A state down south of the peninsular is also trying to emulate Sarawak in trying to create discord within the federation of Malaysia. This time, it is about ‘Bangsa Johor’. The question is, will Malaysians as a whole be united or become more disunited with the Bangsa Johor concept? Let us look at the arguments brought forth.
While Johor has the right to promote the idea of a Bangsa Johor, the former prime minister said it was more important to get people to embrace themselves as Malaysians, rather than identifying themselves with the state they originate from.
“If each state wishes to separate, then the Federation will collapse.”
“This notion can also lead to residents of a state feeling superior over another’s. This is unhealthy.”
“What we must actually do is to encourage unity. Only when the people are truly united as Malaysians can we prosper. Everyone should take a leaf from history books on the importance of unity. Malaysia has achieved a great deal of success and wealth through unity and the shared support system that has been put in place since Independence.”
Uniting the people by giving one identity – as Malaysians.
Now compare to what Bangsa Johor propagates..
It is clear as to which argument is more divisive and selfish. Those with brains can see properly what kind of messaging being bandied about where the term Bangsa Johor is concerned.
Therefore it is ironic when yesterday the Sultan of Johor chastised Tun Dr Mahathir by saying this:
“He is going around dividing the people, including the Malays, while I am uniting Malaysians of all races, including the Malays.”
Sultan Ibrahim said the term ‘Bangsa Johor’ was coined by his great-grandfather in 1920 to unite all races in the state “for greater cooperation, harmony and peaceful existence”.
We are not sure how Bangsa Malaysia is more divisive towards Malaysians than the more territorial and parochial ‘Bangsa Johor’. How can Malaysians as a whole be united using the call of Bangsa Johor?
And according to the Sultan himself, the archaic term – Bangsa Johor was invented 37 years before the Malayan independence.
Since Johor is now part of Malaysia, this term is no longer relevant. Why bother with some irrelevant concept when Johor made hay and became modern and strong due to Malaysia’s collective success? Nobody has heard of this term before anyway. It was a reincarnation of sorts, for whatever reason they could imagine.
Anyway, if Johor had not joined Malaysia, history might repeat itself and the state could have fallen into the hands of Singapore a long time ago.
Our history before Independence is seldom kind to our own monarchs. Whenever they have problems, their usual solution back then was to sell their lands with their own people on it, to foreign powers. We all know who had sold Singapore to Sir Stamford Raffles back in 1819. Decades earlier, Penang was given away to the British by the Kedah Sultanate in 1786, and in 1874 the Sultan of Perak handed over his whole state for the British to govern.
And in 1946, all the Sultans in Malaya wanted to hand over all the Malay states to the British to officially turn it into a British colony, through the Malayan Union. These monarchs wanted to concede all powers to the British Crown!
It was only through the vision and hard work of Onn Jaafar who had seen the dangers of Malayan Union, that the Federation of Malaya was born. If the Sultans had their way back then, the current royals would not have tasted their reigning powers enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution. Nobody could have become the Agong, none would have obtained the current level of respect they desperately wanted.
Luckily for them, the malays at that time rallied and protested against the British. The rest as they say, is history.
Malaysia as a unified nation has gone from a shabby backwater – a former colony of three colonial masters, populated by royals whose hobby is to sell their lands to foreigners – into a modern country, and an economic tiger in less than 50 years time after it had gained independence.
But now we have rulers of states that wanted to destroy a unified Malaysia? Sarawak was lucky that Tunku Abdul Rahman invited them to form Malaysia in 1963. It officially became a British colony in 1946 when its last Rajah, Charles Vyner Brooke had not enough money to govern it. The malays, led Rosli Dhobi did not agree to the cession. We all know what happened to him. The British had clamped down hard on the anti-British movement back then. Again, the rest is history. In 1963, Sarawak and the rest of the states formed to become Malaysia as it is today.
It is sad to see when past leaders were trying so hard to unify and strengthen Malaysia as a nation, the current crop of leaders are trying hard to divide it through oneupmanship and territorial possessiveness.
In conclusion, leaders of Malaysia – whether political or royal – must put Malaysians first. As long as they are not doing anything about 1MDB and work for the greater good of Malaysia, nobody is interested in whatever political grandstanding they are trying to display.
There is a lot to be learned from history. We end this article with a speech by Onn Jaafar, the founder of UMNO back in 1951. Credit to Art Harun’s Facebook page for this speech:
“Saya melawan raja saya kerana tindakan baginda terhadap rakyatnya, oleh itu, saya diberhentikan dari perkhidmatan awam. Kemudiannya sekali lagi saya menentang tindakan Sultan Johor yang tidak adil kepada rakyat, dan kali ini saya digugurkan dari jawatan kerajaan dan dibuang dari negeri Johor. Saya kemudiannya, kerana tidak dapat menerima syarat-syarat yang diletakkan ke atas saya oleh DYMM Sultan Johor yang menghalang tugasan saya sebagai Yang Dipertua UMNO, maka saya meletakkan jawatan sebagai Menteri Besar Johor supaya saya dapat menumpukan sepenuh perhatian kepada tugasan dalam UMNO.
Begitulah juga UMNO perlu berhenti melihat sesuatu isu dengan pemikiran yang sempit seolah-olah hidup di bawah satu tempurung, tanpa mempedulikan atau ambil kisah yang masih ada tempurung-tempurung lain disekelilingnya.”
“Umat Melayu jangan sembah sesiapa melainkan Tuhan.”
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