Umno veep rejects ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ concept, insists must centre on Islam and Malay culture

Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin says Umno will not accept any concept that does not have Islam and the Malay culture at its heart. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin says Umno will not accept any concept that does not have Islam and the Malay culture at its heart. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Umno will not accept any concept that does not have Islam and the Malay culture at its heart, the Opposition party’s vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said today.

Referring to a recent article by Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi titled “Unity becomes the meeting point of Malaysia Baru”, the former Johor mentri besar claimed its narrative explicitly rejects Malay culture and Islam as important factors in forming a modern nation-state.

He also argued that the Bangsa Malaysia concept as espoused by the ruling Pakatan Harapan to be too complex and impossible to carried out.

“It is political rhetoric meant to sweeten the ear. Rather, the character of Malaysia upon its formation is the diversity of races, cultures and religion,” Khaled said in a statement.

In her article, Wong said the Bangsa Malaysia concept should be the focus of a new narrative for Malaysia as it progresses.

But Khaled disagreed. Instead, he said the government should revert to resolutions made by a National Cultural Congress in 1971, which he condensed into three points, namely for the national culture to be based on the culture of the region’s original people; that other “suitable and proper cultures can be accepted”; and for Islam to be a key element in shaping national culture.

He said Malaysians have never undergone any assimilation process that would create a single identity, saying the country’s founding fathers were in favour of racial and cultural diversity as long as the different groups felt they belonged to the same country.

Khaled also said it is time to detail the characteristics of “good Malaysian citizenry”, and gave listed his attributes as a citizen who is  responsible, patriotic, rational, polite and mature.

He said without those attributes, Malaysia would not be able to move forward in an ever changing world.

He told the DAP to “forget” its “Malaysian Malaysia” concept.

“For in reality none can be formed, as we understood early on the country is multicultural and will remain so with Malay-Islam as its core.

“It is the rakyat of Malaysia who will set the national and cultural pattern with their diverse identities and cultures, yet be able to live in harmony and understanding as responsible and patriotic citizens,” he said.

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