SERI KEMBANGAN, Sept 19 Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak underscored today the necessity for fair policies and systems under the principle of inclusiveness in his 1 Malaysia concept.
Najibs reiteration of inclusiveness and just policies in the 1 Malaysia concept comes amid intense pressure from Malay rights group Perkasa, who have demanded him to state clearly that the concept is based on Malay privileges.
Being inclusive and the principle of social justice are some of the important principles enshrined in the concept of 1 Malaysia, said Najib (picture) in his speech at a Malayalee luncheon today.
Being inclusive means we have to ensure our policies benefit all Malaysians. We have to ensure that systems are fair, and that every single Malaysian can recognise his or her own value, he added.
The countrys sixth prime minister also noted that the contribution of each Malaysian was crucial in upgrading the country to a successful nation of the 21st century.
If we can garner the strength of every individual Malaysian, then we are leveraging on our strength and talent to make this massive transformation so that Malaysia will be a truly successful 21st-century nation, said Najib.
Yesterday, however, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders and analysts denounced the 1 Malaysia policy as a work in regress, citing the rise in racial extremism and Najibs refusal to defend the concept against Perkasa, following Najibs statement on Friday that the concept was a work in progress.
Using the Malay rights platform, Perkasa has lobbied against any attempt by the Najib administration to implement economic reforms in a bid to increase the countrys competitiveness, which has suffered under four decades of affirmative action policies.
The Malay pressure group has opposed proposals to roll back Bumiputera quotas and has even taken MCA leaders to task for making such proposals.
Najib, however, emphasised today that Malaysia needed to be competitive on the global scale and cited the Indian state of Kerala which is the origin of the Malayalee community as a successful state with a literacy rate of almost 100 per cent.
The Malayalees are a group of people who speak Malayalam, whose identity is primarily linguistic. There are some 250,000 Malayalees in Malaysia who profess various faiths like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.
We must be globally competitive. Why is Kerala so successful? There is almost 100 per cent literacy rate. You have placed education at the national forefront of your agenda, said Najib.
He pointed out that Malays and other Malaysians should learn from the Malayalees drive towards knowledge and education.
Certainly, the Malays and others can learn from the Malayalees, not only because they are a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, but also because you are so committed to education and the acquisition of knowledge, said Najib.
The ranking of public institutions in Malaysia has dived throughout the past years to the point of dropping out of the top 200 universities in the QS World University Rankings this year.
Malaysia also dropped two spots in the World Economic Forum (WEF) competitiveness index at a ranking of 26 out of 132 countries, while foreign direct investment in the country plunged by 81 per cent last year.
Najib called for the support of all Malaysians in his various economic programmes such as the Government Transformation Programme, the Economic Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model (NEM) to upgrade Malaysia to a high-income nation.
We need the support of every single Malaysian working together in tandem as part and parcel of building this nation of Malaysia, he said.
But all that will not be meaningful unless there is the nature of being inclusive, added Najib.
Malay rights groups led by Perkasa have voiced strident views against the NEM for its aims at making affirmative action more market-friendly until Najib was forced to backtrack and call the policy a trial balloon.
The second part of the NEM has yet to be unveiled since its launch months ago in March this year.
Najib pointed out that national unity under his 1 Malaysia concept was not merely about celebrating diversity in a multi-religious concept, but was an acknowledgment of the contributions of each community.
Diversity also means we recognise the strength of each community, the skills, contributions, ideas and innovativeness of every single Malaysian, he said.
When it is moulded together in the spirit of 1 Malaysia, it can achieve the transformation of Malaysia, added Najib.
In ur face Ibrahim Ali!