PM Najib completely missed the point on ‘Unity Day’

PM Dato' Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak handing over a media award to Utusan Malaysia's Dato' Zaini Hassan

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak summarily said ‘no’ to ‘Unity Day’ call by Utusan Malaysia, via Deputy Group Chief Editor Dato’ Zaini Hassan’s ‘Cuit’ article “13 Mei dan 21 Julai: Fakta sejarah mengapa perlu takut?” dated 10 November 2010.

The Sun reported the statement:

No need to commemorate May 13  


PUTRAJAYA (Nov 17, 2010): There is no need to mark May 13 as a remembrance day for the racial tragedy that took place in 1969, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today.

He said he does not subscribe to the view that May 13 be marked as a day of remembrance as urged by several quarters, including a Malay daily newspaper, which called for it to be marked as “Unity Day”.

“There is no need to mark May 13 as a day of remembrance,” Najib said after a video conferencing session with Malaysian students in six overseas countries in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilhadha.

“We must take a lesson from the incident and do all we can to ensure it is not repeated,” he said.

Najib was responding to calls from several parties to declare May 13 as day of remembrance, and a day for Malaysians to celebrate their diversity and forge greater unity.

The opposition parties, particularly the DAP, shot down the idea, saying the incident should not be used as a political tool.


PM Najib completely missed the point. Zaini suggested that 13 May be commemorated annually in a positive node and tone; with specific focus on ‘unity’, ‘tolerance’, ‘understanding’, ‘accommodating’, ‘give-and-take’ and “the sliver lining from the dark clouds”. Something good and positive that could be taught to the young ones, especially the younger and future generations.

Without doubt 13 May 1969 racial riots within Kuala Lumpur was started from deviant minority Non Malays with ill intent insulted the Malay majority after winning the May 1969 General Elections which left Selangor State Government hung at the times where the Malays as the majority already felt slighted being left from mainstream development, specifically in terms of economic and socio-economic standing.

Something positive came out of the Emergency that was declared in the Klang Valley, Parliament suspension and National Operation Council. A national level consultative council was formed and every political parties which represented all ethnic groups were invited and responded, with the exception of DAP. The consultative council adopted the suggestion of New Economic Model from the consensus achieved. The Federal Government came up with the Rukun Negara as a pledge of allegiance.

‘Unity Day’ should be encouraged on school children with all the positive values and nodes. They should be encouraged to have debates, essay, poetry, drama and public speaking competition designed to instill the spirit of ‘Unity’ with specific emphasis on ‘unity’, ‘tolerance’, ‘understanding’, ‘accommodating’, ‘give-and-take’ and what have been provided in the Federal Constitution.

It is all about getting them to talk about the values that ‘1 Malaysia’ stood for and 13 May is a good day to commemorate that annually in schools and amongst the communities.

We could learn from the Singaporeans. 21 July annually is celebrated as ‘Racial Harmony Day’. It is to commemorate the 21 July 1964 racial riots. However the Singaporean authorities turned the day into a day where all inter racial positive nodes are instilled onto school children.

So far, only the Oppositions were adamant that Zaini’s call for ‘Unity Day’ was ‘seditious’. Of course Malaysian Insider did their best to skew the thinking towards the Chinese Chauvinist DAP’s alley. It is expected because Chinese Chauvinist DAP throve on riding on ‘hatred politics’ as their core to their struggle remaining relevant in Malaysian politics. After all, they are a spin off from PAP whose brief presence in Malaysia between 1964-65 manage to divide the racial gap further.

The ‘Unity Day’ call may come from Utusan Malaysia, the Malay daily with the hardliner voice. However, they were taking a middle approach to strategically narrow in the racial divide between the ethnic groups and heal a scar from Malaysia’s darkest past in the most positive node. PM Najib should allow the discussion on the ‘Unity Day’ to develop further.

Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 22:49  Comments (16)