Monday, March 15, 2010

BN, PR trade barbs over 1 Malaysia, Middle Malaysia

The Prime Minister and opposition lawmakers traded insults this morning in Parliament over the 1 Malaysia and Middle Malaysia slogans, setting the tone for heated debates ahead and suggesting the political mercury will continue to rise in the rivalry between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Datuk Seri Najib Razak fired the first salvo when he smirked at the DAP’s Middle Malaysia concept which was introduced during the DAP national conference in Ipoh recently, and said it was mere rebranding of the party’s old concept of “Malaysian Malaysia”.

“Malaysian Malaysia was a failure. When something fails, what else should be done than to rebrand it,” he said with a smile.

He added that the introduction of Middle Malaysia was merely a knee-jerk response from the Opposition to his 1 Malaysia.

“I feel this effort to introduce Middle Malaysia was just a reaction to 1 Malaysia. Just as 1 Malaysia was gaining popularity, suddenly there was this effort to create another concept, on the name of Middle Malaysia.

“But we all know that it is just a rebranding of Malaysian Malaysia,” he said.

Amid heckling from the Opposition backbenchers, Najib soldiered on and said, “Middle Malaysia is not even based on the foundation of the Constitution or the country’s history.”

He argued that 1 Malaysia, on the other hand, with its slogan of “people first, performance now” was a concept that could be accepted by all.

“Middle Malaysia is just the Opposition’s method of sloganeering and coming up with mere rhetoric but 1 Malaysia comes together with action, people first, performance now,” said Najib.

The 1 Malaysia issue cropped up when Najib was asked by Alexander Nanta Linggi (BN-Kapit) to explain the success of the concept in uniting the people of Malaysia.

Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) then calmly told the House that Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept was a copycat one and added that before the Prime Minister dared to preach about national unity and performance for the people, he needed to first “clean himself”.

Amid escalating protests from BN backbenchers, Karpal Singh said that Najib’s administration was tainted by several things — the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Sharibuu, his apparent link to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy accuser Saiful Bukhari Azlan and Najib’s former special officer Datuk Nasir Safar.

“Najib has been linked to all these events. He needs to clean himself from these first,” Karpal said.

He added that Nasir, as an aide to Najib, had not shown the spirit of 1 Malaysia when he made racist comments recently.

“Nasir said that the Indians came to this country as beggars... and the Chinese, as prostitutes,” he said, to sarcastic shouts of “1 Malaysia” from the Opposition bench.

Najib refused to respond to Karpal Singh’s jibes about Altantuya and Saiful but pointed out that Nasir had been terminated since he made his racist remarks.

“If there are any individuals whose views are not in line with the Government’s on tolerance and national unity, then due action will be taken,” he said.

Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) then stood up to complain about how the House had unfairly rejected one of the questions he had submitted on 1 Malaysia.

“How do you show the spirit of 1 Malaysia when my question is rejected without due consideration?” he asked.

Lim said that his question was directed at the Home Minister.

“I want the Home Minister to explain what action he plans to take against Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian for not acting in accordance with Najib’s 1 Malaysia when they printed biased and racist news in order to paint the Penang state government and its Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, as anti-Malay,” he said.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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