PETALING JAYA, 24 June 2009: Concerned about misunderstandings over 1Malaysia, the government has revived a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Tabung Amanah Muhibah (Tamu), to explain the concept to the public.
Tamu executive director Datuk Dahan Abdul Latiff said the NGO was given its new mandate in April , after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced his 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now philosophy. Najib became prime minister on 3 April this year.
Dahan said Tamu’s role was to explain 1Malaysia from the perspective of fostering national unity, based on the explanation in Najib’s blog.
Ever since Najib announced the concept, various quarters have criticised or expressed confusion over what 1Malaysia is. The opposition has ridiculed it by highlighting injustices, lack of transparency and racial discrimination, while civil society has subverted it with the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign to protest the Barisan Nasional’s takeover of the Perak government.
Even former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who came up with the “Bangsa Malaysia” idea under his Vision 2020 mission statement, said he did not know what 1Malaysia meant.
Other NGOs Tamu have reached out to are the Former People’s Representatives Council Malaysia (Mubarak) Kuala Lumpur, and Gagasan Veteran Malaysia, which is headed by former chief secretary to the government Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid.
“Talks with other groups are being arranged,” Dahan told The Nut Graph. He was met at a roundtable to discuss national unity that was organised by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute for Ethnic Studies (Kita) on 18 June 2009.
Tamu already existed last year as a charity organisation but Dahan said it did not have many activities.
Dahan (Courtesy of Dahan Abdul Latiff) Negative response
Asked about the negative public response to 1Malaysia, he said it was typical of the current anti-government feelings people had after the 2008 general election.
“People are still in that mood. Anything the government says, they oppose it. Whenever the government proposes something, there is always opposition. It’s just the sentiment for the time being,” Dahan said.
On fostering better race relations, he said Tamu wanted to work with UKM’s Kita in developing national unity programmes.