Monday, February 3, 2014

Is NUCC Najib’s ‘empty vessel’?

The National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) mooted by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is in the infancy stage but it has already received bashing from various parties for giving its view on the recent incident that saw copies of the Bibles being confiscated.

First and foremost, in my opinion, NUCC should not have made any unwarranted comment even before making public their blueprint and pillars that will be the mainframe towards achieving the objectives outlined by the PM.
Their premature comment has indeed backfired as organisations and personalities in lightning speed condemned NUCC’s take on the Bible issue.

NUCC’s knee-jerk reaction has definitely projected them as being another watchdog rather than being a consultative council to unite the people consisting of various races and religions with vast ideologies.
NUCC members have to realise that their task is herculean in nature and thus they should place their foundation on firm ground before making public their views.
Participating and getting embroiled in pertinent issues and providing piece-meal thoughts and opinions can derail their main mission and vision.
The next question is how will NUCC bridge or build the connectivity between the council’s recommendation to the government and the rakyat?
All recommendations will eventually fall on the laps of Putrajaya and its political masters Barisan Nasional.
And it does not take a nuclear scientist to deduce that BN, which is basically dominated and steered by Umno and its warlords, is a granite-headed organisation that will not allow any creature to rattle their idiosyncrasies and territorial ground.
Since NUCC does have members that are not in the good books of Umno and their affiliates, how far will they be successful in drilling through their recommendations?
Unity is a big and bold word. To gel the various races into a harmonised frequency to think as Malaysians first is just near impossible. Various attempts have fallen flat as history has witnessed, so what makes Najib so sure that the NUCC will be an answer to the country’s woes?
It may be premature to judge the outcome at this moment, but then again it can be safely be speculated that this project is another wasted attempt from the beginning.
In the spirit of fairness, even if we assume reservedly that the PM does take their advice, will he be brave enough to implement it and take on the resistance from his comrades in the BN camp?
Najib and the government have made bad on many of their promises made before the general election. Public anger and hatred is on the rise. From escalating cost of living to religious sensitivities, Najib has not winked a concern to handle the issues at hand.
Hoping to have NUCC come into the ring with a magic wand to enhance unity is nothing short of day-dreaming and building castles in the air.
Racially-based economic policies rather than needs-oriented ones since independence have taken apart the little cohesiveness we have had among the different races over the years. Slowly, but surely we are eroding into a society that has become selfish and self-centred.
Each race has demarcated its territory using religion, education and various economic drivers in fear of losing to the other.
Of late, religion has taken the limelight, but not to forget that education, too, has played devil in the society over the decades.
Vernacular and religious schools have further widen the gap among Malaysians and racial tolerance is on free fall mode to a point of crashing violently.
So what miracle can we anticipate from NUCC that will uplift the rotten foundation and system to revive unity?
No one can “generate” unity by composing volumes of recommendations after sitting in boardroom meetings and conferences.
No amount of road shows and campaigns is going to help. Let us face reality and accept that unity breeds within an individual first which then propagates into the community and only then onto the larger society.
Will NUCC be brave enough to urge the BN government to embrace a paradigm shift for the sake of enhancing unity? Will NUCC be able to slap the faces of these chieftains if the council members think it is morally right to do so for unity?
I also dare NUCC to go public with all their recommendations that are accepted or rejected by the cabinet in the name of transparency in the coming months. Let us see how far they can go with Najib. Lame excuses will not pacify the rakyat anymore.
If NUCC does not have the willpower to do so from the initial stage, it might as well dissolve the entity voluntarily and not waste the time and effort. The nation does not have the necessity to fill the archives with academic recommendations that never see the day light.
Narinder Singh is a FMT team member.

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