8 influential Malaysians back 1Malaysia concept

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Eight influential corporate and non-governmental individuals have teamed up to form Yayasan 1Malaysia, an independent non-profit foundation to realise the 1Malaysia dream of national unity.

They are civil rights activist Dr Chandra Muzaffar; Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala; AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes; Islam Hadhari Institute chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim; Mercy Malaysia president Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood; academic Professor Emeritus Datuk K.J. Ratnam; social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye; and Isis director-general Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin.

Chandra is the chairman of the board of foundation while all eight will act as trustees.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Chandra said the foundation's role was to develop, support and spearhead activities and programmes that would engage all Malaysians towards embracing the 1Malaysia concept.

"In particular, we plan to work with non-governmental organisations in our endeavour to build and strengthen unity among Malay-sians of all ethnicity and religious belief," he said.

"The board of trustees also represents Malaysia across ethnic, religious, gender and the regional spectra.

"What binds us together is our single-minded and total commitment to convince all that the 1Malaysia concept is worth striving for," Chandra added.

And nothing rammed home the message more than the appearance of business rivals Idris and Fernandes at the launch yesterday.

"The fact that someone like me who hails from a small tribe in Bario can today helm our national carrier is proof that the 1Malaysia concept is possible," said Idris.

Fernandes said if there was one thing both Idris and he could "violently agree on", it would be 1Malaysia.

As part of its mission to promote the concept, Yayasan 1Malaysia has launched an online campaign "My 1Malaysia Story" at www. 1malaysia.org.my where the public can submit ideas on how to realise the dream.