Nation-building is the process of constructing or structuring a national identity to unify the people so that the country remains politically, economically and socially stable.
THE term civil society refers to the wide array of non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations that have a presence in public life. They express the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations.
Civil society organisations are essentially the so-called “intermediary institutions” such as professional associations, religious groups, labour unions, citizen advocacy organisations where people associate to advance their common interests and enrich public participation in democracies.
In short, the realm of civil society is the bridge between the state and the people.
A healthy relationship between these organisations especially the NGOs and the Government is very much determined by shared common objectives.
The Government usually accommodates NGOs as partners in development because by and large, NGOs are the entities that can reach the general public effectively.
It is also important to note that each of these actors posses distinctive capabilities and powers that the other does not have or only partially enjoys.
Thus, each party has to acknowledge that there are necessary complementary efforts between them to solve issues and address the concerns of the masses.
When we talk about nation-building, an important idea that comes to our mind is usually the creation of national paraphernalia that can help to solidify and unite the people.
In addition, a nation is perceived to be doing well when it is able to defend itself against the internal and external threats that aim to weaken the foundations of society.
In relation to this, nation-building is actually the whole process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state.
This process aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically, economically and socially stable. In effect, this process will make the nation become strong and resistant in the long run.
In a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia, nation-building is not a smooth sailing journey as it involves the continuous and collaborative efforts of various parties that are sincere in transforming the country to become more dynamic and successful.
The strength of the nation should not be perceived merely in numbers depicting its wealth and global economic rank.
The strength ultimately lies in the ability of the people to stay united and embrace the diversities that shape the very essence of its creation.
To realise this goal, the Government and civil society entities must be willing to take up a strategic alliance. Such an alliance is actually an evolving process where both actors gradually come to identify the points of consensus and priorities for common actions.
by Enizahura Abdul Aziz.
Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=ikimviews&file=/2012/10/30/columnists/ikimviews/12228139&sec=IKIM%20Views