Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1Malaysia – Where is it heading to?.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak first announced “1Malaysia”, I felt that it excited a large segment of the Rakyat. I was certainly excited as the slogan, if carried to its most logical conclusion could be a practical, far-reaching guide to the achievement of a true 1Nation. It can actually be vision for the government and the Rakyat to achieve.

1Malaysia is something that all the Rakyat can identify with. Most of the Rakyat had been living in peace since independence and before. Malaysia had the ugly experience of May 13, 1969 but then again, it was the result of politics rather than real hatred and enmity between the different ethnic origins. Even then, I recall that while a few of the participants in May 13 were going amuck, the bigger majority were shielding and helping each other out despite ethnic differences.

Today, however, the ghost of May 13 is unknown to the younger generation even though some irresponsible and uncreative older generation politicians keep trying to play it up. While the citizenry landscape has changed, many of the politicians’ mindset has not. There has been so many inter-marriages that it becomes almost ludicrous and cruel to differentiate Malaysians based on ethnic origins. To take the example of the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who married a non-Malay (biologically as constitutionally, she may be a Malay)

In mixed marriages, while all are cousins at home, the moment they step into society, they are separated into Malay, Chinese, Indian, etc category by the adults who insist on laws and unwritten policies to this effect. It may take a while for these adults in power to realize that they will have to answer to God on the day of Judgement for infusing division from childhood purely for political ends.

The younger generation is generally embarrassed by the older generations’ insistence on ethnic segregation and ethnic based policies and speeches. Further, 50 years of Merdeka has also shown that it is untrue that solidarity based on ethnic similarity per se guarantees well-being. Even religious similarity is not a guarantee that the person who belongs to the same religious grouping with you will not oppress you. Many leaders have betrayed their own ethnic groupings many times over while others have assisted people from different ethnic groupings. Greed and treachery is not the monopoly of any one ethnic group. Good people and bad people are found everywhere.

The dramatic change in the political landscape has also educated the people that ethnicity is a wrong premise to proceed in the quest of justice for all. Today, you have almost equal number of participants from different ethnic origins on both sides of the political divide. The “Malay, Chinese or Indian political card” is now frowned upon as racist and an affront to human dignity (“perjuangan yang tidak bermaruah”).

In the above backdrop, 1Malaysia appears to give hope to the common folk that finally we can take the necessary real and bold steps to truly live as Malaysians under the Malaysian sun. This is a real hope and because I think a large segment of the Rakyat truly believes in this, it is for now a double edged sword for the Barisan Nasional Government. If Najib understands what this slogan means for the people (it does not matter what it means to him), and he can deliver it, then he will be remembered as the “Bapa Malaysia” and his BN government may get more votes at PRU13. However, if he does not live up to the Rakyat’s expectation of 1Malaysia, then, the Rakyat will find it hard to ever trust the BN again. I will so go so far to say that 1Malaysia is, in a sense an extremely powerful slogan.

I like the slogan. To me, it is the right guiding principle of governance in multi-ethnic and multi religious Malaysia. I think it can be utilized to bring forth radical and fundamental changes that will benefit the Rakyat in the long-run. It is due to this that the moment Najib announced the slogan, I began to write about what 1Malaysia should be about. I think I started writing it on my blog even before Najib could complete his eight principles of 1Malaysia on his blog!

I sincerely wish Najib all the strength and courage to actualize 1Malaysia into a reality that could make us feel truly Malaysian. To do this, the disbelievers should be removed and he must put in place people who will support him in making 1Malaysia a reality and not just a passing political slogan like “Islam Hadhari”.



Walski69 said...

Peace, sir...

To-date, 1Malaysia has been very little more than empty sloganeering, with factions within Najib's very own party being the ones most likely to derail the ideals of a truly united nation.

As usual, politics takes precedence over ideals, and therefore 1Malaysia becomes different things to different people, based on their politico-ideological DNA.

But as you rightly mentioned, the concept of 1Malaysia is threatening to a generation of politicians, young and old (political generations span across biological ones, IMHO), who try to cling on to precepts that can only take us to deeper depths, and not higher heights.

I am however, hopeful, that we may one day have a united face. That said, I do not think that BN (in particular UMNO) will be the one to take us there. 1Malaysia, as I understand it, is not something the ethno-nationalist entities are willing to embrace any time soon.

tolokminda said...

1Malaysia? Going to where? Dustbin? Nay... The drain...Uh uh... Toilet? More likely.

Mac said...

For as long as we have vernacular schools, i dont see 1Malaysia can be realised that easily. Children nowadays are thought to differentiate peers by race and ethnicity. I attended the national school (sekolah kebangsaan), and to think about it now, back then we mixed with the malays, chinese and indians very well. But when we went to secondary school, i realised that students from vernacular schools would stick to themselves and not mingle with others. It was as if they didnt know how to communicate with students from different backgrounds. In fact, i remember a Malay student who went to a Chinese school, and when we were in from 1 (secondary school), he did not even know how to mingle with the Malays! It took him 2 years to speak to other Malays in the Pendidikan Islam class!. Maybe its time to revamp our education system.

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