Politicians need independent arbiter from civil society
SHAH ALAM - Providing a neutral platform, civil society can facilitate constructive conversations that could go beyond partisan interests and lead to a stronger and more harmonious society.
KRA Group political risk consultant Amir Fareed Rahim said in the current political landscape, discussions revolving around race and religion have become highly charged, primarily driven by the stance of political parties.
While it was not inherently wrong for political parties to advocate for their beliefs and represent their voter base, he said the issue arised when these discussions became overly politicised, leading to a lack of middle ground for a meaningful dialogue.
"To address this challenge, it is essential to empower an independent and honest civil society to act as an arbiter in these conversations.
"Civil society organisations, being politically impartial, can play a crucial role in facilitating constructive discussions that transcend partisan interests.
"The significance of this approach lies in the need for mature and honest conversations about critical issues such as race and religion," Amir said.
He said when political parties dominate such discussions, the focus often shifted towards galvanising support and securing electoral advantages.
As a result, the genuine concerns and complexities surrounding these topics may be overshadowed and the potential for finding a common ground became limited, he added.
"To ensure that the conversations are constructive and beneficial for society as a whole, civil society must be politically independent and free from affiliations that could influence their judgment.
"By donning the mask of impartiality, civil society organisations can effectively facilitate dialogue, allowing individuals from various backgrounds to participate in a respectful and inclusive manner," he said during Sinar Daily's Wacana programme entitled 'Finding Middle Ground for 3R Conversations'.
Ultimately, he said the success of these efforts lies in embracing a more open and inclusive approach to discussions about race and religion.
By empowering civil society to lead these conversations, Amir mentioned that they can create an environment that encourages open-mindedness, empathy, and the willingness to consider differing perspectives.
He said through this process, they can hope to arrive at well-informed decisions and solutions that resonated with a broader spectrum of the population and contribute to a stronger and more harmonious society.