Congrats Nazri for being the first in Cabinet to declare he is Malaysian first and race second – Ministers who refuse to make such declaration should be dropped from Cabinet

Congrats to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for being the first in Cabinet to declare that he is Malaysian first Malay second in his open letter in reply to Awang Selamat of Utusan Malaysia (The Malaysian Insider).

Why it has taken more than six months since my challenge to Cabinet Ministers during the debate on the Royal Address in Parliament on March 18, 2010 to declare that they are Malaysian first and race second is really beyond me, as it demonstrates their total lack of support, commitment and political will to make Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy work and suceeed.

I had at the time posed three simple tests of 1Malaysia to determine whether all the Cabinet Minsiters were sincerely and seriously committed to Najib’s 1Malaysia, viz:

• Whether he or she agrees to the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia;

• Is he or she prepared to declare that the basis of 1Malaysia is “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia” and not “ketuanan Melayu”; and

• Is he or she 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.

This is what I said in Parliament on that day:

“Are Najib, Muhyiddin and all the Umno leaders prepared to stand up and declare that they are Malaysian first and Malay second?

“I declare that I am Malaysian first and Chinese second. Is every Cabinet Minister prepared to make a similar declaration?

“How many Cabinet Ministers, including the DPM, have the 1Malaysia DNA and able to pass these three simple 1Malaysia tests?”

During the debate on the Royal Address in March this year, I had asked whether the Prime Minister has got his entire Cabinet, including the Deputy Prime Minister, with him on the same page on what 1Malaysia means.

This was because the utterances and actions of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin were most inimical to the realisation of the 1Malaysia slogan and concept, including:

• His defense of the racist “brain washing” and indoctrination on “ketuanan Melayu” by Biro Tata Negara despite criticisms and expose of its racist, divisive and seditious content for the past two decades;

• His attempt to mitigate the Nasir Safar outrage claiming that it could have been “a slip of the tongue” when Najib’s senior political aide labelled Indians and Chinese in Malaysia as “pendatang”, alleging that the Chinese came as beggars and the Chinese women as “prostitutes”; claimed that Umno was solely responsible in drafting the constitution sidelining the contribution of MCA and MIC; and issued the threat to revoke the citizenship of those vocal about the subject cap for SPM examination.

• His conspicuous silence at the JAKIM (Islamic Development Department of the Prime Minister’s Office) forum at the end of January for 800 civil servants tantamount to an insurrection against Najib’s 1Malaysia concept – with government speakers making inflammatory and incendiary speeches, blaming Christians for provoking Muslim anger by challenging the ban on the use of the word “Allah” and Umno/BN politicians for failing to defend Islam, with one speaker suggesting that a repeat of the May 13 riots was possible if the Christians, whom he accused of practising “extremism” did not “back down”, uttering the threat: “Who knows, there might be a Feb. 13?”

• His conspicuous silence when the racialist rantings of Umno executive secretary Datuk Abdul Rauf Yusoh at an Umno club function in London earlier this month was exposed; and

• His hamfisted attempt to aid and abet the inflammatory and incendiary campaign by Umno-controlled media like Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, government television and radio stations, playing the race and religious cards to viciously and falsely paint Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government as “anti-Malay” and “anti-Islam”.

During my speech in Parliament I posed two questions point-blank to Muhyiddin: firstly, was he aware that the Najib administration’s sincerity and seriousness about 1Malaysia was under great test in Penang because of the vicious and sustained exploitation of the race and religious card by Umno media and agents in the conspiracy to defame the Penang Chief Minister and Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?

Secondly, if the people of Penang regarded the 1Malaysia concept as fake and hypocritical, how could he expect the people of Sabah and Sarawak and the rest of Malaysians to have much confidence in the slogan?

I stressed that as Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin should be in the forefront to secure the co-operation of all MPs and political parties outside the Barisan Nasional fold to make a success of the 1Malaysia campaign, on the ground that it is a national issue and not a party agenda unless the 1Malaysia concept was merely an Umno and Barisan Nasional gimmick.

I had also asked why the Najib Cabinet was full of Ministers who were quite skeptical about the 1Malaysia concept treating it as nothing more than political theatre not to be taken seriously?

I had asked: “Who are the Ministers in the Najib Cabinet who have the 1Malaysia DNA? I do not see anyone. No wonder neither Muhyiddin nor the other Cabinet Ministers comport themselves with any conviction that they are the standard-bearers of the 1Malaysia slogan and concept.”

Muhyiddin subsequently proved my criticisms right when on March 31, he responded to my challenge and declared that he is “Malay first” and then only a Malaysian.

He said: “I am Malay first! But being Malay does not mean you are not Malaysian. It is not a race issue.”

Accusing me of trying to drive a wedge between him and Najib, he said:

“The question of 1 Malaysia should not be brought up. When a leader talks about the interest of his own race, it does not mean he doesn’t support 1 Malaysia. 1Malaysia is based on the Constitution.

“How can I say I’m Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me and say that it is not proper.

“There is nothing wrong in leaders fighting for their own race. Don’t tell me Kit Siang does not fight for the Chinese?”

He even challenged me to declare that I was Malaysian first and Chinese second, until he was told by reporters that I had already made such a declaration – in Parliament during the debate on the Royal Address on 18th March.

And for six long months, not a single Cabinet Minister dare to declare publicly that he or she is a Malaysian first and race second, until Nazri today!

Although it has taken more than six months for Nazri to break ranks with Muhyiddin for the former to declare that he is Malaysian first and Malay second, in accordance with the objective of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy, it is better late than never.

With the example set by Nazri, all 1Malaysia-minded Ministers, should declare their stand to demonstrate to Malaysians that the 1Malaysia policy is taken seriously by Ministers themselves.

In fact, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and Sabah and Sarawak Ministers should rush to declare themselves to be Malaysian first and race second or be dropped from the Cabinet.

I would suggest that the last one of the four MCA Ministers and seven Deputy Ministers to make such a 1Malaysia declaration should be sacked from the Cabinet!

  1. #1 by BoycottLocalPapers on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 11:01 am

    Say what you want about Nazri but in my opinion, Nazri is currently the only non-racist guy in the government, UMNO & Barisan Nasional. We must remember that this guy Nazri is at loggerheads with that the most corrupt living person in the universe – Mahathir. That is what I admire about Nazri.

    I made the same comment at this blog about Zaid Ibrahim when he was still a minister under Pak Lah but sadly my comment was deleted.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 11:03 am

    ///Being civil to the opposition is the right thing to do in a democracy because just like me they are also elected by the people…And yes I am a Malaysian first and Malay next. Does any bigot have a problem with that?./// – Mohamad Nazri bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz.

    That’s a statesman like view publicly expressed.

    There may be many times he tended to shoot from its mouth but at least one has to give it to him that operating under the political/racist milieu Nazri has more guts than rest of them – not just by declaring he’s Malaysian first but also to cross word with TDM and to challenge Utusan if Najib or TDM was the boss!

    Maybe in part his education & exposure. He was in premier school in 1960s (VI) (Victoria Institution) – a school footballer, then went to UK for law. He used to mix with all races. Not so indoctrinated by BTN’s values!

  3. #3 by Godfather on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 11:10 am

    I would not go so far as to say that Nazri is “the only non-racist guy in government”. I know of a number of ministers and deputy ministers who share the view of Nazri, but who do not have the guts to say it openly for fear of reprisals, and obviously lacking in conviction that moderates will win over the hardliners.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 11:13 am

    //Ministers who refuse to make such declaration should be dropped from Cabinet//

    Including the pm who so far had not done so?

  5. #5 by Loh on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 11:28 am

    ///“How can I say I’m Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me and say that it is not proper.

    “There is nothing wrong in leaders fighting for their own race. Don’t tell me Kit Siang does not fight for the Chinese?”///– Muhyiddin.

    Why should Malays shun him for declaring that he is first the citizen of the country and then he is classified based on the racial origin? Without the country, the race does not live. So, the country comes first. In making those remarks, Muhyiddin is only concerned about how Malays think about him, but not how other Malaysians. He cares about how Malays think about him because he cares about Malay’s votes, or rather the votes of UMNO members in the party election. Muhyiddin still considers the votes of other races unimportant in the election where non-Malays do vote. Muhyiddin knows that unlike Mamakthir who in 1969 lost in Kota Setar Selatan where 90% of the voters were Malays, the election process after 1969 included bags of postal voters, that can be included as the case requires. As Muhyiddin is so concerned about getting Malay votes to the extent that he cannot even have an independent opinion of whether the country or the race comes first, he can be expected to pander to what he perceives to be what Malays want and choose to become racist, just to get votes. It is sad that the person who is a heart beat away from the top position is just an opportunistic racist.

    Kit Siang fights against racial discrimination and so non-Malays support his struggles. It is racist of Muhyiddin to equate fighting against racial discrimination as fighting for Chinese. Moreover not only Chinese, other races including Malays do not agree with UMNO’s racial discrimination policies.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 11:32 am

    One has to appreciate the fact that Nazri latest stand for 1 Malaysia and against narrow racism is likely made after 1 Malaysia’s architect PM Najib’s and Tengku Adnan’s recent U turn relating to Perkasa.

    This means that he is prepared to defend that position and bear the flak from reactionaries against reform towards a more pluralistic Malaysia even if no other ministers of same view are likely to stand up for it in support after the BN’s president/secretary general’s spectacular U turns.

    Nazri deserves to be congratulated – and respected – for this exhibition of leadership for the right cause than to be cowered by the strong forces for the wrong one!

  7. #7 by artemisios on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 12:15 pm

    great job nazri. great job.

  8. #8 by undertaker888 on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 12:52 pm

    i will reserve my comment for another week…there maybe some flop-flip later on, like the PM’s flip-flop.

    they changed states too often. sometimes they behaved like AND gates, sometimes OR gates, at times NAND gates. it is confusing.

  9. #9 by undertaker888 on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 1:03 pm

    Mr Lim,
    Can all the PR’s MPs do this as well? So far you are the only we hear “I Malaysian 1st, Chinese 2nd”.

    What about the rest of the PR’s MPs? Like from PAS and PKR? If all the PR’s MPs can declare in unison “I this 1st, and that 2nd”, this shows PRs unity and singlemindedness.

  10. #10 by wanderer on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 1:09 pm

    Even a “political clown” has better sense than a lot of donkeys in the UMNO cabinet! ….yet, these shameless donkeys draw their incomes and benfits from the nation.

  11. #11 by hpcp on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 1:33 pm

    This reminded me of the cowardly ex-Penang Chief Minister, Koh Tsu Koon in your article
    “Koh Tsu Koon under thumb of Umno – cannot and dare not declare “Malaysian first Chinese second”

    He is really useless and hopeless

  12. #12 by dagen on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 1:34 pm

    Ho ho ho. Will we see a second “Zaid Ibrahim”? Tell you what. The third “zaid ibrahim” will be the hairy monkey. Of course kuli is as good as out of umno already. So when the hairy monkey leaves, umno will be truly and completely rotten to the core without anyone inside who is bold enough to stand up for the future of the country and for their conscience (at least) once in a while.

  13. #13 by dcasey on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 2:35 pm

    #5 by Loh is absolutely right when he said “Why should Malays shun him (the Moo guy) for declaring that he is first the citizen of the country and then he is classified based on the racial origin? Without the country, the race does not live. So, the country comes first.”

    So you see, the intention (or meaning “mens rea” in legal jargon) to plunder the country dry is clear from these UMNO goons lead by this Moo guy. They are ever-ready to declare themselves Malay 1st so that they could continue with their strangle-hold on the country and putting it at their mercy under the guise of their ketuanan policy. These UMNO goons are the actual traitors of Malaysia because they put the country always as secondary. To these goons they will infer this beautiful and resourceful country of ours as Malaysai, that’s why they declare themselves Malay first and not the country first. Their head is of course full of sai. That’s also why whatever they do, especially this Moo guy, is never in the act of putting the country’s welfare or interest 1st….but instead always second…or even last. I’m sure everybody reading this will know what I mean, so I don’t need to list them (the things they have done).

    However, of course we also know that not evryone in UMNO thinks like Mr Moo. Maybe now only Mr Nazri feels he cannot tahan anymore and wish to break away from Mr Moo’s sai thinking. So let all Malaysians start counting and identifying the ministers as well as MPs (from both sides of the political divide) to declare that they are Malaysian 1st and not Malaysai first, shall we?

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 2:48 pm

    Whatever else he might be Nazri has been consistent in his public statements against racism. His latest Declaration of “Malaysian First and Race Second” was made AFTER U turns from the top have been made on whether to repudiate or engage/accommodate Perkasa.

    On the subject of “U Turns”, it is not only the rakyat seeking approximate racial equality frustrated by the “today Perkasa Ok, tomorrow not OK” U turns.

    I am sure that Perkasa is just as frustrated and confused as well because of not only U turns but also U turns to U- turns!

    Tengku Adnan (in response to criticism of his recent U turn) appears now to make another half way about-face change if what The New Straits Times reported on page 10 Prime News Sept 20th is accurate – Tengku Adnan reiterated (to quote) “that the party must distance itself from communal group like Perkasa…. This applied to any other NGOs. “I am still saying that we must distance ourselves from all non-governmental organizations that play the racial card… And this is not limited to Perkasa alone” (as if it were any consolation to it). “I agree that we must engage with all NGOs but they must support us and not harp on things that contradict us…Perkasa is just not doing the right thing and its destroying the nation’s harmony” he was reported to have commented.

    As I said, this is again a U Turn (distancing Perkasa) to the earlier U Turn (denying his first statement that UMNO dissociated from Perkasa).

    I don’t know, maybe the ruse is to confuse both contending sides with repeated U turns.

    At least Nazri states his case. We know so far where he stands where others sway from left to right and then right to left and back to nearer right again!

    It is interesting, and it remains to be seen whether if he takes such a lead to declare Malaysian First and Race Second, other ministers will follow, especially the BN Component politicians.

    They have so far been sacred to so as it would be run counter to the number 2’s stance and make him not right. But this Nazri does not seem to be bothered. Not that he is not aware of the implications and risks to his political position by taking public his position. If other Ministers follow Nazri to make the Malaysian First Race Second Declaration, it appears that they are following Nazri’s leadership than UMNO’s No. 1 & 2!

  15. #15 by Taxidriver on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 3:09 pm

    Congratulations to Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for your courage to say what other UNMO leaders dread to for fear of incuring the wrath of the ultra Malays. By your open declaration that you are Malaysian First, Malay Second, you have espoused Najib’s 1Malaysia Concept which is vital for Malaysia to become truely 1Nation, 1People which is pivotal in this era of Globalisation to ‘take on’ stiff competitions or be left behind.

    Personally, I am very proud of you ( so do many Malaysians, I believe ) for not disappointing me. I had been telling friends and acquaintances alike that you are about the only ”moderate UMNO minister” While it is true you at times you tend to shoot off your mouth, it is understandable because of who the people surrounding are.

    You dare to defy those who are overly unreasonable like Tun MM and those in Perkasa, risking you political career and, for that, I salute you.

    KJ is not prepared to make a ”death wish” to go after Perkasa. He is a coward, doing what is against his conscience. Datuk, you are different. You are rakyats’ RAMBO.

  16. #16 by monsterballssgoh on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 3:35 pm

    There is no doubt in my mind that Nazri is a true Malaysian.
    He will make a fine opposition politician in next GE.

  17. #17 by frankyapp on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 4:40 pm

    Najib should lead Umno,MCA and MIC to dissolve these parties and form a multi-racial entity to stop others from arguing that his 1Malaysia concept is not doable. And like Narzi also declare themselves Malaysian first and race second. Wow if they could do it,the political scenario would be bright and cool.However I think Najib needed a miracle to seeing it happened. I think it can happen but it won’t happen because of so and so.

  18. #18 by Comrade on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 5:22 pm

    It would be a waste of gutsy Nazri’s pep
    To try to achieve the 1Malaysia concept
    If he continues to remain a UMNO rep
    He should consider following ZI’s footsteps
    1Malaysia can only be realized by a change of government
    Come GE13, vote in PR for Malaysia’s future betterment

  19. #19 by dagen on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 5:53 pm

    Nothing to congratulate really. But of course he deserves a mighty huge “BRAVO”.

    Bravo Nazri. Bravo!

  20. #20 by boh-liao on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 6:07 pm

    Hold your horses, don’t praise him yet, too early, wait 4 d last nail on his coffin then judge

  21. #21 by vsp on Monday, 20 September 2010 - 10:57 pm

    Muhyiddin is a traitor to this country. This country is officially known as MALAYSIA worldwide and not Tanah Melayu. Tanah Melayu is long dead and gone. The Constitution states that Malaya together with
    Sabah and Sarawak (whose land masses were larger than Malaya and whose population were not Malay-majority) is MALAYSIA and recognizes the importance of every races to have a role in making Malaysia a viable country. The old feudalistic Tanah Melayu comprising of fragmented states in which the sultans and warlords were busy killing one another was abolished. The once powerful sultans were put in their proper places and they have to be aware of the interest of the country.

    But UMNO unfortunately has aspired to continue with the old feudalistic order. They have made mediocracy into the new mantra of rights and privileges and demonized meritocracy as the domain of racism and evilness.

    If Muhyiddin cannot prove that the Constitution is false then he should be deported to wherever he came from. Traitor!

  22. #22 by Joetan on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 - 11:07 am

    This makes me more convinced that Najib is the last Prime Minister from UMNO. Muhyiddin who is known for his racist stand will not be the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The formula of RAHMAN on the sequence of Prime Minister of Malaysia works. Its magic. No body dares to dispute it.

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