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Hence, if two groups of believers fall to fighting, make peace between them; but then, if one of the two [groups] goes on acting wrongfully towards the other, fight against the one that acts wrongfully until it reverts to God’s commandment; and if they revert , make peace between them with justice, and deal equitably [with them]: for verily, God loves those who act equitably.

All believers are but brethren. Hence [whenever they are at odds,] make peace between your two brethren, and remain conscious of God, so that you might be graced with His mercy.

AL-HUJURAT  (9-10)

ONE MALAYSIA

ONE (I)MALAYSIA is a brilliant use of language and an innovative political strategy!

It is a conglomerate concept that incorporates the ideals of the nation, the ideals that each of the previous Malaysian Prime Ministers espoused in his own way!

It is at once a cry for unity and integration, equity and fairness, excellence and determination, equality and egalitarianism!

As a slogan it is an example of effective language use because it has many implications.  It utilises number and word – ONE MALAYSIA or I MALAYSIA – which are catchy and easy to write and to say. The number I makes people remember Malaysia as the first – in its many endeavours, in its many achievements!

It reinforces the result-oriented society that MALAYSIA BOLEH inspired not so long ago!

As a political strategy it is innovative because it has removed the thorn in the nation’s flesh – the word “race” or “bangsa”. At once ONE MALAYSIA neutralises the racial distinctions that we tried so hard to eliminate in the concept of “BANGSA MALAYSIA” – the concept that became dangerously ambiguous because of the word “bangsa”.  

As a first step, Dato’ Seri Najib the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia shows he has been listening intently to the voices of his predecessors and the cries of his people. He is now articulating his own visions in a language relevant to the times. He is rightly marrying traditional wisdom with youthful modernity!

Sceptics, critics and cynics, of which there are many, will of course say this is yet another of UMNO’s/ of BN’s desperate attempts to revive its ailing popularity. They will say it is yet another one of those cocktails of cleverness concocted by the new PM’s think tanks and advisers to produce the first positive impact on the nation! Just as they will assess the immediate release of the 13 ISA detainees and the  3 walkabouts in the Chinese, Malay and Indian hotbeds yesterday as political ploys!    

But I say WHY NOT!

When has a positive move become wrong?

Why should efforts to mend fences and to renew good neighbourliness be viewed negatively?

How does a good intention become a bad motive?

I say instead of being the armchair critics that many of us have grown to be, why don’t we all ask ourselves:

HOW CAN WE, AT EACH OF OUR LEVELS, IN EACH OF OUR COMMUNITIES, WITH EACH OF OUR EXPERTISE AND SKILLS TRANSLATE THIS VISION INTO SOMETHING REAL, SOMETHING MEANINGFUL, SOMETHING THAT WILL ACHIEVE THE RESULTS TO REALLY MAKE MALAYSIA NUMBER ONE?

This is the real challenge!

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