Experts scoff at Perikatan’s national unity blueprint

Alfian Z.M. Tahir

A padi farmer with the Jalur Gemilang in Sabah. The prime minister wants Malaysians to unite but his ruling coalition runs along racial lines. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Irwan Majid, March 2, 2021.

PRIME Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s national unity blueprint 2021-2030 that aims to foster national integration will just become another piece of paper with no impact, said experts.

They told The Malaysian Insight there is such a disconnect with the blueprint launched on February 15 and the actions of ministers and politicians from the ruling Perikatan Nasional pact.

At the same time, there is a conflict between the need of “Malay unity” as espoused by the Malay parties in PN and national unity.

Iman Research director of programme Badrul Hisham Ismail said the PN parties could never reconcile with the national blueprint as ministers will still toe party lines, which are based on the race agenda.

Whatever unity plan PN has, it will go against each political parties’ creed. There is no way they can reconcile with the national blueprint,” said Badrul, who is also a film director.

He cites the example of Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor’s controversial decision to cancel the public holiday for Thaipusam last month, a move which few PN leaders opposed.

“No one except MIC made noise about the cancellation. The PM was quiet, he did not say a word while PAS played down the issue.

“Even before the blueprint was launched, we have witnessed such irresponsible acts from a state leader,” said Badrul.

Sanusi declared that there should be no public holiday for Thaipusam this year as all activities had been cancelled due to the standard operating procedure under the movement-control order.

The directive was met with resistance, including from former prime minister Najib Razak, as well as MCA and MIC, with the Indian-based party saying it would not support Sanusi in the 15th general election.

Badrul said Bersatu, which is the most dominant party in PN, would end up becoming like Umno in Barisan Nasional.

“Umno although it is part of BN, a multi-ethnic, multiracial political alliance, continues to harp on Malay supremacy.

“I think, this time it might be even worse. Bersatu and PAS, one with a race agenda and one with a religious agenda. No other party is more dominant than these two.”

The Kedah menteri mesar cancelled the public holiday for Thaipusam in the state last month on grounds of MCO 2.0. Only MIC and Pakatan Harapan leaders condemned the move. – EPA pic, March 2, 2021.

PN was formed a year ago, after Muhyiddin decided to take his party – Bersatu – out of Pakatan Harapan to join Umno and PAS, causing the pact’s collapse.

It then formed an alliance with several parties from both Sabah and Sarawak together with several members from PKR lawmakers aligned with Mohammed Azmin Ali.

Muhyiddin’s year-old government has already lost its majority in Parliament after two BN lawmakers decided to withdraw their support.

However, Muhyiddin remains in power after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to the emergency declaration effective January 11 as Parliament is currently suspended due to the order.

During the launch of the national unity blueprint, Muhyiddin said it was to be built on values enshrined in the federal constitution and Rukun Negara.

Copying BN

Dr Sharifah Munirah Alatas said there is so much confusion over Muhyiddin’s 10-year integration plan.

The daughter of prominent sociologist, the late Prof Dr Syed Hussein Alatas, said the Malay-Muslim governance rhetoric does not reconcile with the ideals of the blueprint.

“Highlighting ‘Malay unity’, which is what the political rhetoric has been since PN took over, seems counter-productive to ‘national unity’.

“But at the same time, it is so ironic because the call for unity exists amid disagreements between PN’s Malay-Muslim parties. There is too much confusion,” said the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia academic.

The 10-year action plan must delve further into more than just the five pillars of the Rukun Negara, said Munirah.

“The national unity blueprint is supposed to set in motion strategies that unite all Malaysians. The 10-year action plan must delve further into more than just the five pillars of the Rukun Negara.”

Prof Ahmad Marthada Mohamed of Universiti Utara Malaysia said Muhyiddin is trying to emulate the same formula BN did for more than 60 years.

“PN needs to show that they are for every race in the country, receptive to everyone. Just like how BN did for a long period of time.

“Muhyiddin is looking for a recipe that can win the hearts of the new voters as well as the existing ones who are not too fanatic with a certain political party.

“That is why PN accepted Gerakan recently, although Gerakan has no seat in Parliament. It shows that Muhyiddin is ready to take along a small party that represents the Chinese.”

Martadha also said it would not be a surprise if MCA and MIC decide to join PN. – March 2, 2021.

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