Sunday, August 30, 2009

Najib’s 1Malaysia

Our current Prime Minister has launched ‘his vision’ of a One Malaysia.

This is a dream for all Malaysians today,although our Bapa Kemerdekaan , Tunku Abdul Rahman,had actually lived it for the most part of his prime ministership.

Tunku was our Bapa Muhibbah and Bapa Toleransi. He was the role model and most people of his era lived it too. During my childhood days in Penang, I truly felt that we were a tolerant and multiracial society. It was common then to have close friends from all races and common then to visit these friends during normal days as well as festivals.

Even after 1969, I felt that this spirit (tolerant and multiracial society) was there. In my opinion, the Malays, Chinese and Indians slowly drifted apart in the 80’s and became polarized from the 90’s onwards. For the most part, this happened under the stewardship of the 4th Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, who ruled for 22 years.

Clearly, the Alliance/BN model is out of date. Race based politics is the main hindrance to a multiracial society. Based on the ruling BN’s formula, there is not ONE Malaysia but FOUR Malaysia:

1st Malaysia for UMNOputras
2nd Malaysia for Malays
3rd Malaysia for Non Malays
4th Malaysia for East Malaysians

For Najib to achieve One Malaysia is a tall order .Can he get UMNO in particular and BN in general to be committed to this agenda? Does he have the credibility for Malaysians to put their trust in him? Does he have a clear plan of how he plans to achieve this?

I would certainly not put my money on him. Sadly, this will be another empty slogan, which sounds nice but will come to nought under Najib’s watch. This is not surprising, when we recall past slogans/ visions that fell really short:

Bersih Cekap dan Amanah (Mahathir)
Wawasan 2020 (Mahathir)
Cemerlang,Gemilang dan Terbilang ( Pak Lah)
Islam Hadhari (Pak Lah)

The way forward?

Two prerequisites must happen to the political landscape. Firstly, the emergence of a two party system for proper checks and balance. Secondly, political parties that are truly multiracial.

The emergence of Pakatan meets the first criteria. Only PKR meets the second criteria. The logical option is to vote for Pakatan and let PKR take the lead. Gladly, more and more Malaysians are voting for this change.

For BN to survive, it must get out of race based parties and become a truly multiracial party. Knowing current Malaysian politics, this shift is next to impossible.But achievable, if we truly want a tolerant and multiracial society that can take on the world.

Diversity can be a strength NOT a weakness, the crux of Tunku’s Malaysia.