A regular commentator of my blog wrote me a comment in my previous article which I had replied in the form of a brief history coupled with my own opinion on the subject.
Just want to comment on the Special Rights. I still don’t get it. It is saying the Malays and their leaders are weak. Without it, the country will be taken over by the non-Malays (which includes the Iban and Kadazan). And if the political and judicial power is not in the hands of the Malays, these rights will be trampled?
And you believe that all men are born unequal? That goes to say that the Almighty created some people weaker than the rest – physically or intellectually, hence they can’t work harder or learn to be smarter, due to their inherent limitations set by the Almighty.
Therefore, we need special rights for this people. For without it, despite being greater in number, their inborn limitations will forever render them unable to compete on equal footing.
You only need to defend something when it is under attack. And from what I can see, the only ‘attack’ against these special rights is that the nons are somehow more ‘able’ economically, intellectually, physically, etc due to whatever reasons, only the Almighty knows for he has decided to endow them with greater abilities. But then didn’t we all come from the same stock, from Adam and Eve.
It will soon be 500 years since the Portuguese invasion, and looks like the Malays are still continuously under attack. Yup, it’s always the foreign people isn’t it?
From – Msleepyhead
Jebat Must Die:
If you had read all my replies or articles, you will know that I do not advocate the perpetual (continuous) enforcement of the affirmative action in Malaysia. I for one believe that helping the Malays to the extent of pampering them is counter productive in forging a strong Malaysia. Till when will Malaysia hope to sustain itself just through the economical strength of the minority non Malays (especially the Chinese)?
I am deeply disturbed that most Malays especially the young seemed lazy while the old are only looking for a quick buck.
But your comment here touched on the article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution. Yes God created all men as equal. What makes them unequal is their ability to make a living. There is a great difference between those two factors. 500 years living through subsidies under colonial rule do not help much for the Malays to progress.
Imagine this. During the Melaka Sultanate, the Malays strove to better themselves economically. The rulers felt that if they wanted more wealth in their coffers, they have to fight or trade in order to get it. Being idle will make them die from hunger.
So what did they do? They did all that was possible to better themselves. Thus, the Melaka golden age was born. But then, as with many other civilisations, as what TDM said in his latest article, the Malays could not handle their wealth as good as they did with poverty.
When the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British came, their only concern was to exploit the natural resources of our country. To placate the people and especially the local monarchs (MALAY sultans), they pay these rulers handsome amount of money just to become their puppets. For the first time, the Malay rulers feel that even though they do not have to work, they still have money to spend with. And the people were often subsidised and made to do work in the industries set up by those colonialists. But what did we lose in the process? Our independence. Some may feel that the lost of independence was bearable as their livelihood was secured under the foreign rule.
Do not be surprised that when we asked for independence prior to 1957, some Malays do not want it, thinking that they would be better off under the British rule forever. Why deny a good thing going on when the future is yet unforeseen and unsecured? The Malayans want to govern themselves?! How preposterous! And so they claimed.
500 years under colonial rule left these people to be mentally incapacitated to see the light at the end of a dark tunnel. The idea that they have to struggle hard and make sacrifices was too alien for them to comprehend. Too bad that this idea is also firmly fermented in the minds of the Malays these days as what I mentioned in my 2nd paragraph.
It was only due to the strong sense of being equal with other races did some of the Malay leaders back in 1946 established Umno in order to fight the Malayan Union in 1946. These Malay leaders feel that if other people in other countries can rule themselves, why can’t we?
Our forefathers worked hard for independence. And they worked even harder to maintain it. Most countries fell hard on their faces after they achieved independence. But not Malaysia. One only have to compare our history and economic achievements with other countries to really appreciate what we had so far.
Being a multi racial country like ours requires sacrifices. From everyone who call themselves a Malaysian.
In 1955, the first general election saw 52 parliamentary seats contested. The MCA and the MIC contested in several seats even though politically, all of the parliamentary seats have the Malays as the majority.
If the argument of ‘being equal’ instead of ‘tolerance’ governs our judgment, then no parliamentary seats should have been given to the representative of other races besides the Malays back in 1955. Today, even with nearly 95% of all parliamentary seats in West Malaysia are populated with the Malays as the majority, the Chinese and the Indians were still given the seat for them to contest.
All this is due to the sacrifices made by the Malay leaders back then. One only had to listen to some of the critical voices of the Malays in 1955 when they see that their parliamentary election candidates were not Malays. But only through the concept of power sharing did we persevere. Today, a Chinese or Indian candidate in a Malay majority seat is a norm.
The nation could have gone the opposite way. Tunku Abdul Rahman was correct when he demanded the loyalty of the non Malays. A citizen must be loyal to the country first and foremost if one wants to be its citizen. With the advent of communism and socialist movements in the late 40’s and early 50’s, a heavy and difficult decision had to be made. Should the Malays, by their right as the local people, under the umbrella of the Malay Sultans, give away 1 million citizenships to the non Malays without knowing their allegiance?
But so they did. The newly 1 million citizens of Malaya at that time were given rights that even their motherland had refused to entertain. The right of citizenship of a newly independent nation. And with it, the rights and privilege of a normal citizen. The right to own land, and the right to own a living.
Thus, a nation was born. Along with it, the birth of the much talked about social contract and the Article 153 of the Constitution. Sacrifices were made. And so, the same sacrifice had to be called once again in 1970 when the NEP was introduced.
When the Currency Crisis plunged Asian countries into economic meltdown in 1997, almost all countries with economic disparity between their multi racial citizenry went into chaos.
Demonstrations and riots on the streets were a frequent phenomenon. In Indonesia, the Chinese were wrongly blamed for the sudden impoverishment of the majority populace. With only 4% Chinese in Indonesia, their 90% control of the Indonesian economy was greatly resented.
In Thailand, with the Chinese taking up 70% of the economic pie although their population is only 10%, the same uprising of the indigenous people occurred on daily basis in 1997.
All these riots resulted from racial tension deriving from the absence of an affirmative action imposed by the government of the day. Some may feel that this is just my excuse for the continuation of the Article 153. But, seeing the bigger picture, and how the nation would suffer from potential racial predicaments, it is therefore a necessary evil.
Nobody can truly predict human nature. A seemingly peaceful nation can be rocked when certain issues are riled up. A person, as an individual, is filled with common sense and good judgment. But a person in a group, can turn stupid and irrational.
When Indonesia had their own version of May 13 back in 1997, Malaysians remained relatively calm.
The emergence of NEP, as a form of risk management of the country was implemented in 1970 to mitigate the most catastrophic risk of a multi racial country could suffer – ethnic strife. Furthermore, this approach was agreed upon by all political party leaders in the ruling coalition.
Since 1970, some quarters felt that the NEP was unfair. They wanted to see the emergence of Bangsa Malaysia where everything runs on meritocracy. This is a fair statement to make. Even Vision 2020 had envisaged the creation of Bangsa Malaysia.
However, in a country where the majority of the population is poor while the minority is rich, attention must be given to the economically handicapped race despite the fact that this race forms more than 60% of the entire population.
Again, most of the mentally incapacitated Malays need to be helped in order to regain their footing economically and in sourcing for wealth.
The spirit and essence of the NEP, contrary to what the detractors believe, is not to deny the basic rights of the non Malays in accumulating wealth. In actual fact, it promotes the expansion of the economic pie so that all races can truly enjoy it. Although the Chinese may have a smaller slice from the pie unlike pre 1969, in reality, as the pie is made to grow bigger, their own economic slice will grow along with it.
This two pronged approach will promote national unity by appeasing the discontent among the Malays and also NOT to take away the wealth already acquired by the non Malays. Hence, with the NEP, the Malays were given privileges to headstart their plunge into businesses and become business savvy for them and the rest of their generation. Eventually, hardcore poverty will be the thing of the past.
A timeline of 30 years were given to quicken the pace in lessening the disparity of wealth between the races. By 1990, it was hoped that the equity wealth of the Malays are lifted from under 5% to 30% – a MODEST target for the Malays who form 66% of the population.
Not only the inter race wealth disparity needs to be eliminated, the intra race wealth disparity should also be done away with.
Due to the limited education given by the British to the Malays before independence, there arose a tiny percentage of very rich Malays in the past. They usually were the royalty and the Malay aristocrats.
By the late 70’s, due to the aggressive and progressive education system by the Government and guided by the NEP, the Malays were given the chance of receiving proper education and jobs which could eventually reduce the disparity.
Upholding the concept of ‘growing the economic pie’ without taking the rights of the non Malays, more schools and universities were built to cater for the growing numbers of Malay students. Building more schools and universities also ensured that the non Malays were not left behind when the Malay quotas was introduced in 1970. It would not make much sense if the quotas were enforced but the seats available for education remained the same.
But, in every system there lies several weaknesses. As I mentioned time and time again, the most glaring weakness is the human nature itself. The Malays could not handle the sudden wealth as good as they did with poverty.
When a leader had set up infrastructures and businesses for the Malays to manage, he did not take into account their greed. A great leader can only be as good as his followers. As for the case of Malaysia in the NEP era, it was the followers whom had let their leader and the rest of Malaysia down.
We heard and see how many times that a particular leader berated the Malays to not be greedy and cajoled them to work hard and think about their original struggle. And what was the original struggle? To make the Malays be in the same level playing field like the non Malays. It would be a waste of effort if after 50 years of independence, the nation could only produce a handful of rich Malay millionaires but the majority lies in a struggled existence. What more with the impending economic stagnation in the horizon.
Unlike the Chinese who has their own business and clan network (the Guanxi), the rich Malays were mostly selfish and think only about themselves.
Even through the creation of Malay business councils, the rich Malays were trapped in their own feeling of grandeur and failed to take care of their other struggling brethren. If the rich Malays themselves will not help the other poor Malays, then who will?
The Chinese will almost never directly help the poor Malays or the Indians. It is up to the Government to help them.
Only when the economic imbalances between the races have been rectified and they are competing at the same level playing field, will Bangsa Malaysia have a bigger probability of becoming a reality.
But until that time, the dream of having an integrated race which identifies itself as Bangsa Malaysia will not be fulfilled. Certain quarters cannot selfishly push for the realization of Bangsa Malaysia now as the economically dominant race will surely engulf other poorer races. With the decline in political powers of the majority Malays, the total cannibalization of their own economic pie will go unabated and unhindered.
It happened once in our history, resulting in the culmination of May 13, 1969.
Sacrifices are gravely needed from every Malaysian. Understanding of this stark reality is crucial. Especially from the non Malays on their acceptance of the Malay Special Rights. Definitely more so from the rich Malay leaders that were put in place in the strategic administration of the country be it in the area of politics or in business.
Special Rights does not mean you are special and have the right to do anything that pleases you. It is a PRIVILEGE attained by our Malay forefathers for their future generations – us. It means, we have to work hard so that we can justify the continuation of that privilege. Article 153 will have no meaning if the majority of Malays are poor, unintelligent, exploited and downtrodden in their own country, while only the lucky few are draped in wealth.
Sacrificing greed for the good of the nation is a small price to pay. They should focus on the plights of their own poor race rather than their own wallets. This is a wake up call for the Malays. Be sincere and be more competitive. Only then we could see the emergence of Bangsa Malaysia.
Thank you Msleepyhead for your comment. This topic is indeed very dear to me. It was written purely from the heart.
With that, I end this article with an open letter I sent to Tun Dr Mahathir in his blog some time ago. SELAMAT MENYAMBUT HARI KEMERDEKAAN everyone. We should count our blessings.
Dearest YABhg. Tun Dr Mahathir,
May you will always be in great health and surrounded with loved ones.
I took upon myself to write you this as I find our current Prime Minister unable to address the situation we are in now.
I wonder why the Chinese took up with great intensity some issues such as meritocracy, independent judiciary, equal rights, freedom of media and reforming oppresive laws. As we all know, these issues are less relevant to the majority of the citizens here in Malaysia.
One Malay politician mentioned that these issues are “rich people’s” issues. I have yet to see the Chinese took up other GREATER issues such as poverty, unemployment, expensive medical services/treatments and unfair income distribution.
Why are the Chinese took up the first few issues and not the latter? Easy. Because the latter do not benefit them. Why fight poverty when they do not suffer any kind of stark poverty like some of the Malays? Why they did not need to highlight issues such as expensive medical treatment? Because they do not feel it is expensive that’s why. They can afford to buy life insurance can’t they? Most Malays cannot.
They took up issues such as freedom of the media and meritocracy because these issues would benefit them the most. If the Chinese are sincere in equal rights, they should take up the more pertinent issues. But I reckon they will not. I remember your speech at a CIMA conference in 2005 where in a multi racial country, one race must not get 100% of whatever they want. Since this will lead to animosity between the races.
I truly believe that that is one of the best formula. No race should be left satisfied. Only then, we all can together work towards the betterment of our livelihood.
But unfortunately, some of the Malays were easily influenced by the calls of meritocracy and independent judiciary etc. as if these issues are the bread and butter issues of the majority Malays. They do not realized that they are being played right under their noses. If they do not fight for the plights of the Malays and instead fight for the issues brought forward by the Chinese, then who would protect the livelihood of the Malays themselves?
It seemed that the Malays have forgotten what they should fight for. And it is shameful that some of the so called Umno ministers themselves are parroting these misdirected issues. It is bad enough we cowered under pressure by other races (especially the Chinese who had economic strength in Malaysia and now wants greater political powers too), but now we have our own people working against us. I’m sorry if I sound like a racist if other people are quick to judge. But this is what I feel and fear.
Some Chinese are believing that they should hold the highest political powers in Malaysia too. And they had the temerity to influence some Malays to drop the NEP. Did they honestly think all Malays will clap and cheer when Malaysia abandons the NEP? But some Malays did fall for it.
It seems that the idea of a ‘fair Bangsa Malaysia’ propagated by the DAP/PKR is ‘the Chinese hold highest political power in the land as well as bigger economic share’. I can safely say that the Chinese feel that Malaysia owes them a favor for years of ‘hardship’ or being ‘2nd class citizens’ under the Umno ruled Malaysia.
They may not say it out loud, but they indeed are acting out that this is the time they should get everything. They know they will win in every aspect. They are already leading in the private sector. I assume meritocracy will make them lead the public sector as well. Freedom of media will make other Malay based newspapers die out. Independent judiciary will see top judges are Chinese. Reforms in oppresive laws such as Sedition Act will make them unstoppable in questioning the status of Bahasa Malaysia and Islam. All these consequences are not thought hard by the Malays who had easily been swayed by the Chinese.
On another note, I do not presume that the NEP should stay on forever, but in the wake of the global economic uncertainty, I humbly submitted that most Malays are not ready to face NEP-less Malaysia for not another 20 years.
We should start afresh with the new batch of Malay children born today. Proper education, balanced support from government, fair rewards for success and punishment for failures should be installed. Then, in 20 years time, they are ready to compete in an equal playground.
By the way Tun, I am not a racist. I am talking about the Malays who had abandon their background. Reality dictates that cultural and ethnic differences are difficult to shed. We made the decision not to assimilate all races under one ‘umbrella’ race (Malays) when we achieved our independence, but strived to be multi racial and respect one another. One has economic power, the other have political power. This kind of separation of power is good. Too bad one side feels they need to have higher political powers too. Indeed, I am sad. There’s nobody to look after my family and my children’s children when I am gone. As it stand now, we can’t even get the once fearless Umno Youth to defend for our rights.
Thank you Tun Dr Mahathir and may God bless you.