KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan today said the nation is in need of a new ‘Malaysia Narrative’, but stressed that it should prioritise and recognise Malay-Muslims as the majority race in the country.
Mohamad, fondly known as Tok Mat, also suggested a step towards reinforcing and reimplementing the National Culture Policy of 1971 which listed Bumiputera culture and Islam as the main driving force for the national culture.
“First, we cannot deny that there should be a construction of a new ‘Malaysia Narrative’. But it must not forgo the fact that the Malay-Muslims, as the majority race in the country should be given priority.
“This is done, as mentioned earlier, not to segregate and degrade other citizens to a lower class or strata. But to ensure stability and peace for all in Malaysia’s plural society,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
He pointed out three main principles within the National Culture Policy that should be understood and adhered to when forming this national culture, starting with the need for it to be based on the indigenous cultures of this region.
The policy also deems elements from other cultures to be accepted as part of the national culture if suitable, and for Islam to be maintained and recognised as an important component in the formulation of this new narrative.
“Therefore, politicians and civil societies alike should take the National Culture Policy as the basis for advocating the ideals of a nation that are well received by all Malaysians.
“The rise of extreme racial and religious tones in Malaysia’s political sphere has shown that any construction or deconstruction of the ‘Malaysia Narrative’ must be in tandem with the aspirations of the Malay-Muslim population in Malaysia.
“This Merdeka is not meaningless. This Merdeka is for us to acknowledge the fact that the politics of race and religion have always played a huge and significant part in Malaysia’s political discourse, and that they are critical in carrying forward the interests of different ethnicities,” he said in his post.
The statement by Mohamad was partially in response to a recent article by academic Professor Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi, whose piece “A meaningless Merdeka” accused the Malay-Muslim community of potentially driving the nation into the ground and towards the path of irrelevancy.
The strongly-worded article by the professor had made veiled references that condemned the marriage between Umno and PAS.
He also pointed out the importance of politicians recognising their duty to make sure extreme narratives and rhetoric never supersede the interests of Malaysia.
Mohamad also suggested a three-pronged approach to addressing the nation’s current issues.
“First, is the active involvement of true and knowledgeable scholars and not pseudo-intellectuals (who think that their opinions alone matter) in nation-building and reform.
“Second, is the awareness of politicians from all political backgrounds to put forward principles of integrity and accountability above everything else, in their everyday conduct, both in the personal and public spheres of life.
“This is to ensure that they are trusted based on merit as well as good morals, and not by political rhetoric and personal dramatics alone.
“Third, all communities must understand that the interests of the Malay-Muslim majority must be protected,” he added.