Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 5th July 2010:
Muhyiddin should explain whether 1Malaysia is meaningless slogan or serious policy to make Malaysia more competitive by creating a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first and race second?
Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is getting very defensive.
In Parit Sulong yesterday, Muhyiddin accused me of being more "racist" than him and defended his earlier statement that he is Malay first and Malaysian second, and he asked:
“Tanya Lim Kit Siang sama dia akan mengaku Cina atau bangsa Malaysia.”
It will be tragic if after 53 years of nation-building since Merdeka in 1957, Malaysian politics is reduced to political leaders exchanging allegations of who is more racist.
Firstly, let me state that I have not called Muhyiddin an "ultra". However, he owes a full accounting to all Malaysians as to whether he really supports the 1Malaysia policy advocated by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and whether Najib's 1Malaysia is a meaningless slogan or a serious policy to make Malaysia more vibrant, productive and competitive where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first and race second?
I did not invent this definition of 1Malaysia. This definition is clearly spelt out in the official documentation on 1Malaysia, the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Roadmap released by the government in January this year, which states:
"The goal of 1Malaysia is to make Malaysia more vibrant, more productive and more competitive – and ultimately a greater nation: a nation where, it is hoped, every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second and where the principles of 1Malaysia are woven into the economic, political and social fabric of society."
Muhyiddin again challenged me to state whether I am Chinese or Malaysian first.
I had already stated in Parliament that I am a Malaysian first and Chinese second. I am proud of my ethnicity but I have always believed that all Malaysians must rise above their ethnic, cultural, religious and geographic differences to seek a common bond with the Malaysian identity transcending all ethnic, cultural, religious and geographic identities.
The question Muhyiddin should answer is why despite Najib's 1Malaysia policy, not only he but there is not a single Barisan Nasional Cabinet Minister who is prepared to stand up in Parliament to declare that he is Malaysian first and his or her race second?
In fact, I have a question in the current meeting of Parliament asking the Prime Minister to state how many Cabinet Ministers, and to name them, who regard himself or herself as Malaysian first and race second in line with the 1Malaysia policy and definition.
However, this question was ruled out of order on the flimsiest of grounds when the real reason is that the Prime Minister will not be able to answer this question without causing the greatest embarrassment to his 1Malaysia policy – as up to now no Cabinet Minister is prepared to stand up to declare that he or she is Malaysian first and race second.
If this is the position, where no Cabinet Minister is prepared to fully and publicly espouse the philosophy of 1Malaysia, how could the principles of 1Malaysia" be "woven into the economic, political and social fabric of society"?
It is precisely because of this lack of commitment to the goal of 1Malaysia that the New Economic Model (NEM) has met such a quick demise in the 10th Malaysia Plan.
Just to give one example. The NEM drew a picture of Malaysia in crisis, caught in economic stagnation and the middle-income trap for close to two decades.
It admitted: "We are not developing talent and what we have is leaving. The human capital situation in Malaysia is reaching a critical stage. The rate of outward migration of skilled Malaysians is raising rapidly."
The answer of the Tenth Malaysia Plan is a Talents Corporation but without any political will to address the real problem for the damaging brain drain which has plagued the country for decades which had been rightly diagnosed by the NEM, viz:
"Globalisation has created a fierce competition for talent, forcing companies and government to recognize that people are the most valuable assets. To compete on a regional and global scale, Malaysia must retain and attract talent. Malaysia must be seen by its people and by others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure happy life for each individual and the family."
In other words, 1Malaysia not in sloganeering but in reality - where Malaysians feel that they are Malaysians first and race second in all economic, political and social aspects in the country.
I have suggested a 1Malaysia Royal Commission of Inquiry on how to achieve the goal of making every Malaysian perceive himself or herself as Malaysian first and race second so that Malaysia can become more vibrant, more productive and more competitive.
Is Muhyiddin prepared to support this proposal?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor