PUTRAJAYA, Aug 3 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin agreed today with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysians have yet to understand the 1 Malaysia concept after the former prime minister said it had failed to unite Malaysians as a whole.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir criticised the Najib administration’s 1 Malaysia slogan, claiming that the concept needed further “explanation” to prevent it from being interpreted differently by various races.
However, Muhyiddin defended the slogan and explained that public needed more time to fully understand 1 Malaysia.
“I agree with his (Dr Mahathir) opinion. We did not say that in a period of one year that everybody would understand the 1 Malaysia slogan launched by the prime minister but I am confident that many have understood. I believe that many have yet to fully understand the meaning of 1 Malaysia,” he told reporters after chairing a committee meeting on youth development at Perdana Putra here.
The deputy prime minister added that certain groups are purposely sabotaging the 1 Malaysia concept.
“There is however a tendency that the understanding is influenced by certain groups. Even though it has been explained by the prime minister that 1 Malaysia is based on the country’s constitution. Whatever the interpretation, it should not run far from the spirit of the constitution such as Bumiputera rights, Bahasa Malaysia, culture, religion and royalty.
“Since 1 Malaysia is dynamic and not static then certainly there will be certain groups that will try to interpret it according to their own interest. So steps must be taken by the government is to give explanation and programs to allow the public to better understand what is 1 Malaysia,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s remarks came after a recent public opinion poll by the Merdeka Center found that a majority of non-Bumiputeras in the country considered Najib’s 1 Malaysia slogan a mere political gimmick.
According to the poll, only 39 per cent of non-Bumiputeras accepted the 1 Malaysia concept despite the fact that it had been introduced for over a year.
Forty-six per cent out of 3,141 respondents interviewed felt that 1Malaysia was only a “tactic to win over non-Malay support”, while another 16 per cent had either refused to answer the poll questions or claimed to have no understanding of the concept whatsoever.
Respondents were undecided on whether Malaysia had become more united under the Najib Administration, with 48 per cent saying yes and 43 per cent claiming that the country was still disunited.
Najib has been under a lot of fire lately as even veteran Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have come out and openly mocked his 1 Malaysia campaign, in effect branding it a “hollow” cause.
Veteran Umno politician and one time finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said recently that the 1 Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.
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