Letters from Ward 5
Yin says, “Let’s do some straight talking…
No beating around the bush, no political correctness, no intellectual gobbledegook, no academic mumbo-jumbo and definitely none of the politicians’ Lidah Biawak.
Let’s just use our common sense, our sense of fair play and our common desire for wanting what is good for the country and All Malaysians.
Let this be just Malaysians having a frank chat about our country over a teh tarik.
- Article 153 of our Constitution provides for special privileges to the Malays and Natives to assist them
It is in short an affirmative action policy to ensure the Malays and Natives are not overwhelmed by the more competitive immigrant Chinese and Indians. It is finite and not meant as a never ending policy of racial discrimination where one race is guaranteed in perpetuity a special position with special rights forever.
The first period of this special privileges was for 15 years and later this was extended and then there was the target of 30% of the GDP has been attained.
Now Malay leaders are insisting on Ketuanan Melayu; a special position forever.
Do you think the Indian and Chinese leaders which were part of the team which negotiated independence from the British would agree to an arrangement where their descendents would forever be second class? It’s common sense that they would not. And talking about second class, the Orang Aslis are third class. What happened to their special privileges?
- From the limited advantages allowed in Article 153 this racial discrimination now covers everything in our life – from colleges which are only for Malays, to scholarships, to admissions to tertiary institutions; from recruitment into the civil service and uniformed services and in business. Nothing in our life is untouched by Bumiputraism.
While the Article provides for special consideration to Malay applicants into government service it is very clear that once in the service there is to be no discrimination – regarding promotion etc. In other words promotion will be on merit. Unfortunately this is not the case. In government service it’s the “kulitfication” that counts and not qualification.
- In business although there were provisions for special considerations to licences for Malays the Article states that the other races should not be disqualified or in any way disadvantaged from doing business.
The government initially insisted that they will “grow a bigger cake and not take away from existing businesses”.
Reality is something else. Ask Robert Kuok who got so fed up with Malay leaders strong arming him for more and more shares in the shipping company he built from scratch that he sold up and decamped to Hong Kong.
What about the smaller businesses? Families who have been doing the rice business find their licences not renewed. Companies which have been operating buses for generations had their routes refused – although they have been running the same routes for decades and providing a valuable service to small towns and rural communities.
These are just two examples. So is this what the government means when it says it will not take away from the Nons?
More than that, a monopoly was created for a crony for essentials like rice, oil and sugar. How does this help the rakyat – especially the B40? Surely healthy competition is the better way to ensure low prices and better service.
What about road tolls the terms of which are a state secret. All Malaysians irrespective of race pay for it to enrich the chosen few.
If you think strong arming Robert Kuok is just one case, think again. If it can be done to big boys like Kuok, what will they do to the small guys who do not have clout.
There is no better example of the practice of letting the Nons do the hardwork and take the risks and then reaping the harvest than in the recent example when certain well connected Malays muscled in on the durian growers. Their excuse is that the growers were illegally occupying government land. Perhaps, but why wait five years when the trees are mature and almost fruiting before taking action? This is just living on the sweat of someone else’s toil.
Unfortunately this is the modus operandus of many who think it is their God given right to take what someone else has built. This stems from the mentality that this is their land and theirs alone. Let the Nons do the hard work and take the risks then step in to ask for a share or just make life so difficult for them that they have no choice but to sell up.
The government wants to grow a Malay mercantile class the easy way. Give them licences, give them loans, give them contracts.
They don’t understand that a mercantile culture cannot be transplanted. It takes generations to cultivate. It takes blood sweat and tears to build up a business. It requires risk taking. For every 1 Non who succeeds in business 9 others fail. And they pay with their own money; that’s how they learn – the hard way.
How can you build a resilient Malay mercantile class by mollycoddling them. Using tax payers money to bail them out whenever they fail. Buying back our national airline for a higher price than was paid. How do you build a national shipping company when you refloat it with public money when your son runs it to the ground. Where is the risk taking?
And when private companies beat our GLCs hands down, despite the handicap, does it not say something about the system?
It is basic Form Six Adam Smith stuff that “risk bearing” is a fundamental requirement of business. The businessman offers a service or goods, and reaps the benefits if consumers buy them. Or risk the loss if what they offer is rejected. This is the law of the market place.
- National Unity: Successive governments have divided Malaysians, not bring them together. The only prime minister who worked to build a multi-racial Malaysia was Tunku Abdul Rahman. From there on it was downhill till we are now a nation of Malays and Non Malays.
It was Mahathir who came up with Bangsa Malaysia when he courted the Non votes when he was rejected by the Malays. We should have known it was just a con. As soon as he kissed and made up with the Malays he turned against those who saved him.
And now we have an ALL Malay Government (bar the tokens) led by a prime minister who openly declares that he is “Malay first, then Muslim and after that a Malaysian”.
We have a Ministry of National Unity and it has set up the National Unity Advisory Council to advise it on matters of unity and national reconciliation efforts.
The fact that we have a Ministry of Unity is an admission that there is no unity and that the Malays and the Nons need to be reconciled.
Don’t waste your money on the Advisory Council, Yes Men who will never say what needs to be said. Any man and his dog can tell you – get rid of the racial discrimination and you have a chance. Banning race-based political parties is another common sense action. Without removing racial discrimination anything they do is just for syiok sendiri.
Anyway what has the Council done, can anyone tell me? I will be surprised if many Malaysians have even heard of it.
- Look at what our society has become. In our schools, Malay students and Non Malay students don’t mix.
In the wider society we no longer sit together to have a meal and a drink together.
The Malays and the Nons eye each other with suspicion. Each grumbling and complaining about the other.
Oh yes, there is still mixing but this is superficial – not like with the older generation where you pick your friends not according to their skin colour but because you get along.
- If all that we have put up with has meant something – lifting up the poor; creating a more equal society and eventually building a strong nation where no community is disadvantaged it would have been something.
But who are the main beneficiaries of Ketuanan Melayu?
It’s the families and cronies of powerful politicians – they get lucrative contracts – oil, banking, trading. And lower down the ladder the minor chiefs get smaller contracts and positions in our GLCs etc. It is the bourgeoisie who jealously guard the perks their status gives them.
What happened to the poor Malays who have no political connections? They are too poor to take advantage of the perks like their middle class and rich cousins. The wealth gap between the rich and poor Malays is the largest of any community in Malaysia. That shows the hollowness of the boast of Malay leaders that they are fighting for All Malays.
- Religion: We cannot have a conversation about our country without talking about religion because race and religion is inextricably linked with regard to the Malays. Our Constitution defines a Malay as someone who speaks the language, practise Malay customs and is a Muslim. That is how so many who are not ethnically Malays have taken advantage of this to secure high office and gain commercial advantage.
In most countries religion and the state are separate. Religion is not part of their national debate. Not so in Malaysia where Islam is central to the debate.
I have mentioned religion because Malay politicians have brought religion into the national debate. Malay politicians abetted by the religious establishment have used religion to win over the Malays. In short they have used religion to win votes.
I am quite relaxed about religion but when even in this there is discrimination then one sits up and take notice.
Did you know that there are different allocation ratios for places of worship for Muslims and Non Muslims?
Muslims have a ratio of 1:800 population with a spatial requirement of 0.4 hectare for a mosque and 1:250 with a spatial requirement of 0.1 hectare for a surau.
On the other hand for Non Muslims the ratio is 1:4000 with a spatial requirement of ‘suitable standards’ for a church or temple.
(ref. The Journey of the Catholic Church in Malaysia – Maureen K.C. Chew)
It is increasingly difficult to get permission to build non-Muslim houses of worship.
A case in point, is the Church of Divine Mercy (locals call it the “Mission Impossible Church). it took 28 years from application for building permission to getting a certificate of fitness.
(Star 11 Sept 2005). Every conceivable obstacle one can think of was put up by the authorities and Malay NGOs to obstruct it .
Perhaps that is one reason why there are so many shophouse churches.
One hears of Hindu shrines (some over a hundred years old) being demolished because they do not have planning permission or are on state land.
Religious symbols which offend or ‘confuse’ Malays are taken down.
The ultra Islamists insist that religious greetings cannot be conveyed to Non Muslims by their Muslim friends. Religious festivals cannot be celebrated openly. Even non religious celebrations like the Oktober Fest is not allowed at one time.
Devout Muslim dentists would only accept Muslim patients and Muslim laundries will only take Muslim clothes. (And you think Ward 5 is in La La Land?).
And when Muftis and Imams condone corruption or support a politician even if he is incompetent and dishonest then surely all Malaysians should be concerned.
The hypocrisy of some astounds me.
They cry foul play in Palestine with the way Israel treats the Palestinians. Yesterday I saw two young drab the Palestinian Flag on the bonnet of their car. Good for him I say. I protest with them. I think Israel has stolen Arab land and Gaza is the world’s biggest open prison.
They scream apartheid. I scream apartheid along with them.
Will they scream apartheid with me when the Nons are discriminated against? Will they protest the unfair treatment given to the Nons?
Will they drab a banner saying “Tak Nak Rasisme – Bangsa Malaysia kini” on their car?
Or is their outrage selective – depending on race and religion?
Malaysia is a great country – we have abundant natural resources. We do not have natural disasters like many other countries. There is enough for everyone. No Malaysian needs to be poor or be deprived.
We have a population that gets along (unless instigated by the extremists).
We also have great human resources. We should encourage them to succeed not drive them away.
We should cultivate our own talents not by mollycoddling them from cradle to grave, but by giving them the tools to compete. All of us (irrespective of race) should be encouraged to be the best we can be. In the end the country benefits.
I believe every Malaysian has his dignity and would rather make it on his own than depend on the government. Yes many of us can do with a hand-up but most people don’t want a handout – they have their dignity.
Unfortunately our Malay leaders are too lazy to argue their case; to convince the Malays that they are as good as everyone else and can compete. Unfortunately giving bribes is easier. Providing crutches ensures the Malays are dependent on them.
GE15 will decide whether we go forward as Bangsa Malaysia and prosper or we remain a divided nation of Malays and Non Malays and see KD Malaysia sink because we are too busy fighting each other to fix the leaks.
The Nons have made it very clear – they want to stay, this is their home and they want to make Malaysia a great country BUT as EQUAL CITIZENS.
The Malays have to make up their minds: Be Tuans of a sinking ship or build a prosperous and progressive Malaysia together with everyone else.
Can we pull back from the precipice?
Tak Nak Rasisme! Hidup Malaysia!
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)