Zaid: Najib must clarify 1Malaysia concept

(The Edge) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must clarify his 1Malaysia concept as to whether it reaffirms the principle of equality to all, said former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

He said if Najib was truly committed to reforms, he must explain and expand the 1Malaysia concept, noting that some Umno leaders had dismissed the Bangsa Malaysia concept while several media reports had highlighted the danger of Malays losing their special rights.

“If he (Najib) cannot even utter that we are all Malaysians, we are all equals, we are all people of this country, then he can forget about reforms,” Zaid told a public forum on April 23 entitled Can Najib Deliver His Reform Promises?

According to Zaid, there seemed to be a lack of political will on the reforms initiated by the newly appointed premier, stressing that the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Printing Presses and Publications Act could be repealed or reviewed if Najib was interested in immediate changes.

Describing the Umno presidency and the prime minister’s posts as “most powerful in the world”, he pointed out that Najib’s administration must be able to reaffirm the fundamental rights of citizens such as by rectifying the Indira Gandhi case which involved forced conversion of her three children to Islam.

“It is not that difficult if you are PM to initiate change. Your ministers will listen to your instructions. It is so simple actually,” Zaid, who is a former Kota Bharu MP, said.

He also said Najib had virtually all his men in the supreme council to pave the way for any reforms from within Umno, noting that the decision of the council could even overrule the party’s constitution.



“We must keep an open mind. Let’s give Najib another month or so to see if his reforms can go through,” he added.
Meanwhile, political analyst Dr Ooi Kee Beng said Najib should have high-level dialogues with NGOs, political parties and social movement groups if he wanted to find common grounds in his reforms.

He said Najib must embrace the language of reforms that had been highlighted through various platforms including the mass media, stressing that Najib could dissociate himself from social issues and those affecting the races.

“Honesty is needed. The state of denial cannot be discarded,” Ooi, who is a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, noted.

He added the premier also had to look into the new breed of young Malaysians that were concerned about the issue of governance.