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1 Malaysia Not Same As “Malaysian Malaysia”

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on April 15, 2009


By Syed Azwan Syed Ali

KUALA LUMPUR, April (Bernama) — While many have welcomed the “1 Malaysia” concept espoused by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, some quarters are seen as creating confusion by saying that such a concept had been bandied about before.

They liken the concept to the “Malaysian Malaysia” ideology mooted by Lee Kuan Yew through the People’s Action Party, which led to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, while the concept continued to be promoted by DAP, the PAP offshoot.

Of late, some bloggers and media writers have made the “1 Malaysia” concept polemic, with them and their commentators asking whether this means that the government’s affirmative action will not be continued.

They are also seen as trying to question the special rights of the Malays and other Bumiputeras which are stipulated in the Federal Constitution, thus creating confusion in the public mind by portraying that the non-Bumiputeras are sidelined by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

“To allay such fears, the ‘1 Malaysia’ concept must be properly explained to the people as it involves governance,” said political analyst Dr Thock Ker Pong from Universiti Malaya when asked to comment on the matter.

So, what is the real motive of raising the issue? Is the “1 Malaysia” concept the same as the “Malaysian Malaysia” vision and how far has the public been confused with the concept?

Ethnic relations expert Prof Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin said the “Malaysian Malaysia” ideology was not the same as the “1 Malaysia” concept although both were aimed as building one nation.

“The ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ ideology espouses that all ethnic groups have equal rights with none having special rights. This is against the Federal Constitution,” he told Bernama, while referring to Article 153 of the Constitution which stipulates the special rights of the Malays and other Bumiputeras as well as the position and rights of the other races in the country.

He said the “Malaysian Malaysia” ideology was also irrelevant in the Malaysian context as the national unity process was not in the manner of “unity in uniformity” but “unity in diversity”.

Shamsul Amri, who is also the director of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies (Kita), said this national unity happened through four processes simultaneously — assimilation, accommodation, acculturation and amalgamation.

“Mixed marriage, where a non-Muslim intending to marry a Muslim must convert to Islam, and which is most common in Sabah and Sarawak, is the best example of the assimilation process.

“As for the accommodation process, it can be seen from the festival ‘open house’ which is attended by all races, while acculturation is a way of life in Malaysia.

“Hence, it is not surprising to see a Chinese wearing a ‘baju Melayu’, a Malay wearing a cheongsam or an Indian wearing ‘baju kurung’ in Malaysia through the borrowing of each other’s culture,” said the anthropology professor.

He said the amalgamation process or the fusion of cultures could be seen in the form of dance, such as the “Machinda” dance which combined Malay, Chinese and Indian dance movements, now known collectively as the dance medley.

Shamsul Amri said the clear structural differences like in race and religion, as well as regional differences and the position of the country’s seven Malay rulers did not make it possible for the “Malaysian Malaysia” concept to be implemented.

“We are also a federalist and not a unitary state like France, Germany or Japan where the unity process took place through uniformity,” he said.

Najib in his maiden speech as prime minister, had on April 3 urged the people to work together to effect a major transformation in the country with no group feeling that they have been sidelined.

Political analysts opined that confusion over the slogan, “1 Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.” would not arise if it was explained in totality and not separately as “1 Malaysia” only.

“1 Malaysia should be understood by everybody,” said social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who also stressed that the formation of “Bangsa Malaysia” should be based on the Rukun Negara and Federal Constitution.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had introduced the “Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah” (Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy) concept when he was prime minister, and “Work With Me, Not For Me’ by his successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

However, another political analyst, Assoc Prof Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff, said the government must prove that it was putting into practice the new concept it preached by effecting major changes for the betterment of the people and country.

“If there are no changes, the concept will just be a meaningless political slogan,” said Mohammad Agus, who is also a political science lecturer at UKM.


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