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1 Malaysia or Malaysian Malaysia?

Admittedly, we were wrong about 1Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak's slogan for his administration. It’s 1Malaysia, not One Malaysia. Notwithstanding the semantics, we are still quite in the dark about what it is but we know what it isn't. It isn't Malaysian Malaysia. In not so many words yesterday, the new Prime Minister drew broad strokes to describe the slogan where Malaysians must “stand together, think and act as one people under the 1Malaysia concept”. “Let’s break away from operating in the ethnic prism as we have done over so many years. This is also the meaning of the 1Malaysia concept.

"We must respect each other, go beyond tolerance and build trust among each other and build trust between various ethnic groups,” state news agency Bernama quoted Najib as saying. All well and good. So, basically a Bangsa Malaysia expounded under Vision 2020 by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. And after 52 years of independence, we are still seeking the elusive Malaysian among the country's citizens. But in concrete ways, what?

And in acting like one people, can the 1Malaysia concept set a time frame for the New Economic Policy markers that have strangled relations between the major races in Malaysia. To be Malaysian would mean such strictures disappear in time. It has to be said that no one questions the special rights and privileges of the ethnic communities from the Malay peninsula across to Sabah and Sarawak but quotas are not set in the Federal Constitution. In the Bernama report, it quoted Najib as saying he had explained the 1Malaysia concept to his Cabinet and reminded them “don’t be just concerned about your own community but strive to fulfil the high expectations of all Malaysians”. Indeed, the expectations are high. Freeing 13 ISA detainees with conditions has disappointed many. Lamenting that the loss of Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau to a certain section of the voters who did not reciprocate the ruling coalition's efforts is regrettable.

Two weeks have gone by since Najib assumed the highest office in the land but he is running short of time to explain in detail what his 1Malaysia is about apart from being his weblog's address. Otherwise, whatever support Barisan Nasional has left will evaporate rather than condense into the 1Malaysia his advisers have cleverly coined. 1Malaysia has to be real, it cannot be a catchall phrase that Malaysia Boleh turned out to be.


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