TAPAH: Cross-cultural communication must be instilled among Malaysians to nurture mutual understanding among all races, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
He said such understanding would also strengthen the relationship and respect in a plural society such as Malaysia.
"The divide-and-rule policy, which was a practise during the colonial era, or compartmentalisation must be stopped to safeguard harmony among Malaysians.
"After 60 years of independence, this should not happen here," said the Umno vice-president in his speech while opening Tapah Umno division delegates meeting today.
Citing Tapah constituency, he said the area was a good example of how Barisan Nasional practised power sharing, with its MP from MIC (Datuk M. Saravanan), and assemblymen from MCA (Datuk Mah Hang Soon-Chenderiang) and Umno (Datuk Shamsudin Abu Hassan-Ayer Kuning).
Zahid also said that Malaysians should also embraced their roots.
"I am proud to admit that I am a "Jawa" (of Javanese descent). My father was born in Indonesia and my mother was born in Malaysia.
"However, some people were being sensitive when I merely stated a fact of someone's background." he said, in a veiled response to reactions that came following his comment on former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's parentage recently.