New National Unity Approaches & Strategies, 3 July 2018

KITA Principal Fellow Prof. Dr. Mansor Mohd Noor and Prof. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria participated at the Network of Malaysian Think Tanks (NMTT) Meeting at Institute of Strategic & International Studies (ISIS Malaysia) on July 3, 2018. KITA-UKM is a member of the Network.

The theme of the discussion was on ‘New approaches & strategies for national unity & integration under the Harapan government’. The meeting was moderated by YB Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysian Foreign Minister and three speakers were Harapan two MPs namely YB Tuan Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, YB Dr Kelvin Yii and Mr Liew Chin Tong.

The panel discussion reviewed the post GE14 political idealism and realities including the Harapan government promises. It also noted that race, religion and regionalism will dominate political discourse. Therefore it was proposed that there is a need to address the sensitives of all communities in the institutional reform process especially the Malay-Muslim constituencies. An urgent task is to improve the quality of human well-being especially for the bottom 40%. This is about addressing rising inequalities and improving income levels. There was a call to use income groups rather than racial comparisons in data gathering and analysis. In addition the traditional rural-urban divide must recognise the concerns of large sections of Malaysians living in the semi urban neighbourhoods, a majority being Malay-Muslims who are struggling to make ends meet.

The discussion ended with an affirmation that ‘Think Tank groups’ have a major role to play in research especially monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment. They can play an effective role in public policy advocacy, undertaking check and balance and thereby keeping the Harapan government in check. It is was also noted that the National Unity Consultative Council Report (2013-2015) where KITA-UKM served at the secretariat, be released to the public for review and PH government could build on these findings and recommendations.

Report By:
Prof. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria
3 July 2018