Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 20th September 2010:
Congrats Nazri for being the first in Cabinet to declare Malaysian first and race second – Ministers who refuse to make such declaration should be dropped from Cabinet
Congrats to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for being the first in Cabinet to declare that he is Malaysian first Malay second in his open letter in reply to Awang Selamat of Utusan Malaysia (The Malaysian Insider).
Why it has taken more than six months since my challenge to Cabinet Ministers during the debate on the Royal Address in Parliament on March 18, 2010 to declare that they are Malaysian first and race second is really beyond me, as it demonstrates their total lack of support, commitment and political will to make Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy work and suceeed.
I had at the time posed three simple tests of 1Malaysia to determine whether all the Cabinet Minsiters were sincerely and seriously committed to Najib’s 1Malaysia, viz:
This is what I said in Parliament on that day:
“Are Najib, Muhyiddin and all the Umno leaders prepared to stand up and declare that they are Malaysian first and Malay second?
“I declare that I am Malaysian first and Chinese second. Is every Cabinet Minister prepared to make a similar declaration?
“How many Cabinet Ministers, including the DPM, have the 1Malaysia DNA and able to pass these three simple 1Malaysia tests?”
During the debate on the Royal Address in March this year, I had asked whether the Prime Minister has got his entire Cabinet, including the Deputy Prime Minister, with him on the same page on what 1Malaysia means.
This was because the utterances and actions of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin were most inimical to the realisation of the 1Malaysia slogan and concept, including:
During my speech in Parliament I posed two questions point-blank to Muhyiddin: firstly, was he aware that the Najib administration’s sincerity and seriousness about 1Malaysia was under great test in Penang because of the vicious and sustained exploitation of the race and religious card by Umno media and agents in the conspiracy to defame the Penang Chief Minister and Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?
Secondly, if the people of Penang regarded the 1Malaysia concept as fake and hypocritical, how could he expect the people of Sabah and Sarawak and the rest of Malaysians to have much confidence in the slogan?
I stressed that as Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin should be in the forefront to secure the co-operation of all MPs and political parties outside the Barisan Nasional fold to make a success of the 1Malaysia campaign, on the ground that it is a national issue and not a party agenda unless the 1Malaysia concept was merely an Umno and Barisan Nasional gimmick.
I had also asked why the Najib Cabinet was full of Ministers who were quite skeptical about the 1Malaysia concept treating it as nothing more than political theatre not to be taken seriously?
I had asked: “Who are the Ministers in the Najib Cabinet who have the 1Malaysia DNA? I do not see anyone. No wonder neither Muhyiddin nor the other Cabinet Ministers comport themselves with any conviction that they are the standard-bearers of the 1Malaysia slogan and concept.”
Muhyiddin subsequently proved my criticisms right when on March 31, he responded to my challenge and declared that he is “Malay first” and then only a Malaysian.
He said: “I am Malay first! But being Malay does not mean you are not Malaysian. It is not a race issue.”
Accusing me of trying to drive a wedge between him and Najib, he said:
“The question of 1 Malaysia should not be brought up. When a leader talks about the interest of his own race, it does not mean he doesn’t support 1 Malaysia. 1 Malaysia is based on the Constitution.
"How can I say I'm Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me and say that it is not proper.
“There is nothing wrong in leaders fighting for their own race. Don’t tell me Kit Siang does not fight for the Chinese?”
He even challenged me to declare that I was Malaysian first and Chinese second, until he was told by reporters that I had already made such a declaration - in Parliament during the debate on the Royal Address on 18th March.
And for six long months, not a single Cabinet Minister dare to declare publicly that he or she is a Malaysian first and race second, until Nazri today!
Although it has taken more than six months for Nazri to break ranks with Muhyiddin for the former to declare that he is Malaysian first and Malay second, in accordance with the objective of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy, it is better late than never.
With the example set by Nazri, all 1Malaysia-minded Ministers, should declare their stand to demonstrate to Malaysians that the 1Malaysia policy is taken seriously by Ministers themselves.
In fact, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and Sabah and Sarawak Ministers should rush to declare themselves to be Malaysian first and race second or be dropped from the Cabinet.
I would suggest that the last one of the four MCA Ministers and seven Deputy Ministers to make such a 1Malaysia declaration should be sacked from the Cabinet!
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor