Saturday, June 27, 2009

Najib tries desperately to sell his fading 1-Malaysia with songs and dances

Yesterday, 27 June, 2009, 11:57:19 AM
By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s concept of 1 Malaysia, disparaged so relentlessly by the opposition since its introduction, was distilled this morning into a cultural song-and-dance.

In a seven-minute speech at Dataran Merdeka this morning at the launch of the 1 Malaysia logo, the prime minister made fleeting reference to the difficulties his administration has faced in pitching the 1 Malaysia concept to ordinary Malaysians.

“When 1 Malaysia was introduced many were asking what does it mean, but I found out generally people have accepted the 1 Malaysia concept,” he said in his speech before thousands of colourfully dressed Malaysians brought in by the Information Ministry to help launch the 1 Malaysia logo.

“Our assembly this morning, an assembly of people in red, in blue, in yellow and in white, although we are in different colours, but we are here today aiming for the same objective,” added Najib in explaining the 1 Malaysia concept.

The prime minister’s well-worn remarks did not offer much more beyond the message of national solidarity.

“It will be of little use to have intellectuals, abundant natural resources and the highest of technology if the people are not united,” he said.

After unveiling the giant logo, Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor accompanied by some members of his Cabinet, including Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, joined the crowd for a specially-choreographed group workout called the ‘Malaysian cultural workout’.

The workout, which lasted for 30 minutes, was a combination of traditional dances from all major ethnic groups in the country.

The crowd, largely made up of civil servants, was also entertained by six songs on 1 Malaysia, one of which will be chosen by the ministry to be the official theme for 1 Malaysia.

Ultimately, the event which was the brainchild of Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, suggests the beginning of a public relations and publicity campaign to ensure Malaysians buy in to the 1 Malaysia concept.

The 1 Malaysia theme song is expected to be played regularly on all government television and radio stations.

The Malaysian Insider understands the chosen song will also likely be played at most government functions, in the same vein as the indoctrination campaigns made popular by Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 1980s.

Private radio and television stations would also be expected to do their part in the 1 Malaysia campaign.

Since introducing it as the platform of his new administration, Najib has been struggling to explain and defend the 1 Malysia concept, which he said was formulated to forge unity among Malaysians.

He has denied that the concept is similar to Malaysian Malaysia, introduced by the opposition in the 1960s and which is opposed by the strong right-wing faction in Umno who champion the idea of Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay Supremacy.

His party’s recent overtures towards PAS over the idea of Malay unity has also put the spotlight on his 1 Malaysia, attracting attacks from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and concern even from among non-Malay BN component parties.

Najib has said that 1 Malaysia does not deviate from the Federal Constitution, which provides for the special position of Malays and other bumiputeras, without providing details of how his administration plans to address race relations.

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