Do you know when Malaysia became so intolerant? Will you help to start the new narrative?

Malays/Non-Malays, Muslims/Non-Muslims, Urban/Rural, Rich/poor, Bumis/Non-bumis

This country is going through a massive cultural change.

A Malay friend introduced her American husband to members of her family. Her closest aunt shook his hand, only after she had completely swathed her hand in a scarf to avoid touching him. 

That friend was lucky. Another Malay friend whose husband is Jewish was snubbed, when her relatives refused to shake hands with him.

They said that on hindsight, there were little give-aways during their trips home, in the late 80s. Portraits and paintings of people, were replaced with Islamic calligraphy. Families who once kept dogs, did not have them as pets anymore. Figurines collected from holidays abroad, were ditched. Even Barbie dolls, were thrown out. Islam does not allow idol-worship, they said.

A number of non-Malay friends said their Malay friends had also changed. They were neighbours, grew up together, went to the same school, and shared many teenage secrets, like trying to get 4-D numbers at the Chinese graveyard or sneaking into Ipoh’s Jubilee Park to watch Rose Chan.

During school, the non-Malay friends would wait for their Malay friends outside the surau whilst they performed their Friday prayers, then afterwards all would go to the hawker stalls for makan. The Malays did not object to their non-Malay friends eating pork.  

Today, the friendships still exist, but the closeness has gone. One friend said that his Malay friend would bring his children to visit at Christmas, but the teenagers would refuse to shake his hand, or consume anything that was offered, even if the drink was from a can. His friend claimed that his children’s school had fuelled the intolerance.

Another friend relocated from Shah Alam, because she feared for her pet dogs.

In the past, transgender people did not fear for their safety, or their lives. Today, they do.

What progress can our leaders claim to have made, when after 63 years, many Malays have developed a fear of dogs, pigs, Chinese, the DAP, communists, the crucifix, speaking English, lanterns, books, liberals and rational thinking?

How can some Malays believe an ulama, who says that drinking or eating from a vessel which was used by a non-Malay, is going to make his body “impure?

Why do some Malays believe an ulama who says that a Muslim cannot extend good wishes for Christmas or Ponggal? Why believe the word of a non-Malaysian radical Muslim preacher who cares nothing about multicultural Malaysia?

What makes some Malays agree with Malay leaders who condone corruption because “finally a Malay gets to “enjoy” what it is like to be rich”?

Don’t some Malays think it is wrong and immoral that Malays are rarely censured when they insult non-Malays and non-Muslims, but action is swift against non-Malays and non-Muslims who do the same?

So, how did we become such an intolerant nation?

Please share your thoughts.

Rebuilding Malaysia


  • Theresa Chin says:

    Malays used to fear pontianak, orang minyak, jin and what nots but they aren’t anymore. They must be reminded of their belief in Allah and not men – their behavior is contrary to their beliefs – do NOT WORSHIP men!

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  • Paul Wolfobitch says:

    It’s all a fcuking big laugh when Malaysians try to pretend to be what they think Arabs are. Short of driving around on camels and not be donkeys to the donkeys, we are hoarding like bleeding treasures all the blessed brown stuff even those in Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries are discarding.

    At the rate we are going, and with our stupidity and backwardness, it won’t be all that long before we return to the Stone Age – while even the Saudis enter the modern world.

    Can’t say I’d be terribly keen to drink to a more religious Malaysia, I know Coke is going to be holy camel piss, Amen !

  • triple tree says:

    For many Malaysians, it is important to remember our history. The original people of the Malay peninsula, Borneo were what we call orang asli. These include the Dayaks, Ibans, Kadayans etc of Borneo. Although they are classified as bumiputras, they actually get nothing that is their due. The Malay bumiptras has taken everything. The orang asli are the jakuns, senois, orang laut etc of Malay peninsula. These people are now in reservations, put there by Malay body polity. Now Malays call themselves the original people of Malaya. They are not. The orange asli are the original people of Malaya and borneo.

  • AM says:

    Reasonnya simple aje. Apa susah paham? Alasannya adalah Ketuanan Melayu. Negeri Malaya memang tanah Melayu,jadi Melayu yang jadi tuan/boss.Najib is the boss ingat tak? Orang2 lain adalah pendatang and that is a fact. Tapi yang amat anih is that orang2 Melayu must depend on the pendatang2 untuk lifestyle masakini. Pendatang2 bayar tax tahun demi tahun, orang Malayu tak payah kerja susah2 tapi dapat enjoy duit gomen. Ini bukti Orang Melayu bukan bodoh.

  • Banu says:

    Hi Mariam, I always liked reading your articles as you made me feel you are one of us. The present intolerant situation in Malaysia came about with Tun Razak, Tun M and Anwar Ibrahim. My father was a government servant and we all lived in harmony in the government quarters in the Cochrane Road area. We had a lot of Indian, Malay, Chinese and Eurasian neighbours. Went to school from 1960-1970 in Peel Road Convent. Being a Hindu, we knew about Hinduism and Christianity coz we loved Jesus and my mum had a statue of Christ and Mary on her altar with pictures and idols of Hindu gods and godesses. We never delved deep into religion at all. Didn’t know anything about Islam at all. Only celebrated Deepavali on a grand scale and observed Ponggal and the Hindu New Year. My classmates and schoolmates and neighbours of all races used to visit us on Deepavali as my mum used to serve mutton dalcha, mutton varuval, chicken peratal and prawn sambal with steaming hot and crispy thosai. They just loved this delicious breakfast and ghee rice for lunch and dinner. They even craved for the crispy murukus, and melt-in-the mouth ghee balls etc. Those were the days. But what happened after May 13 1969 was a change for the worse but to bring the Malays up. I was in for a shock when told in 1971 that only Chinese, Indians and Eurasians with a Grade One in SPM can attend Form Six, but Malays with any grade were allowed to go to form six. My hopes of studying in MU, the only university then, were dashed. I was very miserable as I was in the Arts stream and got a second grade. We didn’t know anything about politics then and wondered why the sudden change. We should have gotten an inkling when they changed Senior Cambridge to MCE in 1969, so that unfair assessment could be done. The start of the rot of our prestigious education, on Tun M’s advice. Anwar was instrumental for Islam creeping into all schools, institutions, all government departments etc. etc. and the introduction of the tudung for all Muslim women and don’t forget, the rounds of Operasi Isi Penuh in the mid-70s that brought hordes of Malays from all over the country and remote villages to fill all government departments and banks and whatever that were 80% non-Malays. They couldn’t stand the idea that the Tunku allowed all the nons to run the government departments. All the principals of schools, heads of departments in the universities and hospitals were all replaced by Malays. They were jealous that the economy was in the hands of the Chinese. So the 3 clowns got together to divide and rule through the 3 Rs. This is the time that words such as Malays and non-Malays, the newly-coined word Bumiputera, etc., etc. were bandied around. Ideas that Malaysia was Tanah Melayu, Malays were the “ketuanan race” and enemity against the Chinese and Indians were instilled through brain-washing by the ustahs and ustasahs. More religious groups sprouted overnight like mushrooms that grow in a night’s rain. Sermons in mosques also were preached so much hatred for the nons and over the years, a lot of young minds were poisoned to the situation today. Malay parents are also to be blamed for teaching hatred for the other races. Once, I was in a lift in an apartment. going down from the 5th floor. On the 4th floor, the lift opened and a a few Malay kids with 2 huge bicycles were about to enter. I held the lift door open with one hand and tried to get the bicycle in with the other. The children screamed and the oldest, a girl of about 6 yrs. shouted “Kafir”! Jangan sentuh basikal kita. Ta mau naik lif dengan awak”! I just let go of the bicycle and the door, So, this is the mentality that many Malay kids are being raised and the religious indoctrination isn’t helping either. Will our country ever go back to her glorious days like during the British rule and under the Tunku? The damage was done by Tun Razak, Tun M and Anwar and now PAS is further causing more damage like they are saints on earth but we see them as satans in flesh walking around glorifying Satan! We are very sad that the politicians who are intelligence-challenged Malay/Muslim men and women are further enhancing this rot through evil means.

    • Paul Wolfobitch says:

      “The damage was done by Tun Razak, Tun M and Anwar”

      Tun Snake Pharaoh and Two-headed snake Anwar have since their evil days resurrected themselves as saints.

      And our bankrupt and opportunistic “Opposition” baby snakes worship and pray to the old bastards – and tell the ignorant to do so too.

      Remember that delusional “Mahathir has repented” cooked up by the Pakatan Harapan?

      Well, both Mahathir and Anwar are still working the gross stupidity of our déplorable basket of the great unwashed still begging to be *rs*-bonked, Praise Be!

  • double tree says:

    I was born at the start of WW2. You are right, My Malay friends were more tolerant of us non Malays. Malay professionals I have known for so many years are so intolerant – sometimes you cannot even get into a discussion of the past when everyone was “equal”. After independence, with the rise of Malay political elite, these guys realised that the best and easiest way to control their own Malays was through race and religion. This is thoroughly exploited by the political elites esp after May 1969. Even before that TAR already commented on the rise of Malay extremism. This radicalism is premised on race and religion. Unfortunately royalty has also come into the picture. Bakri Musa has a new book called Race, Religion and Royalty. Unfortunately his blog site is blocked. He has said a few times that he is a marked man and therefore he will not come back to malaysia at all. Steadyaku47 has also said the same. Sarawak Report has a damning report on Malaysia regarding what they called a “Royal coup”. Sad for Malaysia..

  • Yuvarajah says:

    I believe you and every Malay know the answer. You don’t need a “pendatang” to illucidate. The intolerence began in early 80s when religion became the overaching goal of uniting the Malays. That’s when religious agencies began sprouting every spectrum of government machinery. Liquor, beer were banned and dancing prohibited. The liberals soon realised how they would be marginalised and left out/behind if they don’t tow the line. When the NEP was extended, the polarisation rift widened. Since a Malay cannot be separated from relligion born into, the level of intolerance became justified. Religion is a powerful unifying force, far greater than what culture can achieve. If you want solution, don’t look towards the nons. It’s only in the hands of the Malays. The pendatangs , at best, can condone the intolerance in the name of survival and peaceful coexistence. It’s that or migration to greener pastures.

  • Felix James says:

    It all really started in the 70’s by cunning politicians especially so mat corrupt n his bumi agenda. Before all this rubbish took place, we Msians worked n had fun together. My friends of all races even help with a wanita omno fun fair, my malay/muslim friend even came into a church to help put up decorations for Christmas. I’ve even changed dressing for my friends younger brother after circumcision. My best friends were a Chinese n a Malay. We never let race or religion come in the way of our friendship. Gone r those days. We are all so selfish and divided as a people.

    • Sundari says:

      I am think you know the answer it all started with the change in our education system n the politicians who play with race n religion

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