Tuesday 5 June 2012

Undermining 1 Malaysia — The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 5 — If there is any reason why Malaysians can’t seem to warm up to the 1 Malaysia concept, look no further than Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim’s comments today.

The Information, Communications and Culture Minister spoke at the 1 Malaysia Social Media Convention in Selangor that Malays must unite for a Barisan Nasional (BN) win in the upcoming general election to ensure their rights are not taken away by the opposition.

Fine. He is from Umno. He can say that and it is well within his right. But at a 1 Malaysia event? Really?

Where are the fine words to push a concept that promotes national unity? When Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office, he launched the 1 Malaysia concept because the country seemed divided along racial lines. Much to his credit, 1 Malaysia became the byword that even his political foes grudgingly accepted in a backhanded way.

But not many of Najib’s Cabinet colleagues have warmed up to the idea, well not at public events anyway. Or events supported with public funds.

Today, Rais said Malays “must understand who they are” and “know their rights”.

“The reason we lost so many seats in the 2008 election is because the Malays have forgotten themselves,” he said.

“For a community to stay in power, they must understand politics of numbers, which states when many come together, we can determine something,” he added.

Of course, Rais can say all that. At an Umno event, where its leaders appear to want to drive a wedge between the Malays and those not from the dominant community. How long more before we get leaders who want to promote everything Malaysian, rather than narrow racial lines?

Or do we wait for gems from leaders like Rais who also told the Malays today not to worry over the latest survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center which found support for BN among the Chinese was waning.

“Though recent polls show that Chinese support is low, don’t worry. As long as Malays practise politics of numbers, we will benefit,” he added.

Rais is a well-respected minister with years of experience and that is why it is disappointing that such talk should come from him. Especially when his boss is criss-crossing the country with a slew of 1 Malaysia-stickered initiatives to get the people together and be 1 Malaysia.

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