1 Malaysia – A blurred and confused concept

By Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
November 30, 2010

NOV 30 — 1 Malaysia was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on September 16, 2008. It is now over two years since that announcement but till today no one is clear of what 1 Malaysia is all about.

According to the 1 Malaysia website which is the personal website of Najib, it is stated that: “1 Malaysia is intended to provide a free and open forum to discuss the things that matter deeply to us as a nation. It provides a chance to express and explore the many perspectives of our fellow citizens. What makes Malaysia unique is the diversity of our peoples. 1 Malaysia’s goal is to preserve and enhance this unity in diversity which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future.”

And with that mission statement, a slogan was also created — “People first, performance now.”

The stress is on unity but there is no forward-looking objective as to what the future of Malaysia and Malaysians will be. Will there be a Malaysian nation or will the country plod on in status quo? Without a long-term objective on how the future will be, it will be difficult for all communities in Malaysia to work together. Each will simply continue to be inward looking and try to preserve their own interests.

The 1 Malaysia booklet stresses civic consciousness which should be included as a syllabus in schools. But regrettably in some school texts children are already taught to be racial in character, teaching them to identify the racial group they belong to.

This was not the case during the colonial days. The racial aspect was never emphasised and thus all were treated as one and all believed they were one. The racial aspect never surfaced at all. Even teachers were never identified according to their ethnic group.

We are now told that that unity and harmony has been presumably lost due to policies that were implemented by the government itself.

We have to start all over again, from the beginning. We now have to inculcate values that will create unity and harmony in the country. After more than 50 years of independence, we are now told that we have to practise values that will instil unity and harmony among the people, in order to achieve progress.

If truly unity and harmony is to be achieved it is imperative that the current structure has to be set anew. All the elements that have caused the disunity have to be got rid of. Very forward-looking and bold measures have to be adopted, and a no-nonsense approach.

But will the government be brave enough to do this?

After two years into 1 Malaysia, elements of fear abound, creating tensions and suspicions. There is nervousness in the air. Unity has to be based on equality. If there is a feeling that some sections of the population are not enjoying fully what the country has to offer, then that unity will not be a reality.

It is significant to note that even among the members of the Cabinet; there are divergent views on unity. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin has again and again stressed on the unity of the Malays as a prerequisite and to him, he is Malay first and whatever else comes after. In the case of Minister Datuk Nazri Aziz , he proudly says that he is Malaysian first while another minister has questioned the level of patriotism of the non-Malays. In such an atmosphere, can the 1 Malaysia concept take root and achieve the unity that the nation and its people now crave for.

The intention is noble, but the objectives and goals of 1 Malaysia have to be spelt out clearly. And there must be proper follow-through to achieve these objectives and goals. This has not happened and instead each community is looking towards creating unity within itself.

The Malays, for whatever reason, are afraid to lose what they have not possessed. And in forcefully demanding that this apparition of unity among themselves be retained has caused the others to feel suspicious. Thus the chasm and division among the races has become wider.

Even during the recent Umno general assembly, none of the delegates had come out forcefully to defend the 1 Malaysia concept, a brainchild of their president-cum-the prime minister. Most felt that 1 Malaysia would threaten their economic and political interest.

It does not augur well. The country cannot progress to be a truly united nation and a high-income nation if there exists impediments to achieving this progress.

Even the mainstream media, controlled and owned by the government parties, have not been of help. Some tend to foster division rather than unity. This should not have been allowed at all but unfortunately they have been given carte blanche to behave in whatever way they like.

If ever there actually exists a desire to achieve 1 Malaysia, several bold steps need to be taken. The BN government should try to amalgamate all the parties in the coalition and form them into a single non-racial political party. Thus politics of race can be weeded out. It has been more than 50 years that the BN is in government; no marked effort has ever been made to eliminate race politics.

Laws and Acts that impede the achievement of 1 Malaysia have to be repealed, thus giving more freedom and democracy to the people. There should be free flow of information, so that the people will be more knowledgeable of what is happening in the country.

There should be complete democratisation of all institutions and meritocracy should become all important for achieving success.

Naturally, these first steps need to be implemented, negative elements scrapped before new, innovative and visionary steps are implemented.

1 Malaysia cannot be done through patch work. As it is the ingredients for the cake have yet to be sourced and already icings have been made.

1 Malaysia clinics and such likes will not create 1 Malaysia that is permanent and progressive in nature. Bold and progressive measures will.

* Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is the author of “The Unmaking of Malaysia” and a former general manager of state news agency Bernama. He was also the press secretary to Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the then-Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 5:15 pm

    Whereas Badawi administration can be described as ‘great vision, poor execution’, Najib’s administration is just corny slogan. At least Badawi intended to deliver, Najib never had any intention to deliver.

    There may have been a lot of friction during Badawi reign but at least the vision was clear. Najib never had any intention to make it clear and never had any intention to deliver. What is so surprising most people have no idea what it is about? He knew he could fool some people all the time, he actually got away with fooling all the people some of the time, but he did not realize that what he was doing was trying to fool all the people a lot of the time. He really thought we were that pathetic.

    Najib’s 1Malaysia is about fooling all the people quite a lot of time. We are not that pathetic.

  2. #2 by born in Malaya on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 10:16 pm

    Umno has come out with all the racist policies since 1969, things like : bumis and non-bumis /special rights and quota system, these are all the racist policies that have categorized the Malaysian citizens into different groups and levels of citizenship. Umnos’ racist policies are the main reason why there are such a great disunity in Malaysia.
    When they almost lost the government in the last election as people has rejected their racist political policies, they are worried and this is the main reason why Najib came out with (1Malaysia).
    Slogan to call for unity and citizen’s support but the racial policies has not change , not even a little bit.
    If we want to see a racist free government, vote for PKR.
    Umnos really treat all non-bumis as the stupidest human in this world, but people have awoken from their sleep.
    Like the chinese saying: People behind the disunity is UMNO and Devil behind the disunity is also UMNO.

  3. #3 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 10:30 pm

    If only the majority has been sincerely wise enough and accepted to be equally as one to better malaysia,we should be much be proud of ourself than now.What we have now?Only lacking behind with everyday pass in every aspect of humankind progress comparing to other countries.Beh tahan!

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 1:59 am

    Was dis 1 thingy NR’s idea or d she-PM’s idea?
    Now d she-PM busy entertaining kids n other dubious 1st ladies – where $$ come fr?

  5. #5 by monsterball on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 4:32 am

    It means nothing…..just a slogan to Malaysians for votes.
    Najib is a born liar.

  6. #6 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 9:14 am

    definition of ketuanan & wangMalaysia umno
    1) selamat pagi tuan
    2) sudah makan tuan?
    3) sila duduk tuan
    4) kopi, tuan?
    5) sungguh terror tuan
    6) perempuan?…atau lelaki, tuan?

    these are their feel good factor. other than that zero substance. another feel good factor for them. they would hire the gwailos to work for them at high price just to show off.

    majority people on the streets just despise their arrogance.

  7. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 9:33 am

    1Malaysia is neither blur nor confused.

    It’s outright BLUFF!

    Aiya, can’t you all see that it is an attempt to hoodwink all Malaysians.

    All the sloganeering and propaganda is outright sugar-coated poison for Mlaysians.

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 9:41 am

    1M’sia is actually Malaysian Malaysia (MM LeeKY should know, DAP should know)
    NR n UmnoB/BN paiseh malu 2 admit it n now tried 2 con rakyat by masquerading their ultra-ketuanan UmnoB Malay practices under 1M’sia

  9. #9 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 9:50 am

    1 Malaysia remains a stupid slogan as long as Malaysian remain divided into BUMIPUTRAS and NON BUMIPUTRAS! What’s more, physically, you can see 2 MALAYSIA – East and West!

  10. #10 by dagen on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 12:16 pm

    NEP was never a pro-malay policy strictly. It was supposed to be a poverty eradication measure. But of course umno hijacked it purportedly in the interest of protecting and furthering the interest of malays. In reality we all know that NEP was turned into an umnoputras only policy. In other words NEP has morphed into quite something else. Anyway it has by now outlasted its utility and also its originally proclaimed expiry date. In spite of that umnoputras fought on for its eternal continuance (for their own greedy interest but in the name of malays). And they are now arguing a new justification to morph the policy yet again. Property ownership inequality seems to be what they are trying to raise. This issue is both a no brainer and non-starter. Do they expect non-malays who purchase an apartment, say, do so jointly with a malay with a minimum 30 undivided share? Oh dear! Or do they expect developers to set aside 30% of their developments for malays only (instead of the now 10%)? OMG! Or are they saying that in future all non-malay properties would be acquired by the umno gobermen upto the 30% share? Phaaark!

  11. #11 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 12:59 pm

    The 1Malaysia concept is no more than old wine in a new bottle. It is still a concept based on the stink of institutional racism.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Wednesday, 1 December 2010 - 2:35 pm

    Whatever happened to the proposed “1Malaysia toilets” in schools where hms, teachers and students share the same toilet as proposed by a umno minister?

  13. #13 by ktteokt on Saturday, 4 December 2010 - 2:31 pm

    Had Najis lost both his INDEX FINGERS, there won’t be any 1 MALAYSIA!!!!! Unless of course he replaces it with his MIDDLE FINGERS!!!!

You must be logged in to post a comment.