Challenges facing the 1Malaysia concept
Right from the outset, 1Malaysia was anchored in the Constitution and linked to the Rukun Negara and Wawasan 2020, which are instruments of nation-building, not political party manifestoes. If it had not been for this negative attitude of some politicians, which has an impact upon a portion of the populace, 1Malaysia would have gained more traction. Certain unhelpful religious sentiments also impede 1Malaysia. There are influential elements in the religious establishment who do not realise that their narrow, bigoted interpretations of rules and regulations undermine that universal, inclusive spirit of Islam which reinforces the notion of common humanity that 1Malaysia envisages. On the other hand, there are non-Muslim politicians who are totally insensitive to Muslim feelings about Islamic etiquette, practices and institutions. 1Malaysia is also hampered by certain communal pronouncements and ethnic distortions and misconceptions which are ventilated more frequently than before in the public square. Words such as pendatang and penumpang directed at fellow non-Malay citizens are not only demeaning and degrading but also utterly reprehensible from the standpoint of our quest for national unity. They are, to some extent, a reaction to the constant attempts by a section of the non-Malay intelligentsia through the cyber media to question the Malay position. Ludicrous arguments are trotted out, such as that the presence of small pockets of Chinese on the Malay Peninsular for hundreds of years delegitimises the Malay position. On the contrary, the very fact that they were well integrated into what were essentially Malay milieus, sustained by Islam, the Malay language and the Malay sultanates, proves that the Malay polity was the precursor of the Malayan, and later, Malaysian nation-state. In spite of these formidable challenges, there are certain achievements that one should attribute to 1Malaysia. One, it has helped to foster -...
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