Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in Parliament yesterday in his reply as Education Minister that he supported the Prime Minister’s message of 1Malaysia and instead accused me of trying to drive a wedge between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and him.
“Ipoh Timur has questioned my commitment to the concept of 1 Malaysia. For Ipoh Timur’s information, 1 Malaysia, which was created by the prime minister, is a pure idea aimed at strengthening racial unity which has been the basis of our strength as a nation.
“Unity reflected by 1 Malaysia is not a form of assimilation where one’s identity is erased and replaced with one identity. It is also not a concept which rejects the special rights of the Malays as propagated by Ipoh Timur through the concept of Malaysian Malaysia and lately Middle Malaysia.
“My relationship with the prime minister is very close and 1 Malaysia has the support of the nation. The allegations made are aimed at weakening Barisan Nasional. I am confident that Barisan Nasional lawmakers clearly understand the concept of 1 Malaysia.”
Muhyiddin said that 1Malaysia respects the nation’s constitution and accused me of questioning the special rights of the Malays.
“Ipoh Timur is questioning the special rights of the Malays and rejects the differences in identity of the different races and the spirit of the constitution which does not reflect real commitment to the concept of 1 Malaysia.”
Clearly, Muhyiddin believes in the maxim that the best defence is offence, as he had completely evaded the three questions, which I had described as the three acid tests as to whether he really supports Najib’s 1Malaysia concept and has the 1Malaysia DNA, namely;
Whether he agrees to the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia;
Is he prepared to declare that the basis of 1Malaysia is “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia” and not “ketuanan Melayu”; and
Is he prepared to endorse the objective of 1Malaysia as defined by the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap to create a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion or region second.
Whether he is prepared to declare that the basis of the Malaysian Constitution is “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia” and not “ketuanan Melayu”.
As a result of evasion and prevarication by Umno Youth leader, Khairy Jamaluddin during the exchange when I spoke in the debate on the Royal Address, I had framed a fourth question:
Instead, Muhyiddin had gone on the offensive to launch a baseless and scurrilous attack on me, alleging that that I “questioned Malay special rights and rejected the differences in identity of the different races and the spirit of the constitution”.
Muhyiddin must be a very desperate politician that he had to make such a baseless charge, as I had refuted the allegation that I opposed Article 153 of the Constitution.
Is Muhyiddin making the allegation because I had declared that I am Malaysian first and Chinese second, and he is evading my challenge to him to similarly declare that he is Malaysian first and Malay second?
Isn’t Muhiddin’s refusal to make such a declaration the best proof that he does not fully support Najib’s 1Malaysia concept?
Let me remind Muhyiddin what the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Roadmap said about the goal of 1Malaysia – “to make Malaysia ….a greater nation: a nation where, it is hoped, every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second and where the principles of 1Malaysia are woven into the economic, political and social fabric of society”.
During the debate in Parliament, I said this formulation of the goal of 1Malaysia is exactly the goal of Malaysian Malaysia and Middle Malaysia, proof that Malaysian Malaysia and Middle Malaysia are fully centred on the fundamental basis of the Constitution upon which this nation was founded when we achieved Merdeka in 1957.
In refusing to respond to my challenge to declare that he is Malaysian first and Malay second, isn’t Muhyiddin demonstrating that he does not fully support the 1Malaysia goal?
I challenge Muhyiddin to explain how my four questions on the acid tests of 1Malaysia had “questioned Malay special rights and rejected the differences in identity of the different races and the spirit of the constitution”?
Muhyiddin should resign as Deputy Prime Minister if he is not prepared to set the lead for all UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders and declare that in accordance with the 1Malaysia goal, he is Malaysian first and Malay second.