Monday, September 15, 2008

Dr. Mahathir, I hope you're not racist!

Dr. Mahathir posted an article titled: "Malay Unity and Malaysian Unity" on his personal blog on 15th Sept 2008.

I respect Dr.Mahathir for many reasons!
In spite of being an Indian Muslim , Dr. Mahathir managed to successfully assimilate himslef into the main stream of Malay society and became the Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years. His ability to completely leave behind his Indian heritage to become more "Malay" than "ordinary Malays" has given hope and inspiration to many "wannabe". If you go to some states like Penang and Kedah, you will see many Malays with Indian appearance, they are the most faithful Malays to show that they are Malays and I sincerely urge all Malaysians to accept them as Malay and don't categorize them into a new ethnic group, I have never come across any IC with "Mamak" as ethnicity!
To demonstrate their faithfulness, they climbed up the wall to tear a photograph of a former BN Chief Minister and went on street to demonstrate against Lim Guan Eng new state policies, they can do anything to prove that they are Malay!
If you read Dr. Mahathir snippet below, you will understand how hard and how painstakingly our former Prime Minister had done to tirelessly persuade the non-Malay citizens of Malaysia to behave like him so we will be able to forge National Unity and all the racial issues will be completely resolved. As an Indian to be become the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir can attest to it.
Is that true? Let's examine:

Dr. Mahathir Snippet in bold:
1.Malaysia has a multi-racial population but is quite unique in that the division is not just by race alone but by religion, language, culture and economic situation. Unity in such a diversity is extremely difficult to achieve.
We should celebrate diversity, and diversity is the strength of our country. Unity must start from individual "heart" to accept one another and appreciate each other culture and language, most importantly, we ought to respect individual right to freely embrace any religion. It is not difficult to achieve unity in diversity if we have the paradigm shift from "race hegemony" to "equality".
2. If we study other nations where people of different ethnic groups have immigrated, we will find that integration and unity depended on several important factors. Firstly the indigenous people or the people who had set up the country make up at least initially, a very big proportion of the population. Additionally they would be dominant and materially successful. The small numbers of immigrants trickling in found it judicious and beneficial to be identified with the numerically superior and powerful dominant inhabitants. They would willingly forget their original languages and adopt the language of the people of the country as well as their culture; they would intermarry and over time they would be totally absorbed and assimilated and identified with the indigenous people. In such a situation unity is not a problem. The United States is one such country where the original language and basic culture of first settlers are accepted by later immigrants.
Dr. Mahathir said: "Unity is not a problem if "immigrants" willingly forget their original language and adopt the language of the people of the country as well as their culture". Do you think all the Chinese and Indians who "willingly" forget their language and speak Bahasa Malaysia only, and completely adopt the Malay culture, then we will have unity in Malaysia? If all the Indians have spoken Bahasa Malaysia and professed Islamic faith, Dr. Mahathir won't be able to become Prime Minister of Malaysia, I will explain why later...
3. In the old days before the coming of the Europeans the few Chinese and Indians who settled in Malacca adopted the language and much of the culture of the Malays. Though there was no assimilation nevertheless good relations existed between the immigrant settlers and the Malays. Unfortunately when later the China-born Chinese-speaking immigrants dominated in numbers as well as economic wealth, the Malay speaking Baba and Nyonya deliberately dropped their Malay language and Baba culture and reverted to being Chinese in every way possible.
As a Peranakan, I agree that we have very much adopted the Malay language. However, to your surprise we are more Chinese than the China-born Chinese when it comes to genuine Chinese traditions and we never "deliberately" drop Malay language, my mother is still using Malay in her daily conversation with my grandmother, many young Peranakan speak English because it is the working language in business sector; should the need arise, we can shift to Malay language to please Dr. Mahathir. My uncle is a civil servant who married a Malay, but according to him, it is "impossible" for Chinese to become Malay even though you embrace the culture, speak the language and profess Islamic faith; your outward appearance will always be the main hindrance, therefore, it is easier for Indian and Bangladeshi to become Malay than Chinese. My uncle speaks English and Malay at home, he and his wife sent all their children to Chinese elementary school merely because of "economic reason". The global investment Guru Jim Roger said: "the biggest investment in 21st century is to learn Chinese". Jim Roger decided to settle down in Singapore because of the bilingual environment for his children.

4. Difficulties in assimilation arise when the late comers are more dynamic and better equipped to progress than the indigenous people. A feeling of superiority towards the indigenous people tended to keep the late-comers apart. As their community grew they established separate enclaves and erect invisible barriers against the indigenous. As their numbers grew the separation became deeper.
Since Dr. Mahathir said: "late comers are more dynamic and better equipped to progress than the indigenous people", then what's the point to retrograde?? Why Canada, US, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Singapore, Germany and many developed countries are all out to source and attract talents to their countries?? They don't expect the talents to contribute what they already have, but what they don't so they can achieve progress and prosperity for their countries. Malaysia becomes a more vibrant and dynamic country because the late comers have injected new spirit into it - to drive the growth of economy and therefore alleviate poverty for Malaysia. Malaysian must be taught to appreciate it! Dr. Mahathir once said: "if we discount the economic contribution of the non-Malay, Malaysia won't be much better than some African countries". And Dr. Mahathir also said:"26% of total population contributed largest chunk of tax (nearly 80++%) to Malaysia government". Thanks for Dr.Mahathir appreciation and acknowledgement, but Dr. Mahathir is only saying to Chinese community and we don't know what he has told the Malay community (maybe you've to read his book titled: The Malay Dilemma".
We must continue to add in colors to our countries by accepting talents from Japan, Korea, Indonesia and other countries. Conversely, our government is only too keen to reduce the "colorful picture" of Malaysia by taking in million of refugees/unskilled immigrants (be it legal or illegal) who share much resemblance to the dominant ethnic group in Malaysia. Instead of bringing social progress and prosperity for us, they've brought in social problems. Anybody who can create wealth in our country will directly bring benefits to the Malays via distribution of wealth through tax (for government to hire Malay civil servants and for Malays to have scholarships, buy cheaper house, etc), therefore, the more talents we have, the more Malays will benefit from it. Imagine we have attracted 500 thousand Japanese, Korean, India, Indonesia successful businessmen and scientists to Malaysia, just think how much wealth they can create for our country. Granting citizenship to someone who can contribute to our country was not a wrong policy and we must continue it. But Dr. Mahathir has been telling a different story to frighten the Malay masses.
5. The British are only partly responsible for the separation of the races in Malaysia, for keeping the Malays in the rural areas, the Chinese in the urban areas and the Indians in the estates. The different races are also responsible. They made no attempt to mix together as a matter of preference.
Yes, I fully agree! The British colonial government was responsible for it.
6. The Malays before World War II really believed that the Chinese and Indians were temporary guests who would return to their countries once they had made enough money. So it was at the beginning.
I am not a Malay born before 2nd World War, I don't know whether Chinese an Indians are temporary guests. But I know I am a Malaysian born in Malaysia and will mostly die in Malaysia.
7. Even when they showed signs of staying permanently, the Malays and their Rulers believed the British would honour the treaties which recognised the Malay States as the land of the Malays, the peninsula as Tanah Melayu or Malay Land.
We all honour it. The Sultans of each State must have the best CEO to run the state to take care of His Majesty subjects "on behalf of His Majesty", but look at what'd happened in Trengannu and Selangor, by being involved in corruptions, the former Menteri Besars had no respect for His Majesty at all...
8. But after the Brits returned after the war they talked of "giving" this country to whoever wishes to stay here. Although the Malays rejected this and forced the Malayan Union to be abandoned, they realised that things had changed and they had to recognise the claims of some of the non-Malays at least.
So, thankfully, Malaysia retained Chinese and Indians and that's made our country very colorful, vibrant and dynamic, and that has made the Malays become more united because of Indians and Chinese! Dr. Mahathir's father could stay in Malaysia instead of being deported back to India and his son went on to become a doctor and the best Prime Minister of Malaysia. Isn't it a wonderful story??
9. To cut a long story short independent Malaysia recognised the citizenship rights of the non-Malays and gave them quite freely. This is unlike many countries in the region where strict conditions were imposed. In fact, some immigrants were actually expelled.
Yes, we, non-Malays + Malays, must always be thankful that we are the citizens of Malaysia! And had the forced expulsion taken place, Dr. Mahathir would be selling "kacang Puteh" in India, and I would be a farmer in China, and Malay girls and boys would be like their Indonesian counterparts being maids and cheap labours overseas. Thanks goodness, we are all better off than that today!!
1. Why Vietnamese girls have to marry unknown men overseas to support their family?
2. Why the Philippino and Indonesian girls ought to leave their family to work overseas as maids?
3. Why the men from Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippine, Myanmar, India, China, Thailand, etc, have to work overseas as cheap labours?
4. Why not Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan?
5. Why not Malaysia?
10. The hope at independence was that the non-Malays would accept a single national language and a single national identity. But it became clear very quickly that the Chinese and the Indians wanted to retain their identities, their mother tongue and their culture. They did not want to be solely Malaysians, certainly not Malays.
Dr. Mahathir still doesn't understand the beauty of multiculturalism and diversity! Can I learn 3 languages (Malay, English, Chinese) to enhance my marketability and employability? Isn't it better for Malaysians to speak more languages and to experience various cultures?! My Malay friends would voice their vehement objections if the government cancel holidays for Chinese New Year and Indian festival, and if government cancels holidays for Hari Raya Chinese and Indians and Malays would also go on street to demand HOLIDAYS!! Why is Dr. Mahathir so concerned about what language and culture? Is it more nicer and interesting to see Malaysia as a MONOETHNIC, MONOLINGUAL, MONORELIGION AND MONOCULTURAL country?? We should focus more on national economy rather than language and cultural issues.
11. At the beginning some prominent people tried multi-racial politics but this was rejected by the ordinary Malays, Chinese and Indians. In the end we settled for a compromise - retain your racial identity but cooperate with each other in a coalition of racial parties.
Wrong and misleading!! Umno has long tried to portray multi-racial political parties as a challenge to "Ketuanan Melayu", I support "Ketuanan Melayu" and I support multi-racial political parties. I will explain what is "Ketuanan Melayu" in my next article.
12. Politically it was a good formula and it worked. But when English schools were abolished and the Malay, Chinese and Indians children went to their own schools rather than to the national schools where the teaching was in the National Language. The hope for true national integration faded. After this even the attempt to put the schools from the three language streams in one campus was rejected by the Chinese.
So can we have English primary schools for all races?? please go to the homepage of my blog and vote on the poll which I have set up.
13. It is no good blaming the politicians for perpetuating racial schism. Some of them who tried to ignore racial loyalties simply failed politically. For various reasons the races preferred to stay separated. They may meet at their work place or the playing field but they go home to separate enclaves according to their race.
Because Umno likes to play with it, the rest just has no choice!
14. We had opted for democracy and popularity decides who rules the country. Those who reject racialism simply lost popular support. But those who embrace racialism won.
Refer to point 13 and my two articles titled"An Open Letter to All DAP Leaders and Members 1 and 2".
15. They are not racists. The leaders of the different races were, at least in the beginning, able to get along well with each other. They developed close friendship. But they had to be very conscious of their racial backing and to cater to racial demands.
We know it's hard to satisfy everybody, but has Dr. Mahathir openly supported multiculturalism and diversity? or at least has he tried to encourage the support for multiculturalism and diversity? Multiculturalism and diversity were thrust upon Dr. Mahathir and he just accepted it reluctantly, unwillingly and grudgingly.
16. The lower ranking leaders, the ordinary members of political parties and the people as a whole had shown no sign of forgetting their racial identity. There may be few liberal minded ones who reject race, but some who do this do so because they believe their own race would gain by it. So even these people are racialist at heart.
I for one won't mind having a 100% Malay Cabinet and 100% Malay Parliament if the all the Malays MPs and Cabinet Ministers are honest, able, capable, non-racist and "corruption-proof"!
17. Then came the resurgence of Islam worldwide. The Malaysian Malays began to adopt Islamic conservativeness especially with the dress code. This tended to push them further apart from the non-Muslims who saw this as an attempt to differentiate Muslim Malaysians from non-Muslim Malaysians. Some people suspect that this is the intention.
I agree and it all began with Umno Islamization policies and Dr.Mahathir is the pioneer to declare Malaysia an Islamic State.
18. The behaviour of some extremist exponents of Islamic separateness did not help.
It is all because Dr. Mahathir condoned it while he was at the helm. Umno started the "Islamization Race" with PAS.
19. And so the races drifted further and further apart. All the time the so-called non-racial parties with their single-minded campaign against the positions of the Malays and Islam as agreed upon at the beginning actually intensified Malay racial sentiments, causing them to yearn for Malay unity rather than Malaysian unity.
Umno can only win the elections by means of communalism! Who have incited the Kampong Malays to distrust Chinese?
20. The ideal of having a non-racial Malaysian nationality has now been almost forgotten. As the self-proclaimed non-racists attacked Malay racialism, the feeling among the Malays hardened. Openly the Malays have not attacked Chinese racialism as manifested by their practical rejection of the use of the National language, their rejection of the National schools, their Malaysian Malaysia slogan. If they do it would be muted and certainly not as blatant as non-Malay attacks against Malay racialism.
Dr. Mahathir you are the one who has constantly and openly attacked Chinese racialism to prove your "Malayness". Are you trying to say if Chinese speak Malay and attend national schools. there will be national unity?
21. The Malays have seen what has happened to the Malays of Singapore and they have no desire to be like Singapore Malays.
Dr.Mahathir can you tell me what has happened to the Malays of/in Singapore? If they are so miserable in Singapore, why the Malays of Singapore refuse to leave Singapore and go to a more monoethnic environment in Indonesia or Malaysia? Why are you so concerned about the Malays of Singapore? I travel quite extensively in Indonesia, can you look beyond the tiny island of Singapore? I can bring you to Batam, Bintang and Karimun and those Islands surrounding Singapore to see for yourself how the Malays there living in abject poverty and sordid conditions? or if you don't mind we can travel together to Jakarta slum areas. Why Khir Toyo father and Syed Hamid father wanted to migrate to Malaysia from Indonesia as the country is more monoethnic? Why Indonesian workers want to work illegally in Singapore since the Malays of Singapore are so miserable? And there are considerable number of Malay Malaysians working and living in Singapore. Why?
Of course they have no desire to be like Singapore "crutch" in Singapore! In Malaysia, where does the "crutch" come from??
22. So their reaction is to seek for Malay unity. They feel threatened, and their fear is real. Admittedly there are among the younger educated Malays a few who claim to reject Malay unity. But these people do not represent the vast majority of the Malays.
Chinese unity for what? Indian unity for what? and Malay unity for what and against what??
23. Malay unity, if it becomes stronger will make it more difficult to bring about Malaysian unity. But it must be remembered that the Chinese and Indian are also keen to retain their identities more and more. The Hindraf memorandum is very telling. And the Chinese educationists want even stronger role for Chinese language.
So we have to dismantle Chinese unity, Indian unity, Malay unity, Iban unity, Bajau unity, Orang Asli unity to forge Malaysian Unity!
24. The trend is obviously against Malaysian Unity. A weak and unstable Government with its crude attempts to win over the different races through giving in on all demands does not help. Every time it gives in to the demands of one race it simply antagonises and pushes the other races further away.
Dr. Mahathir, this is your mentality again!
25. If we still want Malaysian Unity we need to be willing to make sacrifices regarding what we consider to be our racial rights. Everyone has to do this. The leaders must be given some mandate to discuss these matters in private and to make concessions. After each step the lower rung leaders of each race must be given full briefing as to why the concessions have to be made. It would be useless if they don't agree.
There will be no Malaysian unity if we don't learn to appreciate and accept multiculturalism and diversity!
26. Provided we can roll back the present unhealthy trends and redirect it towards more positive non-racial objectives, provided we do this slowly by small steps we may be able to create a truly Malaysian identity where race would gradually become less important. It will take time but with sincerity we may reverse the present trends and move towards increasing co-operation and integration.
To achieve the goal of Malaysian Unity, we just have to open our heart to accept one another, to embrace multiculturalism and universal and Islamic value of equality, to care for the less fortunate and underprivileged, regardless of race, language and religion.
Dr. Mahathir thinks if you and I become the "same" and we will be living happily together forever, we don't have to worry about the bread and butter issues, we don't have to be apprehensive of job and employment issues, and we will be at peace, forever! So Dr. Mahathir thinks the monoethnic countries in the world would be the happiest and most peaceful!
We can infer from Dr. Mahathir's snippet above that he believes unity comes from "sameness" and "mono-", and he thinks that with unity, we will have everything, without unity we will lose everything; thus, over his 22 years of premiership, he started the "Unity Engineering" to instil the "fear" into the mind of Malays that if they fail to stand united behind Umno, they will be "swallowed up" like the Malays of Singaore.
I mentioned earlier that if all the Indians had adopted Malay culture and became Muslims, Dr. Mahathir won't be able to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia, why? Because Dr. Mahathir will immediately be relegated into Indian Muslims or a new "Indian-Malay Muslims" category! After you deal with "ethno-centricism", there comes a new "self-centricism", there is an undesirable inherent trait in human beings which enables us to unconsciously and subconsciously categorize the "differences" between us. Therefore, you have African American, Asian American, etc. Once all the Chinese and Indians have adopted Malay culture, language and religion, Chinese may only become "Malay-Chinese" race and Indians "Malay-Indian" race. And if we are really successful in achieving full assimilation, there may come the judgement of the color of the skins, Fair Malay, Dark Malay and Brown Malay, etc...The number of Indian Muslims in Malaysia have not grown big enough to become a noticeable "category", so the main stream of Malay society has been willing to accept them as Malay.
So, just imagine if we "disappear" all the Chinese and Indians in Malaysian (transfer all the Chinese and Indians to Sabah to mix with illegal immigrants) , will the Malays in peninsula be united, successful and happy and problems-free? The answer is NO! Malays may disintegrate into different identities like Bugis, Malay, Java, good Muslim, faithful Muslim etc; Malays may even challenge the monarchy as what has happened in some monoethnic countries like Nepal (became a Republic this year), Indonesia (became a Republic), Cambodia (the King is no longer respected Army Chiefs), etc. Unless our country is rich and progressing well like Brunei, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and other European nations, the significance of our Monarchy system could be made weak if the need to safeguard Malays interests and Islam had become irrelevant (since all Chinese and Indians have "disappeared", there is no so-called "threat" anymore, what is there to protect against)?...
Same race, same language, same culture and same religion do not guarantee same thoughts, same characters, same color of skin and same level of intelligence, etc! Examples:
1. Prior to 1997, why Hong Kong was against Chinese rule?
2. Why some Taiwanese want to pursue independence?
3. Why Aceh wants to secede from Indonesia?
4. Many others
So, Dr. Mahathir, please don't worry, with the low birth rate of Chinese and other reasons, in 80 years time, out of the total popultion in Malaysia, Chinese will only make up to 2-3% and may be in 180 years time, Chinese will disappear from this country, you think your great great grandchildren will be very happy?! It is just a short time throughout the history of the development of nationhood. No more Chinese schools in the country, no more Chinese temples in the country and no more Chinese in the country, I couldn't imagine how happy your great great great grandchildren would be. By the way, I am still curious that why you are so unhappy with Chinese learning the Chinese language and adopt Chinese culture, is it that Chinese learning the Chinese language is one of the root-causes of the Malay dilemma? or you purposely want the Malays to be narrow-minded?
Let's talk about the real issues of economy and employment, don't be too preoccupied with racial issues, will Malaysia be better off without Indians, Chinese, Orang Asli, Kadazan? Dr.Mahathir, I sincerely urge you to embrace multiculturalism and diversity!
For less than a few riggits, 20 over people have died, what's the point of "Ketuanan" if we are not able to nurture our children and give them food, shelter and proper education. Please read the true story below:
(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — At least 23 Indonesians were crushed to death Monday while trying to collect $4.25 in cash handouts from a rich family at a charity event marking the Islamic holy month, officials said. Eight others were critically injured in the stampede.
Several thousand people started gathering outside the house in Pasuruan, a town about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of the capital of Jakarta, in the morning to collect their tithe, said local police chief Harry Sitompul.
Television footage showed the victims — mostly women — screaming as they were pushed into the fence outside the home. At least 23 died and eight others were hospitalized, Sitompul said, some after being trampled and others from lack of oxygen.
Many of Indonesia's 220 million Muslims fast during the daylight hours of Ramadan.
Under a system known as Zakat, the wealthy are required to give away a portion of their money to the poor, but distribution is often chaotic and sometimes deadly. Many donors choose to hand out gifts directly, worried that corrupt government officials will try to pocket some of the cash.
"It's tragic and embarrassing," said Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamzah. "It goes to show that we have to find a better way ... we have to fix this."
The man behind Monday's charity event, reportedly a car dealer, was placed under police protection afterward to prevent reprisal attacks from relatives of victims, said Mayor Aminurohman, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name.
The same man held a similar event last year that drew thousands of people and resulted in one death, with dozens injured, he said.
"There was no coordination with police during the handout," the mayor said. "It's a shame he did not learn from his past mistakes and ask for help."
If it could happen in our neighbouring country-Indonesia, why it won't happen in Malaysia?
If I were a Malay, I would prefer Singapore to Indonesia...
Dr. Mahathir, please follow me to some parts of Indonesia to do social works, maybe you will hate Singapore less....
Like a rainbow, Malaysia is a multitude of colors unifying into one--represents oneness, equality and the beauty of diversity. Malaysia is beautiful because you and I have made it colorful!
4:00PM 16th September 2008 Malaysia DAY


Malaysian said...

I share your views.

Beef Stew said...

Well....I don't mind taking off my Chinese name but do you have a Malay name for me while I am a non-muslim... Hmm....tough question huh? No offend but Parameswara sounds nice or Gajah Patih Mada. Sri Vijaya also ok one but a bit Indian...

And also I want to ask...What can I celebrate in Malaysia while I am non muslim but a Malaysian. Any Malay originated celebration? Aside Hari Merdeka of course...Hehehehe

joharihamzah said...


menarik kupasan saudara terhadap tulisan Tun Mahathir.

ada beberapa pandangan saudara yang saya setuju dan memang perlu sama2 kita renungkan.

izinkan saya link blog saudara dengan blog saya.