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Sunday, July 31, 2011

PM dodges 'Malay first-Malaysian second' poser

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak evaded a potential minefield today by dodging a question over his deputy's 'Malay first, Malaysian second' statement.

najib at ukec student forum 310711By stating his position as to whether he is 'Malay first, Malaysian first' - or vice-versa - would land him either at odds with his 1Malaysia ideal, or Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

And a rift between the prime minister and his deputy, in Malaysia, can have significant repercussions on the stability of the top leadership, he noted.

"I won't respond in a way that will divide me and my deputy. In Malaysia, that can be very dangerous.

"People will say, look here, the prime minister and his deputy are not on the same page," said Najib.

ukec forum studentsThe members of the government cabinet, he assured his audience, are all reading from the same playbook, notwithstanding perceptions to the contrary.

"Take it from me: 1Malaysia is still our guiding philosophy, (as long as we) be (sic) fair and are guided by our constitution," said Najib, steering clear away from definitive statements.

The prime minister was responding to a question from the audience at the 5th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit after his closing speech at the event held in Kuala Lumpur today.

In a press conference in Parliament last year, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that he was Malay first, and Malaysian second.

NONEThe Pagoh MP was responding to a challenge from DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, who said that the acid test for 1Malaysia is for BN ministers to say they are Malaysians first and everything else second.

Muhyiddin, however, said that he was "Malay first and Malaysian second" for fear of being accused of being a traitor to his mainly Malay constituency.

He labelled Lim's challenge as a trap to produce just that kind of result.

Muhyiddin's answer became immediate fodder for opposition leaders who questioned the commitment of Najib's own hand-picked cabinet to his 1Malaysia pet project.

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