Malaysian Prime Minister addresses aims to unite diversity
A Cold War of Cultures?
Summarizing the ‘1 Malaysia song’, “the world is in a change and the mission for Malaysias citizens is to unite.” Since September 2010 Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak undertook many efforts to encourage Malay, Chinese and Indians to not live seperately from the other cultures. A 1Malaysia marathon, the 1Malaysia dinner or the 1Malaysia Day are just some of the activities that aimed to open a national forum in which every citizen could have the possibility to share their ideas on political, environmental and cultural issues.
The thoughts of young Malaysians on the necessity of the whole program, however, remain as diverse as Malaysia is in cultures. “Malaysia has always been a country of many races with different cultures, religions and backgrounds living together",
Business student Gabriella Teoh (of Chinese origin), thinks otherwise: "It's good to have this program, since there are lots of people in Malaysia who are racist to each other.This is because 70% of them are only minding their own business."
In July 2011 the Prime Minister launched the 1Malaysia Housing Programme, which was built to offer cheaper appartments for Malaysian people who earn less than 6000RM (€1.500) per month. An online platform was also designed to offer all citizens from the age of 15 to take part in discussions concerning the future. The 1Malaysia song was produced to motivate all people to put their attention towards the issue of racism in the country and other problems that have to be solved.
“You sometimes hear people saying there is a ‘cold war’ going on between them”, explains Daniel Ideris, a Malaysian web content assistant in a press company in Kuala Lumpur. That said, he does doubt that the 1Malaysia campaign activities will eventually change a lot. In his opinion respect for diversity is already to be found within Malaysian culture. “If we do not like each other, we tell it in a proper way”, he adds.