Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1 Malaysia : A new dawn or a new frown?

The slogan “1 Malaysia. Rakyat Didahulukan. Pencapaian Diutamakan” was disclosed to the Malaysian public on the first day our Prime Minister was confirmed as the sixth Malaysian prime minister on the 3rd April lalu. However, despite bringing relieve and hope to fellow Malaysian, this new concept invoked confusion and chaos by inviting a whole range of ideas, lending to some criticism by the former prime minister and the opposition that 1 Malaysia is merely than a political slogan rather than a watershed approach in managing the different races and their aspirations.

According to the Malaysian Insider (Wednesday, 12th August 2009), nearly 40 percent of Malaysians do not know what 1 Malaysia means while the remaining 60 percent was conjuring up their own interpretations of the famed slogan. Majority of the latter group believed that it meant unity among races, and the rest thought it meant fairness and equality among all races.
Yet many also believed that this was just one of many political gimmick that the government coughs out to promote their own political agenda. And then there is some, especially from the Bumiputra or Malay communities who feared that the 1Malaysia concept spelled doom and the end of their special privileges while for many non-Malays, they had hoped that this would meant that they will no longer be treated as a second class citizen in their own country anymore and could start to enjoy the same equallity and fairness as given to their Malay counter-part.

It is not surprising that many Malaysians are in the dazzle for this new concept as this is not the first, nor the last of many propoganda created by our beloved leaders. Since Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad days, the public have been in constant bombardment of slogans and propagandas aimed at promising the public a better future ahead, both in social and economical for all Malaysian and to strengthen unity among Malaysians. Examples of the buffet of solgans in the past includes Malaysia Boleh, Gemilang, Cemerlang dan Terbilang, Bersih, Cekap, Amanah and so on. However, all this have only managed to distract and falsely led the public into a false hope and rhetoric promises in order to gain popularity and support of the people. For instance, despite all the promises of fairness and equality louded by the government in their many slogans, many non-bumiputra especially the Indian communities are often sidelined in most goverment policies and incentives despite having a continuos significant decline in their community's economy and social progression compared to other races in Malaysia. Then there is the numerous allegations of corruptions by goverment officials whether it is from the civil service, police, army or so on such as the recent A.Kugan fiasco or the PKFZ scandal that occured recently. Not to forget, the famous "Malaysia Boleh" slogan now have becomed synonymous to nonsensical and foolhardy attempts to break a record or to prove our country's capability in the eyes of the world (such as hitchhiking a Malaysian dentist on a Russian rocket to space for over $1 million dollars. Evidently, based on these examples, it is no wonder that the public seem to have confused or doubt this concept to have any effect in any way.

Thus, Najib and his administration have a obviously long way to expain the concept to the Malaysian public. According to him the 1 Malaysia concept was initially designed to help cultivate unity among the multiracial community in Malaysia.YB Najib further elaborated that the 1 Malaysia respects the identities of all ethnic groups and is focused on three main principles — nationalistic principles of the Federal Constitution, Rukun Negara and social justice.
For many, this is just another lengthy excuse and immensely differs from the expectations raised with the slogan 1 Malaysia. For the Prime Minister, the 1 Malaysia means that the Malaysian citizens should stand, think and act as a single Malaysian race while taking into account the wishes and desires of all the ethnic groups in our country. He added that the consept of 1 Malaysia also means acting by stepping out of the ethnic barrier that has been practiced by Malaysian so far.

Whether this is true or not lies entirely in the hands of the Malaysian public as it is for them that this slogan is meant for them to comprehend, believe and ultimately practice. Hopefully, this concept would live up to its expectations and benefit all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. Live long and prosper, fellow Malaysians!!

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