Southeast Asia has always watched the development in Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia closely. Needless to say, instability in Korean peninsula will gravely affect our peace and prosperity. Malaysia experienced first hand being used as an illicit transit destination to bypass sanctions, discovered in the aftermath of the gruesome assassination of Kim Jong Nam at KLIA 2.
The truth is, we are governing in a post-truth environment and we who believe in the Malaysian dream need to step up to ensure that no racial confrontation takes place. The mandate given to us is to govern in a coalition government to secure Malaysian democracy for all Malaysians from all backgrounds.
Here in Malaysia, in Bahasa Melayu, we refer to our homeland as “tanah air”, a compound word in which tanah refers to land, and air refers to the sea. It is an inherently maritime conceptualisation of our nationhood, speaking to our inseparable connection to the sea.
For any political groupings that intend to win from the middle, we need to genuinely acknowledge that Malaysians have more similarities than differences. The majority, while coming from different cultural backgrounds, share similar aspirations.
We need to “resurrect” the notion of Asia. ASEAN Centrality is great, and as long as ASEAN gets its acts together, it is a great power house. But Asia the label is something that we shouldn’t lose either.