Najib: Acceptance, not mere tolerance, vital

(NST) PUTRAJAYA: The 1Malaysia concept with the "people first, performance now" tagline is all about every single Malaysian having the right place under the Malaysian sun, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"It is not going to be cast in stone or top down because as we go along, we will improvise it. I am willing to listen to input from all levels of society."

Najib said the people could give their views and ideas towards achieving one dream, one people and one nation.

"This is what 1Malaysia is all about. And if we all can strongly feel and understand it, Malaysia will become a stronger nation, more resilient, peaceful and united because we are really together.

"And I want every single Malaysian to feel they have the right place under the Malaysian sun," he said when he welcomed leaders and members of the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers to 'An Afternoon Session with the Prime Minister here yesterday.

Also present were Bakti president Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor who is also his wife, wives of menteris besar and chief ministers and women representatives of state charity organisations.

Najib said there must be a sense of togetherness and belonging among the people, regardless of their colour scheme or religion "because ultimately, we are 1Malaysia, one nation."

He noted that past prime ministers had always emphasised on national unity and ways to preserve it.

"To me, national unity is of paramount importance and the concept will be more effective and meaningful through the participation of every single Malaysian, regardless of race.

"The concept, based on three thrusts, starts with the question of acceptance or mutual respect we should have for one another. All this while, we have been saying we tolerate each other but to me, tolerance is the minimum and not whole-heartedly accepted."

Najib said acceptance was a balanced concept for the country's plural and diversified society. "If we can accept this as a reality, we will see diversity and the different races as an asset, not liability."

There is no country in the world that is so unique like Malaysia. "For instance, we have strategic values like the Malaysian Chinese, who can link us to countries like China or Taiwan and this can translate into beneficial economic relationship."

Rosmah said 1Malaysia would complement existing approaches to enhance national unity and stability.

"It is one concept that can help in achieving national aspirations under the leadership of the sixth Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak."

Rosmah said Bakti's programmes and activities in helping the poor and needy, regardless of race, were in line with the concept.

"I hope other charity and welfare bodies will also implement programmes for all the people, be it at the federal or state levels.

"Bakti and state charity bodies will remain active to fulfil our humble mission to be of help to society.

" Our future programmes will continue to target the people, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, in line with the concept."