KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who mooted the 1 Malaysia concept, said he had deliberately not defined the idea so its meaning could absorb different views over time, even as he acknowledged there were sceptics from the non-Malay community towards the idea translating into government policy.
“I didn’t define the concept very clearly, but that was by design,” the prime minister told The Malay Mail in an interview published today.
Najib (picture) said he had decided it needed to have an “element of strategic ambiguity” when he introduced it three years ago so that the concept could be broadened to include other views from the public.
The 59-year-old said the concept he envisioned to promote the idea of inclusiveness among the races, has been translated into policy and was clearly understood now even though some quarters have been sceptical at the onset.
“They may not see 1 Malaysia as something practised within the entire government system. But then again people must realise this is a journey,” he told the English-language paper in response to scepticism from the minority races outside the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Malay party, Umno.
He added that his idea was more comprehensive than had been previously envisioned by the country’s past leaders as his promoted the fundamental principles and values of social justice, inclusivity and moderation.
“This is the first time that we’re trying to really define it in terms of the principles and values associated with 1 Malaysia.
“In the past, people talked about working together, but there was no real operational definition of what that meant,” he said in the interview.
Najib, who is seeking a personal mandate for power at the 13th general election due soon, had previously said the 1 Malaysia concept promises to prioritise the people with improvements in public service delivery and economic reforms.
However, critics and opposition leaders have panned the 1 Malaysia concept and logo, which had been stamped on nearly every government product, ranging from grocery store goods like milk powder tins and rice sacks to healthcare services, as little more than rhetoric and sloganeering.
“1 Malaysia is also products and services which will lighten the burden of the people and improve their quality of life,” he said at the launch of the pioneer Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M) thrift store at the Kelana Jaya LRT station on June 22 last year.