Najib slithers around 1Malaysia but offers no answers still
By Wong Choon Mei
Since assuming office on April 3, Prime Minister Najib Razak has tried to rally popular support with his ‘unifying’ 1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now slogan, but after nearly three months, none of his countrymen including himself is any wiser as to what it means and how it can take the country forward.
On Monday, at the start of a two-week parliamentary sitting, he was grilled by fellow lawmakers.
The 55-year old PM tried to slither his way around racial issues but met his match in DAP chairman Karpal Singh, who caught him out after an intense session on the much-criticised 1Malaysia concept.
Sadly, Najib’s 1Malaysia has become the butt of jokes around the country, with even his mentor, ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, saying he had no idea what it meant. And this despite Najib mounting a multi-million ringgit no-costs-spared publicity campaign.
Perhaps it is time for Najib to learn that he cannot gloss over tough issues with cosmetics. Substance prevails over form, especially in an increasingly young and educated Malaysia.
Even more ineffective than Abdullah
As the PM approaches his 100 days in office, he has little to show to the nation except a penchant to resort to force and harsh police crackdowns to quell dissent, as witness the nearly 200 arrests over the Perak crisis.
Likely to leave behind even less legacy than his predecessor Abdullah Badawi, his regime stands in danger of being remembered only for clamping down on other countrymen, especially the Chinese for wearing black, drinking kopi ‘O’ or wearing black headbands to signify solidarity with the Perak folk – victims of a power grab he staged in February.
Najib is the sixth Umno prime minister to govern the country since independence from British rule in 1957. He is also the most unpopular and the least trusted by the people.
According to Karpal, Najib had vowed to bathe the keris or small sword with Chinese blood in a speech in 1987.
The Bukit Gelugor MP demanded the PM apologised for the racist remark or be exposed as a hypocrite and the 1Malaysia slogan as meaningless verbose.
However, Najib denied the accusation and refused to apologise.
He also denied that his 1Malaysia plagiarized chunks of the DAP’s Malaysia for all Malaysians concept, counter-accusing DAP of deviating from the ’spirit of the constitution’.
“There is a vast difference in the concepts. Malaysians Malaysia is not drafted based on the constitution,” Najib told Parliament.
“People should not be fearful or be apprehensive because 1Malaysia ensures the ethnic identity of each race is respected and it is an asset which we are proud of.”
Gush of hot air and hypocrisy
His comments imply that he would defend Ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy – a controversial issue that has not been spelt out in the country’s constitution but somehow is often used by his Umno party to rally support against the other ethnic groups.
And this would be in direct contrast with what he has said about 1Malaysia so far. Up till now, Najib has tried to imply the slogan envisioned a seamless society with equal rights for all citizens.
But today in the august house, he rubbished his own slogan.
No wonder, the PM has not been in a hurry to clarify what 1Malaysia is about. Even after his session in Parliament today, no one – including himself – has any idea what the slogan is about.
And the reason is simple.
It is meant to be a nice-sounding slogan and much like a chameleon, meaning whatever that should be meant in different situations at different times.
Yes – pretty much a gush of hot air and hypocrisy, plus a convenient political tool to mask his inadequacy.
“If Bangsa Malaysia, inspired by Vision 2020, is in its final stages, then 1Malaysia is a guide to help speed us to towards achieving the goal,” the PM expounded.