Sandakan: The National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) in collaboration with the Department of National Unity and Integration of the Prime Minister's Department has undertaken a nationwide unity dialogue session with the public themed 'Dialog Perpaduan : Suara Akar Umbi~Membina Bersama Bangsa Malaysia yang Bersatu Padu.' The NUCC conducted the dialogue session in SMK Merparti, Sandakan on Sunday 9th March 2014, from 8.00 am -1.00 pm. The session was attended by around 300 people on an invitation basis involving government departments and agencies, political parties, non-government and faith based organisations.
The 32-member Council which is an independent body was initiated by the Honorable Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak. NUCC was formed last year as an advisory body to gather views and feedbacks from the public on national unity and integration. The feedbacks from the dialogue would be analysed and will form the preliminary report for national unity planning and making recommendations to the government.
Two representatives from St Mary's Cathedral, Dalius L. Lobinjang of SOCCOM and Sunday Samuel Worok of the Parish Office attended the dialogue. The dialogue session adopted an open concept where the audience were encouraged to express their views freely.
Dalius Lobinjang commended the government for taking such serious effort in promoting unity, bringing people of diverse races, religions and cultures together. He opined that to instill national unity it should start from young through education. It is high time for the academicians to formulate a specific subject to promote national unity in school.
He also highlighted that the street demonstrations happening in Peninsula is not the culture in Sabah where people over here are more tolerant with each other. He proposed that political differences would best be discussed in forums or debates so that parties can channel their views on any issues to the masses, rather than going to the extreme of street demonstrations. He proposed that dialogue sessions or forums are appropriate venues to voice out their opinions. Such sessions should be broadcasted live without censorship with NUCC as the moderator so that the public could have direct access to such information.
One positive aspect is that the session has created a platform for open dialogue among the people with the hope that the government will hear the voice of the grassroots.