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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ketuanan Melayu and other issues. A Response to tiching99.

I am responding to a very interesting heartfelt comment from a Malaysian Chinese, currently working and living in the United Kingdom, who wrote to me expressing his distress and dismay after reading my earlier post where I state that the concept of Ketuanan Melayu here in Malaysia is a thing to be accepted and submitted to by each and every citizen.

I can understand his worries and even fears of Mahaguru58 being a bloody racist which I am truly and surely not.

Read my replies to him and also learn as to why I said so in the first place.

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Dear tiching99,

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for putting across your comments in a manner that speaks volumes about the kind of person that you are.

It is this kind of comments and discussion that I so love and welcome even if it is a comment that does not agree with the way I have wrote my viewpoints here with regard to the state of affairs concerning the realities of the unspoken Malaysian social contract or accepted 'way of life' of this land.

I would be lying if I just wrote rosy pictures of how things really are in the 'Kingdom of Malaysia', wouldn't I?

Now, would you be pleased and satisfied if i had written that Malaysia is a land where meritocracy is practiced by the day in every aspect of our life?

Would you be satisfied if I had said that any Malaysian regardless of creed or color can become the Malaysian Prime Minister?

I would be a liar and a fool , right?

So dear tiching99, please understand my points and realize that no matter how beautiful the scenario would be for those like you if such a thing ever happens, the harsh reality is that as long as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, things here in Malaysia are going to be the same as long as UMNO calls the shots and the other members of the BN Coalition parties concur and submit to this agreement, failing which, God forbid, Malaysia will come apart at the seams.

Reality sir..reality!

Not wishing to be a source of bad news to you but just stating the facts of life here as it is and as I assume, will always be.

No one is labeling you as anything for working in UK. I'd do the same if I could. Make hay while the sun shines, they say.

Malaysia is our home sir despite the occasional hiccups that take place within our lives.

It ain't Paradise but sure beats living in any other strife torn war zone, doesn't it?

All these disparities dissipate into thin air when one has attained a considerable income through one's own enterprise and when one is rich and wealthy, all these nitty gritty day to day struggle for existence becomes a distant memory for many, especially the rich and wealthy Non Muslim Malaysians.

You think Michelle Yeoh worries as to where her next meal is going to come from?

You think Ananda Krishnan loses a wink of sleep worrying about HINDRAF, etcetera?

Hell no!

It's all up to us, each and every Malaysian to go strive and earn our keep.

As for those who use the race and religious card to make their money, well..they will have to answer to Our Maker later when they face Him on Judgment Day.

You talk about eliminating 'Ketuanan Melayu’. Easier said than done sir.

Not one ethnicity here on Earth will ever do such a thing. Pure fallacy!

Removing their ownership and control of power in government? Not even in liberal countries such as Sweden, Denmark or any other European country!

You might quote one or two examples of how some individuals from Asia have made it in some big corporations in the West or how some Chinese or Indians have been elected as the Mayor of a county or Governor of a state in the United States of America or in England, etc.

That doesn‘t mean that he or she will make it to the office of the President of the United States of America or even as British Prime Minister. Mark my words. Not in a million years.

People will always remain as they are. Deep down in everyone’s hearts, racial discrimination thrives albeit secretly. Outwardly, they might come across as being nice and diplomatic but when push comes to shove, their true colors will erupt and avail themselves to the whole, wide world.

People are naturally inclined to trust their own race and own faith. Yet we also have come across many beautiful examples of human beings who love just about everybody, animals, insects and plants that they come across as living angels with not a morsel of evil in their selfs save for delusions as to who is their true God that they must submit to and worship?

Basically, each and every human being will naturally prefer to favor their own kind, won't they?

Facing up to such realities is what makes one wiser by the day and not beguile ourselves to a life full of fantasy.

I would like to draw attention to your statements regarding how dismayed you are that I too seem fixated on the concept of the Malays being superior to other races in Malaysia based on the ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ principle.

All this time, I have been aware that a percentage of Malays are fervent supporters of Ketuanan Melayu, but I always assumed that they would be uneducated or poor and were merely misinformed about the alleged "threat" to the Malays. However, to read that you, a seemingly educated and progressive Malay, are of the opinion that I will never be your equal, is extremely depressing.

You are a bit mistaken there dear tiching99.

I am not a racist. I am a Muslim. Being a racist would mean that one is so fixated on one’s origins and one’s preference to put one’s own race before any other in each and every aspect of one’s life.

I am not in any way a true blue racist sir. I am a Caller to Islam. In Islam, there is no race based, ethnic oriented way of thinking and if you would care to read up on the Last Sermon of the Final Messenger of God, Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam reiterating the equality of us the Children of Adam before God except for the matter of Faith in God and one’s own deeds and misdeeds, there is not an iota of discriminating anyone based on the color of one’s skin or the origins of one’s lineage.

I do not even differentiate between any person except for learning as to whom to befriend and worth getting to know better and staying away from those whose hearts and soul are blackened by extreme hatred and animosity based purely on the difference of race and creed.

My insurance agent for so many years is my friend Ramakrishna from AIG’S ALL CARE AGENCY, a devout Hindu. I still give him my business because we both worked in AIG before and also because he is my friend. The man is as Hindu as he can be but still, I have never shied away from acknowledging him to be my friend and have kept him as my agent even when there are hundreds of thousands of Takaful Insurance agents around!

Hell, if I wanted to, I could just pass on over my business to MENJ’s dad, a Takaful agent. MENJ and I are quite close as he is the Secretary General of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance of which I am the founding Protem Committee President.

I am no racist sir. Just stating the facts of life here in Malaysia as it is.

If there’s any discrimination going on in my life, it would be in staying away from misled folks who do not know how to differentiate between right and wrong, fact and fantasy, realities and illusions or assumptions, in which category you clearly do not fall into and should not worry too much about.

I am honored to get this comment from you which reaffirms my belief that there are many Malaysians out there who are still good enough to befriend and discuss these issues in a manner befitting our existence as true blue Malaysians, where some of the nicest people I have come to know belong to.

A comment of yours that needs to be responded to is in this paragraph as shown below:

It is encouraging that you are a fervent champion of the democratic process. However, if a democratic change in government resulted in the abolishing of Ketuanan Melayu, would you accept it as the will of the people? Would your brothers and sisters? Would the 14-million odd Malays? Distressingly, your article has led me to believe otherwise.

I for one sir have no problems in accepting anyone as my fellow brother and sister in Islam as long as they believe in God as I do and observe all the principles of faith and do good deeds.

Having said that, I still regard each and every human being as my brother and sister in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Mankind as we are all the Children of Adam and Eve.

The only difference is the matter of Faith and Religious Practices.

Although I accept that each human being is a brother or sister to me, the glaring difference in religion remains a barrier that dissipates into thin air once he or she testifies that ‘There is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the final messenger of God’. Period.

I am a Program Consultant for the Shanghai Jiao Tong University - Global Hanyu & Culture Center here in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia sir.

If I am as you fear a racist championing 'Ketuanan Melayu' to the letter as you imply, would I be promoting the learning of Putonghua Hanyu Mandarin, the standard language of billions of Chinese from mainland China in the first place?

No way, right?

I know how to differentiate between a rich traditional social and cultural heritage that is the key to better understanding and business bridge building between Malays and Chinese, sir than to dwell in the petty differences that are usually the result of ill informed uncultured folks and destroy any chances of networking amongst us Muslims and Non Muslims in seeking a better future for all!

Fear is good tiching99. It helps to stop us from taking things for granted especially when it concerns the basic foundations of living together in a multi ethnic, multi faithed nation such as ours.

Realizing the do’s and don’ts when touching on subjects as sensitive as socio-political-religious matters helps keep us on our toes and to realize that in a world as diverse and as interesting as ours here in Malaysia, sometimes such a kaleidoscopic way of life and our various ethnicities and traditional values is what makes us to be so special in the eyes of the world.

When certain quarters amongst us choose to rock the boat and attempt to sink us from within, don’t you think that such unfounded causes and fears need to be corrected by straight talking articles and viewpoints such as mine?

I am for all Malaysians to enjoy a better way of life. Street protests and hooliganism has yet to prove to be the panacea for all their ills.

Sometimes, the source of treatment is right smack in their own self’s. Nurturing the right mindset and knowing what one needs to do to improve one’s lot within the framework of national interests and guidelines is all that it takes.

Having unfounded fears being stoked day in and day out by those with vested interests and foul agendas only serve to drive us further apart and will in turn also start to consume them from deep within.

Living in hatred and animosity towards others only adds to their current miseries in terms of adding on unnecessary mental stress, physical dangers and even imprisonment or worse getting shot and killed on our nation’s streets.

Failure to learn as to how best to go about seeking whatever it is that one is unhappy about just shows to us and the whole wide world, the lack of rationale behavior and commonsense in the movement that tends to destroy more than what it intends to acquire and to build up especially in the life’s of such desperadoes who took to the streets on the 25th of November, 2007, here in Kuala Lumpur and at Batu Caves, Selangor.

Go see for yourselves, the various videoclips and articles plus news reports that are being posted in Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today.

Although both alternative web news portals publish many articles and news reports that are deemed as sensitive by the government's mainstream mass media, you would be able to learn a more balanced viewpoint and editors there than in any other major news papers or broadcasting stations.

Don't worry tiching99. We will still remain as good natured well balanced Malaysians forever.

6 comments:

mooiness said...

Being a former Malaysian Chinese (now Australian) I accept and understand your point of view that the power of government will usually be in the hands of the majority race.

It's as inevitable as glass ceilings within corporations where most top-level executives are from the "home" countries.

So, I have no problems with accepting that Malaysia will be governed by a Malay-dominated government for a long time yet. And I also accept that certain limitations and biases against the minority races are to be expected.

However, not many countries in the world legislate it in a form like the NEP in Malaysia does. Meaning, while racial discrimination exists in all countries, not many countries have it programmed into their governing systems. At least not when the beneficiaries of this system is for the majority of the population, and not means-tested.

So I'm guessing that is the gist of tiching99's gripe and perhaps also those of many other non-Malays in Malaysia.

As a pipe-dream, I would like to see affirmative-action policies that will help the poor of Malaysia, regardless of race. But let's get rid of the corruption, the cronyism and the judicial problems first yeah? :)

mahaguru58 said...

Absolutely correct and wise viewpoints sir.

Although we all know that in a true democracy, it is a fundamental right for all citizens to be accorded equal rights and fair distribution of resources.

Reality comes a calling though that in this world, there is yet to be a true fair and square democracy.

Wishing for such a reality is everyone's right.

Seeing it happen in one's lifetime, especially here...I don't think so.

Reality of Malay lordship over the immigrant population's offsprings here in current day Malaysia is an unavoidable situation that I and rational minded Malaysians know will remain till Doomsday as long as the Malays call the shots.

Dissenters can't do nothing much except maybe to gripe within or go explore other much more democratic host nations.

As much as they would love to see their dreams come true, recent events are a sign that this will never be.

As your wish, I too would like to see the end of corruption, cronyism and a clean judiciary.

The thing is, do those in power have it in them to wish for the same and actually do something about it when it is their fingers caught in the cookie jar?

Now, that's something that we all need to seriously fret about.

rational thinker said...

dear sir, your reply to the first comment is literally, "go away if you don't like it here.".

Firstly, as much as we re descendents of immigrants, there are at least 50% "bumiputera" out there who re descendents of immigrants, your current and the previous Prime Minister for example. So, what's exactly is the rationale for "the rightful right"?

Secondly, it boils down to the question of political play. As long as our rural Malay heartland voters and our umnoputera n chinese n indians n lain2 who enjoyed the fruits of the patronage, do not wake up from the slumber, there is no way we ll eliminate concept of ketuanan melayu. The hardworking but poor malays have to be made known that the NEP system actually did not benefits anyone of them, but harmed our nations in myriads of manners. However, it is like a viscious cycle. without any strong political will to conquer the fear and overcome the resistant for a freer, equal and UNITED Malaysia, the only equilibrium is for all the ables malaysians to run away to the greener pasture overseas.

What's the consequences to Malaysia in a long run? Dear sir, you should know that very well yourself.

Thanks

Trashed said...

Reminds me of the quandary that had developed in Fiji. The growth of the migrant Indians on the island had also increased their political reach and eventually, through the democratic process of voting, the minority Indians managed to obtain a slight majority in the Fijian Parliament.

However, the Fijian army saw to it that this democratic process was stymied and the military junta took control. Interestingly, our own govt under Tun Dr M, was in support of the Fijian coup.

I see parallels in this with the topic - democracy is good until the power is threatened.

Of course, the most famous Fijian personality is an Indian bloke who has a Malaysian wife. His name is Vijay Singh.

tiching99 said...

Mahaguru58

Thank you for your reply to my earlier comment.

First of all, it seems that I have come off as accusing you of being racist in my comment. Let me assure you that I most certainly did not intend to do so. In hindsight, certain passages should have been worded differently, and for that I apologise. "Racist" is an extremely strong word that I think is frequently abused by many Malaysians. The KKK were racists. The Nazis were racist. In my opinion, Malaysians are not. To those Malaysians who accuse fellow Malaysians of being racist, I would advise them to go to Bosnia, a KKK or a Neo-Nazi meeting and discover the true meaning of racism before spewing such vitriol at your countrymen and women.

Also, allow me to clarify that I do not wish for the elimination of Ketuanan Melayu per se. What I wish for is for us to be in a situation where there is no need for Ketuanan Melayu. The NEP was born to address the disparity of wealth between the Chinese and the Malays. Therefore, my wish is not for the NEP to be abolished, but for the NEP to successfully re-distribute the nation’s economy and wealth proportionately to the Malays. When that aims and goals of the NEP has been achieved, there will be no need for affirmative action, and a true socialist government would be the icing on the cake. Similarly, the need for Ketuanan Melayu, I feel, stems from the concern that the Chinese or Indians would only pursue the welfare of our own races. Based on the disparity of wealth between the Chinese and the Malays of yesteryear, I would say that this is a perfectly legitimate concern. However, I also feel that this us-against-them attitude that permeates the Malaysian psyche, regardless of ethnicity, has its roots in the lack of, and more recently the occasional absence of, interaction between races. Like yourself, I have several good Malay friends and Indian friends from my childhood, and as such whatever happens in Malaysian race-relations, I will always remember that we are capable of living together as compatriots. On the flipside, I have several Chinese friends who have grown up with little interaction with Malays or Indians, and I have seen first hand how the lack of interaction breeds contempt and animosity. Hence, we have to get to the root of the problem: Chinese and Tamil schools.

I myself am a product of an independent Chinese secondary school. However, I went to a government primary school, and it was from there that my most lasting friendships with Malays were formed. It is at these formative years of innocent childhood that we must encourage the interaction between the races. We cannot achieve integration if we segregate our children at such a young age. As such, the Chinese and Indians are equally guilty of the situation we are in today. How can we integrate with our Malay brothers and sisters when we ourselves separate our children from day one? Returning the Ketuanan Melayu issue, when we achieve real integration, and we can trust another race of being equally concerned of the others' welfare as compatriots, would that not negate the need for Ketuanan Melayu? The idealist in me would like to think so.

I would have to disagree with you when you say that no one ethnicity would remove their control of Government, though I can see what you mean. I too do not think that Japan, China or Taiwan will ever have a non-Japanese or non-Chinese premier. However, these are mono-ethnic countries, while we are a multi-ethnic country. As you probably know, a mixed-race candidate whose father is African is about to run for the Presidency of the USA. This would quite certainly have been unthinkable to ordinary Americans as recent as 50 years ago. Even Peru had an ethnically Japanese President for 10 years (Alberto Fujimori 1990-2000). Will we have an Indian or Chinese PM in my lifetime? Most definitely not. Will we ever have an Indian or Chinese PM in the future? It might take hundreds of years or more, but I would like to think that it would be a possibility with the right candidate.

Allow me to put forward my thoughts on the Hindraf demonstrations. There are three major reasons why Malaysia is such an attractive option for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): A highly educated workforce, our location, and our political stability. The same political stability that was jeopardised by incidents such as the Hindraf demonstrations. While the Indians have some legitimate grievances against the government, the demonstration on the 25th did not. Did they really think that the British Government would pay them US$ 4 trillion? It is one thing to demonstrate against the government, but to immediately convey their grievances to a foreign country has only served to erode race-relations for those Indians who didn't support their cause célèbre. Yet the Police were not without blame either. Was it necessary to silence the demonstrations with tear gas and water cannons? There was no report or evidence of violence by the demonstrators (though, I could be wrong) so the Police's actions resulted in a field day for the international media for them to promote the stereotype of Malaysia as a third-world country, devoid of free-speech, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

I would have to agree with everything you say at the end of this article. While I was dismayed to read your previous article, what I failed to convey was that I was also encouraged that we Malays and Chinese are perfectly capable of stimulating, reasonable and adult debate. You probably know as well as I do that discussing race-relations is such a taboo issue that I have never dared to broach the subject with any of my Malay friends. To be able to do so, albeit under the anonymity of the internet, is a breath of fresh air. You are absolutely right that for all that is said and done, we Malaysians are extremely fortunate. We live a good life, with relative political stability and a good economy. For this, we must not forget to be thankful.

Lastly, I realise that I am an idealist whose ideas occasionally seem too far fetched, while you, I feel, are more of a realist. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. Malaysia needs people like you and me, and if we can meet somewhere in the middle, our country would be a better place for our children.

Three cheers for hope!

mahaguru58 said...

Well spoken sir!

If you ever return home, give me a call . 6-016-3969881.

Would be my pleasure to have a cuppa with you.

All the best in your career over in the UK and I pray that you and your loved ones will be safe and well always.

Best regards and hoping to hear more from you on any issues that I write here.

Mahaguru58
Bandar Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur.