I wish to introduce the next key value of 1 Malaysia, which is Acceptance. You can watch the video here, or read the transcript below.
On the importance of acceptance over tolerance
I think there’s quite a big difference between the two (tolerance and acceptance). I think when you say you tolerate, you don’t quite like it, but you accept it because you have no choice. But if you talk in terms of acceptance, it indicates a state of mind that you are embracing something positively. I think it’s important for us to migrate from this concept of mere tolerance to acceptance. Acceptance in the sense that you are ready to accept things. If you’re willing to accept things, if you embrace things willingly, then I think your capacity to look at things in a more positive manner is much better than mere tolerance.
I think that’s important because then you don’t have any baggage and you’re not weighed down by any negative pre-conceived notions and you’re willing to look at the best the person can offer. This is what we require for Malaysia. We have to get the best of the Malays, the best of the Chinese, the best of the Indians, the best of the others and mold them together so that collectively we’ll be much bigger than the sum of the individuals.
On the government’s role in nurturing acceptance
I think we have to embark on policies that seem to be fair and implemented in a way that reflects our commitment. For example, when we talk about helping the poor, we must be helping the poor of all communities. And I think the poor of all communities deserve to be helped. So our programmes, our financial allocations must reflect the need to tackle the problems of the poor across all racial and ethnic lines. That’s an example of the policies on that level. There is also the other consideration, for example, developing talent in Malaysia. I think every Malaysian should be able to accomplish the maximum in terms of his or her self-development. The system we have in place, the education system, the scholarships, the financial assistance, the opportunities should reflect this, that there are no limits. The limits are not set because of your ethnic background. The limits are set because of your own personal ability.