best example to prove the plural society when under the British Colonization.
At the pre-independence period, colonialists have encouraged ethnic segregation. For example, the colonialists have divided them into different places and set the rule to control them. This is because they don't want Malaysian to unite against the colonialists. As the result of this action, the main ethnic groups in Malaysia have divided into three particular ethnic communities such as Malays, Chinese, and Indians. In addition, these ethnic communities couldn't meet other frequently.
In the plural society, Malays lived in kampungs and they always involved in traditional economic activities such as farmers, paddy planters or fishmen. Besides that, they also use their mother language in daily life. In detail, the Malay language has been used to communicate to each other in daily life. The main religion for the Malays is Islam. Apart from this, Malays also have many traditional cultures. For examples, they have celebrated Hari Raya and they like to eat some spicy and hot foods especially curry and nasi lemak.
For the Chinese, they always live in urban area in order to the purposes of trade and commerce. For example, the Chinese involved majority in mining industries especially tin and gold. The mandarin has been used to communicate in their daily life, and they didn't know other languages such as Malay and Tamil. Normally, the Chinese didn't have main religion but they mostly believe in Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. In spite of this, Chinese also have own traditional cultures. For examples, they have celebrated Chinese New Year and they cannot sweep the floor when Chinese New Year.
Since the British Colonization, the Indians have been brought over by agents through "kangany" system in order to work in the rubber estates and collect the rubber. Because of this, Indians have been forced to live in the rubber estate and plantation area which are far away from town. Indians have different language, caste, and religion however, they are same ethnic. Besides, Indians also have many traditional cultures. For examples, they celebrated Hari Deevapali and they do not eat beef.
The Government has introduced 1Malaysia to strengthen inter-racial relations and assimilation in the country to restrain the feelings of parochialism among the demos. This is because the government aware that the racial unity is the main power to ensure stability towards achieving greater progress and development for the people and country.
The unity is very important in Malaysia. It is the first challenge in Vision 2020 to establish a united Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia. Unquestionably, racial unity is the only way to establish a united Malaysian nation. This is because without unity the society will fall apart. Thus, every Malaysian should unite together in order to overcome the challenges and to achieve the Vision 2020.
Besides that, racial unity is also important to the Malaysia's economic. Hence, all the races in Malaysia should unite and work together in order to increase the economic. This is because the investors will feel more confidence to our country's economic when the unity among the races. On the other hand, we also need to be more creative and innovative to produce a new goods or services with its available resources and technology. Inarguably and obviously, the investor will attract by the new goods and services if the goods and services is more creative than other country or business predator. As a result, our country will increase enormously.
Apart from this, racial unity can also help us to construct a harmony and peaceful society. Furthermore, unity can serve as a stepping stone in helping us to know more about other races culture. Therefore, we will respect their traditional cultures and try to follow their cultures as well. As a result, the sharp internal cleavages between ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic groups will not happen.