The following article appeared on 29-May-2013 | on www.globalpeace.org
KUALA LUMPUR—In the wake of unprecedented protests and racial tensions following the recent general elections, Global Peace Festival (GPF) Malaysia in partnership with University of Malaya and Projek Dialog organized a forum on May 23, 2013, to advance national unity and promote peace.
“After the election, there have been continuous negative sentiments and unfavorable issues created by various political and opinion leaders as well as the media,” said GPF Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Datin Paduka Seri Hjh Zaleha Ismail. “This has caused concerns, uncertainties and even fear among Malaysians on the future and the direction our nation is heading toward.”
The forum, “Moving Forward: Dream of a Better Malaysia,” was the first of a GPF Dialogue Series that will focus on significant issues in contemporary Malaysia. The Dialogue Series will outline priorities that are important to the future of the nation, encourage respectful dialogue and engagement, and identify common aspirations and needs among all Malaysians.
As a non-profit and non-partisan organization affiliated with Global Peace Foundation International and its program of peace-building, GPF Malaysia felt some urgency to create a forum to encourage higher perspectives and strengthen national solidarity based on a common aspiration for developing a united Malaysia for future generations.
“We hope that such forum will serve as a platform for positive voices to speak their minds and share their dreams while focusing on a more constructive deliberation and collective action, rather than pointing fingers to certain parties,” Tan Sri Ismail added.
Among the panelists participating in the forum were Prof. Datin Dr. Azizan Baharuddin, Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia’s Deputy Director-General; Fuad Rahmat, Managing Editor of Projek Dialog; entrepreneur Maverick Foo; cultural activist and writer Eddin Khoo; and Astro Awani Executive Editor Kamarul Bahrin Haron. K. Puniamurthy of the University of Malaya served as the forum moderator.
In addition to interactive dialogue between the audience and panelists, post-forum video interviews enabled participants to share their thoughts and dreams. The forum series will focus on multi-sector engagement with the government, private sector, and community leaders.
Panelists and audience engaged is spirited exchanges on Malaysian national unity.