Bridge differences in interpretation of Constitution through dialogue, says academic

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies principal research fellow Prof Datuk Denison Jayasooria said such differences can affect national unity. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies principal research fellow Prof Datuk Denison Jayasooria said such differences can affect national unity. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — There is a need for more dialogues between differing interest groups on matters like the Federal Constitution to avoid causing tensions in society, an academic said.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies principal research fellow Prof Datuk Denison Jayasooria said such differences can affect national unity.

“There is a need to increase consultation among the differing groups. In our society, we should not allow the guys to walk out of the discussion,” he said at the Forum on National Unity Consultative Council at the Academy of Sciences here today.

He said tensions due to the differing interpretations are exacerbated as there is no single authority to validate the supposed true intention of the Federal Constitution.

This includes the resistance to the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and other issues that are deemed by some segments of society as going against the Federal Constitution, he said.

Subsequently, Denison explained that the NUCC report has recommended that more dialogues between groups with differing opinions should take place.

“That is why there is a need for the authorities or even the media to facilitate such meetings with different interest groups. It is an exercise to make each side understand the other more.

“At the very least, people can agree to disagree. Both sides need to live and let live in these cases,” he added.

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