Since assuming the country’s leadership on 3rd April, I had introduced the 1Malaysia concept as the key thrust of my administration. From the time this concept was made public, it has sparked numerous discussions and debates amongst all levels of our society.
As I stated in my speech in conjunction with the birthday of Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on June 6, 1Malaysia is not a new concept or formula. Rather, the ultimate goal of 1Malaysia, which is national unity, has been the main vision of our country’s leaders before me, and has been interpreted in various shapes and forms over the span of five decades of Independence. If we truly study it, what has changed is the approach and implementation according to the ever-changing times and generations.
In other words, 1Malaysia is a concept to foster unity amongst the multi-ethnic rakyat of Malaysia, substantiated by key values that every Malaysian should observe. The approach is not independent of the Government’s policies thus far, instead it complements them to further reinforce our solidarity in order to guarantee stability towards achieving higher growth and development for Malaysia and her people. This means that 1Malaysia is a formula conceptualised as a precondition in ensuring the aspirations of the country to secure a developed status by 2020 are met, if it is inculcated in the minds of the Rakyat and practiced by the entire community. If the idea of “Bangsa Malaysia” which was engendered through Vision 2020 becomes the final destination, then 1Malaysia is the roadmap that guides us towards that destination. This definition is built upon the argument that in order achieve the status of a developed nation in the predetermined time frame, the key requisite is a strong and stable country, which can only be achieved when its people stand united.
Unity as envisioned through the 1Malaysia concept varies greatly from the assimilation concept practiced in other countries where the ethnic identities are wiped out and replaced with one homogeneous national identity. It is also clearly distinct from the opposition’s concept of Malaysian Malaysia. 1Malaysia does not deviate from the spirit of our Federal Constitution as the law of the state, written or implied. In fact, the 1Malaysia concept remains faithful to the core provisions within the Federal Constitution, such as Articles 3, 4, 152, and 153, as well as Parts 2 and 3. Therefore, noone should fear or cast aspersions that the concept the concept will deviate from what has been agreed upon by our founding fathers.
On the other hand 1Malaysia values and respects the ethnic identities of each community in Malaysia, and proudly regards them as an asset or advantage. 1Malaysia underlines the value of “Acceptance” amongst its multi-racial people, where one race embraces the uniqueness of other races so that we may live with mutual respect for each other as a nation. It is a distinct step above that of mere tolerance.
The foundation for all this is the principle of justice for all, which means that the welfare of all Malaysians will be looked after, leaving noone behind. Such justice must take into account the varying levels of development of each ethnic community. Hence, government policies and provisions in the Constitution that protect the interests of disadvantaged groups will continue to be implemented.
1Malaysia will continue the agenda of nation-building. To achieve growth for the nation, the Rakyat must be the first to be developed, which must begin by instilling a sense of acceptance amongst races, and therefore undivided solidarity. When solidarity is achieved, the task of nation-building can truly and smoothly be carried out.
The 1Malaysia formula is conceptualised for implementation in two main aspects. The first is through the assimilation of the Principles of Unity, while the second aspect is the assimilation of Aspirational Values.
The Principles of Unity are the three items I had earlier detailed; the first, “acceptance” amongst all races and peoples of Malaysia; the second, nationalistic principles built upon the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara; and thirdly, social justice. These Principles are supported by wholesome values that must be inculcated as part of Malaysian culture, including values such as mutual respect, Tawaddhu’, humility and astuteness in forming decisions and actions.