Sunday, September 26, 2010

A good piece on Malaysia written by an American journalist!

By Rachel Motte - writing for the Daily Caller.

Today, President Barack Obama addresses the US-ASEAN summit taking place in New York City, concurrent with the United Nations General Assembly. Among the heads of state he will speak with is a familiar acquaintance — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whom the president last saw at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., this past April. Though he’s not a flashy newsmaker on par with some of the other ASEAN figures, Najib is no less newsworthy — and in some ways, the country he represents is one of the most important to the United States in an era where the meeting of Islam and democracy seems less a union, and more a collision.

In Najib’s Malaysia despite some real challenges, the future of majority-Muslim, multiethnic democracy is slowly taking shape. This past Sunday Najib joined with his country’s minister for unity, minister for religious affairs, and others in endorsing the work of Malaysia’s Inter-faith Relations Working Committee. The committee, which is composed of Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists and Sikhs, was formed in February in response to the widely publicized racial and religious tensions that plagued Malaysia in early 2010. In endorsing the committee, Najib is affirming his commitment to Malaysia’s unity and diversity, and he’s doing so at the expense of his own political standing.

If there’s one thing Najib wants, it’s national unity — and that’s not something he’s going to get easily, especially if his political opponents get their way. Fifty-three years after declaring independence, Malaysians are still unsure of what it means to be Malaysian. With countless political parties and coalitions, dozens of cultural barriers, and the geographical imposition that is the Java Sea, it’s difficult to discern what sort of unifier will serve to carry the country forward. To further complicate matters, only the nation’s Muslims are subject to Sharia law; the 40% of citizens who hold different beliefs are all served by a separate court system. Far from asking his countrymen to adopt a homogenous national identity, however, Najib has set for himself the harder task of fostering and encouraging Malaysia’s differing societies while simultaneously working toward a concrete sense of national unity.

It’s not an easy task. The Borneon states of Sabah and Sarawak, for example, present a particular challenge. They joined the union in 1963, only a few years after Malaysia declared independence from the British in 1957. Even so, peninsular Malaysians are still getting used to their Eastern neighbors, and many feel the island states have not yet been fully incorporated into the union. While the mainland boasts the highly-developed capital at Kuala Lumpur with its famous Petronas Towers, Sabah and Sarawak

are still home to hunter-gatherer societies, and poverty in the island states is rampant despite long-standing efforts to correct economic imbalances.

Najib’s extensive and ambitious 1Malaysia campaign proves that he will go to great lengths to achieve Malaysian unity despite the obvious difficulties. A new national holiday, celebrated for the first time this past September 16, commemorates the addition of Sabah and Sarawak to the Malaysian state and adds to the existing August 31 Independence Day celebrations. His plans for Malaysia’s economic future include significantly updating Malaysia’s schools, creating 3.3 million jobs by 2020, and helping Malaysia make the difficult transition from a middle-income nation to a high-income nation. His New Economic Model aims to do away with racially-grounded affirmative action policies in favor of need-based assistance, and his newly-reaffirmed commitment to religious diversity ensures that Malaysia can move forward without sacrificing its own unique heritage.

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Anonymous said...

If you have lived in Zimbabwe you will understand how the United Nations works. I was having my morning coffee on the Patio one day and the following played out in fornt of my eyes. The chicken was chasing after the worm.When the chicken had finished with the worm the dog began to chase the chicken. When the dog had finished his meal then come the lion which went after the dog. And as expected the lion finished off the dog in no time. I thought it was over. Just as I was about to get up in came the gardener with a hnbting gun and shot the lion dead. Do you get the drift.

Anonymous said...

Unity. It is an easy goal. Why?
Because you will never achieve it absolutely. It is like saying 'I want to give more air to malaysian so that they can breathe.' The air is there. Just do nothing, the air will come to you.

Just like Tun Dol when he uses 'Human Capital' as his political agenda. The fact is that 'human capital' is every-day activity. It was there ages ago.

My advice, build the Jambatan Bengkok. I guarantee you, Najib will get the support he never dream of.

Anonymous said...

Careful when you lead us to articles in this online media.
It also has other types of thoughts like this one :

As it is you are so worked up about folks whom you think are gay in Malaysia.

Now this US media that you are leading us to.

Why not just MSMs from Malaysia who report from US during the PM's visit.

They are the most objective and impartial.


Pasquale said...

Parameswara, you are totally missing the point. I have nothing against gay people, to use the cliche...some of my good friends are gay. I am against a hypocrite who is gay and we know he is but yet he pretends to be pious and a moderate muslim. So I do not care much for such leader who is a cheat, a liar and forced his wife not to divorce him! BTW do not bother for a rejoinder I will just spike it!

Anonymous said...


Rachel Mottee Evangelical Christian Resident Writer of the Evangelical Outpost and Member of the Young Jewish Movement!!

She's Gotcha!!!