Aug 2, 2010

Tun Mahathir says Najib must explain 1 Malaysia

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 2 – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed has 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.

Dr Mahathir lamented the fact that the 1 Malaysia slogan, introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak shortly after he took office on August 3 last year, had failed to unite Malaysians as a whole.

“I have spoken to the Chinese, the Malays, each person has different opinions and cannot be united. I feel that an explanation is needed,” Bernama quoted Dr Mahathir (pic) as saying here today.

Dr Mahathir said that the onus was on the Najib administration to ensure that Malaysians understood the idea behind the 1 Malaysia slogan, to avoid further misunderstanding or confusion.

“They (the rakyat) do not know which is which, which ones are for the Chinese and which ones are for the Malays. If I were to explain, how should I know, I was not the one who created the slogan,” said the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks today come 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 1Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.

In a rare compliment to the former prime minister, Tengku Razaleigh said that Vision 2020 “inspired” more confidence among Malaysians than 1Malaysia.

“When Dr Mahathir positioned a vision of 2020, the vision, its idea gives people hope.

“1Malaysia is hollow, it must have a policy to go about it, to support it. Only then will people get involved in it,” the Gua Musang MP told The Malaysian Insider recently.

Similarly, Najib has been castigated by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders who claim that 1 Malaysia was not even respected and understood by ministers in the Cabinet, following Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s declaration earlier this year that he was “Malay first, then Malaysian”.

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