A Malaysia for all Malaysians?M. NadarajahAPRIL 15 – In recent times, the cultural and political notions of “Bangsa Malaysia” and “One Malaysia” have gained currency of useand are fast becoming household terms. They seem to have caughtthe imagination of many well-meaning sons and daughters of Mother Malaysia.Our fourth Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohammad, conceived theformer and the present Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, came upwith the latter. Both these leaders are connected to Umno and BN,formations that belong to the era of ethnic politics.Both these concepts were conceived to deal largely with thedemands by Malaysian citizens to create a Malaysia for allMalaysians, irrespective of race/ethnicity, religion and gender.Malaysian citizens attempted to represent the post-March 2008Malaysia as “New Malaysia” to articulate a new kind of politics –post-ethnic politics – with a cultural orientation that stronglypromoted unity through celebration of cultural diversity.In the 70s and 80s, we had intense discussion on National CulturalPolicy. It was an intellectual and emotional movement that, amongother concerns, focused on the needs of non-Malay Malaysiancommunities, seeking a fair and sensitive representation of theircultural elements in the development of a National Culture, which of course included vernacular education. The spirit of “Rukunegara” also came to strongly articulate a similartendency, comprehensively: “achieving a more perfect unityamongst the whole of her society; preserving a democratic way of life; creating a just society where the prosperity of the country canbe enjoyed together in a fair and equitable manner; guaranteeing aliberal approach towards her rich and varied cultural traditions; andbuilding a progressive society that will make use of science andmodern technology.”Another concept, “Malaysian Malaysia”, used in the early and mid-60s was widely associated with the then Singapore Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew. Of course the notion has gone into oblivion, onlyraised in opposition slogans here and there, now and then.Because it was critical of article 153 and directly challenged thenotion of Malay privileges, it was seen as an intensely disruptiveconcept and was criticised by many, including the then MCApresident, Tan Siew Sin.