A Samad Said, speaking at the Cooler Lumpur Festival in June 2014.
A Samad Said, speaking at the Cooler Lumpur Festival in June 2014.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Datuk A. Samad Said have launched a new movement of nation building in the hope of reclaiming Malaysia as a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society. The lawyer and the poet laureate have dubbed this new movement “Negara-Ku”.

Launching the new NGO coalition at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall earlier today, Samad called for a movement that rose above partisan politics. “These parties on both sides of the divide pursue their agenda that are transactional and short-term, not transformational and long-term,” he was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider.

“The mobilisation and manipulation of race, ethnicity and religion have resulted in increasing intolerance, bigotry and extremism.”

“Negara-Ku” has been endorsed by 68 civil society groups and NGOs. The announcement took place one day after the three year anniversary of the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections. The Bersih movement was previously co-chaired by Ambiga and Samad.

Other civil society groups have also been brokering efforts against bigotry. A group called “Malaysians For Malaysia” was created by Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and her friends earlier this year, in order to celebrate Malaysia’s “social and religious diversity.”

Ling Low