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It is possible for Malay-based parties to unite under a single umbrella, provided several conditions, including putting aside egos and severing ties with common rivals, are met. - NSTP/SADAM YUSOFF

KUALA LUMPUR: IT is possible for Malay-based parties to unite under a single umbrella, provided several conditions, including putting aside egos and severing ties with common rivals, are met.

While the end goal would be to unite Malaysians under the Bangsa Malaysia concept, the first step would have to be uniting the majority race.

Pas deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the Islamist party had not changed its stance on welcoming talks by anyone, including non-Malay parties.

This, he said, was as long as all quarters accepted the party’s conditions.

“One of our conditions is that the party cannot be a puppet of DAP or even be close to them.

“No chauvinists are welcome or anyone who wants to change the country’s structure.

“Of course, the real achievement would be to have a united Bangsa Malaysia, but it has to start somewhere and that would be uniting the backbone of this country, which is the majority race, the Malays.

Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man

“We can accept anyone as long as the agenda of the ummah and Islam is placed at the highest level.”

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Redzuan Yusof said Malay unity was vital for the country to achieve stability.

Redzuan, who is entrepreneur development minister, said there had been discussions among Malay leaders of different parties.

This was especially so in light of the growing racial sentiments played out on social media.

He said working towards the Bangsa Malaysia concept was now timely.

“To do that, we have to return to our Constitution and Rukun Negara, which is aimed at creating harmony and unity among the races.

“To unite Bangsa Malaysia, Malays must unite first. After that, the question would be who would lead this Bangsa Malaysia.

“Is it the Chinese, the Indians, Malays or the Orang Asli?

“To me, Malays, as the majority race must lead Bangsa Malaysia.

“I proposed this idea to Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein recently, and he agreed to it,” he told the New Straits Times.

Hishammuddin, who is former defence minister, had yesterday on his social media accounts, penned his thoughts on the importance of unification, which must first be championed by political leaders.

He also stressed the need for leaders to be courageous and put aside their emotions.

Talks on the unification of Malay parties began recently, especially after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made the call for others to join Bersatu to unite Malays.

Dr Mahathir said the community was becoming fragmented due to the presence of too many Malay-based parties, which would make electoral success more elusive.

However, the idea of consolidating Malay-based parties seems far away.

Redzuan said while there had not been any formal negotiation between Malay-based political parties on consolidation, there had been informal discussions.

“These discussions involved personal opinions on how we can achieve the final goal, which is to realise the Bangsa Malaysia concept.

“The opinions varied from having a consolidation of (party) members to forming a coalition, informal cooperation and on cooperating during elections,” he said.

Institute for Policy Research chairman Datuk Khalid Jaafar, who is a PKR member, said the idea of unifying Malay-based parties should be considered.

The adviser to the economic affairs minister said it was important for all quarters to understand the wish of Malays for the country to be led by Malay leaders.

“Any political movement must be realistic with the Malaysian demographic, where Malays and Bumiputeras are the majority.

“This call should be considered but it must also be stressed that it is not racial, otherewise there will be resistance by many people, including some Malays.

“The way I see it, the basis of a stable Malaysia lies in addressing the issues and insecurities of Malays,” he said.

However, his colleague, PKR central executive committee member Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid has a different view, saying that leaders had to make the goal clear.

He said the sentiment of uniting the Malays first is puzzling, given the fact that since the country’s independence, Malaysia had always belonged to the races.

Datuk Khalid Jaafar

“We have to think of the plurality of our society where everyone, regardless of his race, has certain rights that make him Malaysian.

“My question is, what is the goal of this unification?

“If it’s just about enriching yourself, then forget about it.

“What’s important is to drive this country to success while eliminating bad influences.”

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said it was time for political leaders to contain their “super egos” and begin to compromise.

Rahman said that for the greater good of the nation, leaders need to find the political courage to seek common ground, adding that he supported the idea.

“The manoeuvring behind the scene is quite frantic, I suppose. Everyone is trying to find that elusive combination of the magic number of 112 (seats in the Dewan Rakyat).

“It’s not good, actually. A lot of uncertainties lead to instability politically and economically,” he said.

Asked on the refusal of some Malay leaders to cooperate with anyone seen to be friendly with DAP, Rahman said it was a factor that should be considered by looking at the bigger picture in achieving the end goal.

He believed the consolidation of Malay parties was not possible with DAP in the equation, saying “they are not part of the solution as they are part of the problem”.

The focus for now, he said, was for Malay leaders to grab the opportunity to unite and ensure that the majority in the
country would feel at ease.

“I think the Malay and Bumiputera electorates won’t forgive their leaders if they squander this golden opportunity to unite.

“This opportunity, if missed, won’t come again for a long, long time.

“A very weary, restless and worried majority is not good for the nation or any nation for that matter.

“If the majority feel marginalised and unattended, that spells trouble.”

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