History / Malay issues

Bangsa Johor: Comparison between two arguments

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.

Do read the news item above

Do read the news item above

Tun Dr Mahathir, the advocate of Bangsa Malaysia policy, gave his frank assessment on state parochialism, in a conference themed ‘Federal-State relations’ yesterday. He further added:

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..


Without any due regards towards the feelings of other Malaysians, Johorians have no qualms in breaking up Malaysia, eventhough the country had done so much for them.



Self imposed siege mentality, then raising the anger of the people, all for self preservation.

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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3) Apakah Pengurusan 1MDB Mangkuk Hayun Atau Mereka Terpaksa Jadi Mangkuk Hayun?

4) Perbezaan antara imuniti Raja dan Lese Majeste


6) Kenapa Keuntungan PETRONAS Menjunam 96%

7) Hati Batu

8) To finish Najib, finish off Hadi Awang

21 thoughts on “Bangsa Johor: Comparison between two arguments

  1. very apt n well research article.
    less we forget, Indonesia n India had a well established royal systems of governance b4 independence but not anymore now.
    d royalties still exist but they r totally divorced from national democratic administration.
    if our royalties r not careful n indulge in xcesses even within their state jurisdiction, a time may come when very few will contd 2 give their support.

    in this particular case I tend 2 agree wth tun m bcos he is very clear n rational in his comments. we can just imagine if all sultanates start propagating their own ‘bangsa’.
    if this happens, then we r just going back 2 pre Malayan Union days where we were known more from where we came from rather than being known as malays.

    my late father being english educated had 2 take his chances 2 travel 2 kelantan from perak 2 work wth Boustead . since he was considered as n outsider, his parents gave him certain ‘ilmu’ 2 stay safe. surely we would not want 2 go back 2 those days that many youngsters 2day regard as funny n abnormal.

    since we r known as malays n malaysians , n 4 d sake of national unity,d less we r categorized differently d better.



  2. Sejarah darurat kominis Malaya 1949 yang melibatkan negeri Johor banyak mengorbankan rakyat dari negeri lain bukan sekadar rakyat Johor sahaja.Tak pernah pula saya dengar askar Timbalan Setia terlibat terus dalam pertempuran dengan pengganas komonis ketika itu. Begitu juga di era konfrantasi Malaysia Indonesia banyak tentera bukan anak jati Johor yang terkorban memperthankan Malaysia ketika itu. Kenapa bangsa Johor ?..


  3. IT appears that the rot in the center is largely causing the stink in the peripheries. The grandstandings and posturings of festering corpes that pass for a government, notwithstanding, life goes on…


  4. i am half-johorean. so can call me bangsa johor ‘celup’, maybe. but im not bothered.

    we should be more concerned about the 1mdb matter. a simple math will show that with a RM55 BILLION DEBT; we the RAKYAT have to fork-out RM150-170 MILLION PER MONTH in INTEREST payments alone. For the NEXT 15 to 20 YEARS !!

    mak datok hai. wake up please my dear malaysians ! !

    all this grand standing about state parochialism means nothing at all. maybe great for football matches that is all.

    arwah onn jaafar..his spirit lives in Tun…for the people.


  5. Raja Kumbang
    Is it true that one of the ancestors of the present dynasty of Johor sultans sold Singapore to Stamford Raffles ?
    It was also reported that one of then Johor Sultans imported many mainland Chinese into Johor as labourers rather than taking in Malay or Javanese workers ( Nusantara ). What is your opinion on this.


  6. At the core of these controversies, is the truly WEAK leadership of Najib Razak.

    I may be WRONG but humour me please. Like pieces of jigsaw puzzles, the big picture is underlined by the Malaysian Malaysia concept.

    Somehow the little red dot keeps coming into the picture. 1MDB and Jho Low stashed funds in Singapore banks, undetected initially. Chinese companies have their hands in the pie in many projects.

    The rapid rail project from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur has the potential of “killing” MAS and Airasia. Johor secession may even end up as greater Singapore.

    Sarawak may aim for autonomy to avoid sharing their wealth with West Malaysia. Anwar did claim that Sabah “akan hilang”.

    So do excuse me, if this scenario is mere conjecture.


  7. Mahathir, “This notion can also lead to residents of a state feeling superior over another’s. This is unhealthy.” He went on to say, ” ….we are all the same. Nobody is superior to another”!
    And yet…..we have Ketuanan Melayu! So by the same logic, the reason we have not been able to really unite as a nation and a people is because the Malays feel that they are superior to others. And who was the Chief Architect of this policy? Mahathir Mohamad.
    So finally Dr M has come round sounding like Dato Onn Jaafar in his later years!


    • This was what Tun Dr Mahathir said about Ketuanan Melayu in 2008. Do have a read:


      In fact, he chastise the malays for being proud of ketuanan melayu when the opposite is true. Malays are not ‘tuan’ in their own lands. But the concept Bangsa Malaysia is what he had propagated throughout his tenureship.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hurryly

      The concept of “Ketuanan Melayu” must translate into “Malay Landlordship” referring to the historical aspect.

      The non-Malays just love to derive the mistaken meaning of “Superior Malays” driven by a complex combination of their own insecurity and ego.


  8. I’m not an intelligent person but as a Malaysian, after seeing how Najib Tun Razak is leading the country to ruins, Bangsa Johor is a much, much better option compare to Bangsa Malaysia. After all, non-Malays have never been recognised as Bangsa Malaysia and have been discriminated on many fronts in Malaysia and been called “pendatang”.


    • Kaum Cina

      “Ketuanan Melayu” means Malay Landlordship and “Pendatang” means immigrant. Both these terms are politically misunderstood to appear to deny the rights of Malaysians of other races.

      There are very good reasons to keep these terms alive. Read below.

      The Indigenous Movement

      “2007 was a watershed year for Indigenous rights. On September 13th, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and it has since been ratified by 143 countries. While the Declaration is not legally binding, it sets a global standard for the treatment of Indigenous Peoples. This was a vital step in securing Indigenous rights worldwide.”

      “The single unifying issue facing Indigenous Peoples everywhere is how to protect their territories and stop the “asset stripping” that robs them of their livelihoods and the foundation of their cultures. Without land and control of their assets, Indigenous Peoples are destined to remain the world’s poorest communities – with the worst health, highest mortality rate and shortest life span.”


      Liked by 1 person

  9. Salaam hormat buat kalian yg budiman.
    Apa bangsa anda? Melayu,China India atau lain2 seperti yg tersurat dinegara kita ini? Sedarkah anda KITA lah pendukung jalur gemilang dan menjadi tunjang kpd negara bernama MALAYSIA? Jadi perlukah KITA berpecah belah demi pernyataan dari seseorang demi kelangsungan kuasa? Sedar lah KITA rakyat MALAYSIA yg terdiri dari berbilang bangsa yg selama ini hidup dlm harmoni. Bersatu teguh bercerai roboh. Saya bangga menjadi RAKYAT MALAYSIA BERBANGSA MELAYU.
    Yang saya tentang bukan soal bangsa,tapi soal maruah dan salah laku dlm pentadbiran negara.Salahkah sikap saya begitu?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Walau apa pun;
    1. Bahasa jiwa bangsa
    2. Bahasa menunjukkan bangsa

    Dari DBP,
    Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa bukanlah peribahasa tetapi slogan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa bermaksud bahawa bahasa sebagai milik mutlak sesuatu bangsa yang menjadi identiti kebangsaan. Sesungguhnya bahasa itu menunjukkan jati diri sesuatu bangsa. Bahasa melambangkan bagaimana sesuatu bangsa itu menggunakan bahasa sebagai alat komunikasi, perpaduan untuk saling memahami dan bahasa itu digunakan sebagai bahasa ilmu sesuatu bangsa. Kekuatan bahasa itu juga menunjukkan kuatnya sesuatu bangsa. Untuk maklumat lanjut, saudara boleh merujuk makalah yang berkaitan dengan tajuk berkenaan.


  11. Flexing muscle… that’s what it is! Thanks to the history lessons we get at school we Malays are so blatantly blinded over the facts of history….Well written, this article – I am so glad that I am not alone in seeing the danger that lurks behind such parochial state of mind. Dr M is absolutely correct on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Malaysian Government should be talking of “A Bangsa Malaysia” and really mean it and carry out policies to implement this for the benefit of all Malaysians. It is only doing lip service to fool the citizens of Malaysia. This have been going on for so many years. Enough is enough the people must realise this.


  13. Pingback: Things Fall Apart | 書 政 shuzheng

  14. I am born and schooled in Johor up until after uni I worked and reside outside Johor. I am proud to call myself “Anak Johor” but …Bangsa Johor?…it is strange to me and definitely not comfortable with it. I have lived and worked in the private sector in various states of Malaysia including Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and in Semenanjung. My pride is always being a MALAYSIAN…My PASSPORT is also a MALAYSIAN PASSPORT which we all use to travel internationally.

    I used to be a proud MALAYSIAN and international community used to respect us and our leadership. Nowadays I tried to hide my bangsa Malaysia…it is too shameful and we are being ridiculed for having a “great leader Najib” I prefer to call myself Sarawakian from Borneo Island the place i reside now. Sarawak Borneo is well known among the international tourism industry.

    What am I talking? nonsense? I am trying to talk sense actually.

    To all the Sultans and Raja Raja Melayu…There won’t be any reigning Sultan or Raja in Malaysia if not for Dato Onn and the Anti Malayan Union movement. The rakyats defended the kings when they themselves have already sold themselves to the British.
    It is time for you all to return the deeds by getting rid of the kleptos in our leadership and really become “Payung Negara”.

    Segalanya tercatat dalam sejarah….
    Kita semua manusia. Bila kita mati….tak kira raja, sultan, presiden, perdana menteri atau kuli kang…kita semua akan mereput dan kembali menjadi tanah seperti asal kejadian manusia.

    Rakyat benar benar mengharapkan “Pengorbanan” Duli Duli Tuanku agar kami tidak akan terus menjadi “Korban” pemimpin durjana.


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