Saturday, 5 February 2011

Pakatan wants Najib’s reply to Dr M’s Tanah Melayu remarks

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have demanded that Datuk Seri Najib Razak respond to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s latest remarks that Malaysia belongs to the Malays and other races are expected to respect Malay sovereignity.

They want the prime minister to state his stand and views on the matter, and whether he subscribes to Dr Mahathir’s views or feels otherwise.

Opposition leaders said Dr Mahathir’s statement was a direct contradiction to Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept of equality.

“Najib cannot maintain an elegant silence over this, he has to respond to Dr Mahathir’s remarks. It’s important to see what stand Najib will take, and whether or not he is afraid of the repercussions should he not agree with Dr Mahathir,” Datuk Mahfuz Omar told The Malaysian Insider.

The PAS vice-president pointed out that those within Barisan Nasional (BN) who disagreed with the former prime minister ended up having very shortlived political careers, saying that Dr Mahathir did not take criticisms lightly.

Citing Dr Mahathir’s attacks against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Mahfuz claimed that the veteran politician had consistently shown that he opposed Najib’s policies such as his 1 Malaysia concept.

“We can definitely see that Dr Mahathir is unhappy with Najib. Najib, on the other hand, has failed in making people understand his 1 Malaysia concept. If Dr Mahathir cannot accept or understand it, how then do normal folk?” said Mahfuz.

He stressed that PR did not recognise or support any views which did not recognise the rights of all races and did not contribute towards the nation-building process.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua called Dr Mahathir’s views “supremacist”, saying there were no provisions in the Federal Constitution which supported Dr Mahahir’s views.

“Najib and Mahathir should perhaps enlighten Malaysians where Mahathir’s supremacist concept is found in the Federal Constitution as designed by our forefathers.

“Najib will also have to explain how his 1 Malaysia fits into Mahathir’s scheme of things,” Pua told The Malaysian Insider.

According to another DAP leader, Lim Kit Siang, Dr Mahathir was “contradicting” himself as his remarks went against not only the 1 Malaysia concept, but also the “Bangsa Malaysia” concept bandied around during the Mahathir administration.

“What he said was full of contradictions… it contradicts his (Dr Mahathir’s) own Bangsa Malaysia concept and 1 Malaysia.

“The aim for Vision 2020 was to create a Malaysia full of people committed to the nation, all races working together on the same platform,” the DAP parliamentary leader told The Malaysian Insider.

In a speech on Tuesday, Dr Mahathir told Malaysians to admit that the country belonged to the Malays and that they had to accept the culture and language of the dominant community.

The former prime minister said that the country’s forefathers gave the Chinese and Indians citizenship because they expected the communities to respect Malay sovereignty.

“This country belongs to the Malay race. Peninsular Malaysia was known as Tanah Melayu but this cannot be said because it will be considered racist.

“We must be sincere and accept that the country is Tanah Melayu,” he said.

He also said the administration must be clear on what is 1 Malaysia.

In a poll conducted by the Merdeka Center last year, 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 1 Malaysia 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.

Veteran Umno politician and one-time Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah also agreed and said that the 1 Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.