Sam Ke Ting a 27-year-old has been acquitted by the Magistrates’ Court twice of reckless driving which caused the death of 8 teenagers (Mat Lajak) on modified bicycles. The High Court reversed the judgement and instead found Sam Ke Ting guilty and sentenced her to 6 years jail and a fine of RM6,000. The High Court also refused bail and ordered her immediate arrest.
This is the gist of a case which has stirred up the country. Videos of Mat Basikal and what they do has gone viral. There is even a rap in Cantonese about the case which questions the justice system in Malaysia. Opinion pieces are found in the media. Everyone has their point of view on the matter; many with a racial overtone.
Sam Ke Ting is a metaphor for what is wrong with our country in general and what is wrong with the Malay Community in particular.
If Malaysia were not so divided by race (and religion) this might have been treated as a straightforward case of an accident and it would be left to the lawyers to argue the case. But because we are so racially divided, the fact that a Chinese woman driver had caused the death of eight Malay teenagers and a Malay judge has reversed two verdicts of the Magistrates’ court to impose a six year jail sentence and a fine of RM6000, has stirred up this racial divide. Were we all Malaysians would there be so much controversy? I doubt it.
One has to ask if there were no Mat Basikals with a large crowd gathered in a dimly lit public road to watch the Malay boys racing on public road at 3.20 am what would be the chance of such an accident? Is the use of bicycles on highways not illegal? Why has not the police acted to arrest the Mat Basikals and dispersed the crowd? Apparently this is not the first time such ‘events’ have taken place.
The Malay community should ask ourselves why is it that Mat Rempits (on motorcycles) and Mat Basikals are always Malays. Has anyone heard of a Non-Malay Mat Whatever?
I am sure the grieving parents must be asking themselves “What if . . . ?”
We Malays are too afraid of disciplining our children especially our sons. I am not being sexist when I say sons are pampered compared to daughters. They get away with doing household chores – the work of women. They often eat first before the women. They come first in everything. Women defer to the men. This is reflected in the wider society – in how we govern and carry on in public. How many times have we read of teachers who have committed gross misconduct. They get a rap on the knuckles and that’s about it. The teachers are never sacked however bad the offence. There was a case when 10 people died of food poisoning. The victims are Malays and so is the caterer. No one was prosecuted or sentenced to jail. We are always more lenient to ourselves,we spoil our children.
How often do government servants go late to work or when clocked in, go to minimum before starting work. Some bring their food to their desk to have breakfast before starting work. The discipline and work rate of government servants has become a national joke. No reprimand, no suspension, no “three strikes and you are out”!
This cultural trait of “going easy on our own” has made us what we are today. We have been pampered for decades. Even when we do not perform we are promoted, even when we don’t qualify we get into university, even when we are not qualified we are given high positions with high salary. When we lose money, we have the taxpayers to pay for the losses. Our leaders encourage this because they need our votes so like a doting father they spoil us. All this is waiting for something to happen and it won’t be just eight people killed, it will be a whole community.
Mahathir warned that the Malay race may disappear; he is absolutely right except that it won’t be because of the Non-Malays as he inferred, but because of our own Malay leaders who will not discipline us. On another level, it is because parents do not discipline their children and schools too don’t discipline the kids that such tragedies occur from time to time. By the way, I have friends who send their children to Chinese Schools. They tell me they like the discipline in Chinese Schools which they don’t find in National Schools.
Whatever the legal merits of the Sam Ke Ting case, the public has made up its mind. The non-Malays think race is a factor, the Malays (or most of them) think justice has been done.
We have lost eight young Malaysian lives today; tomorrow we forget. Unless we take discipline seriously another tragedy is waiting to happen again.
In a wider context, unless our leaders take the bull of “Malay indiscipline” by its horns, we as a community will continue to be ‘second class” even if we accord ourselves the title of “Tuan” – we are second class in almost every field of endeavour despite . . . or should I say, because of the privileged position we give ourselves.
How I wish we have a strict “father/leader” who demands more from us than this lot who pamper us and indeed exploit our weaknesses to ensure their own political survival. A good and strict father will do what is right even if it means using the rotan so that his children will grow up with the right values; he doesn’t seek to be popular with his children. As they say, spare the rod and spoil the child.
The Sam Ke Ting case is a wake up call to us Malays in more ways than one.
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)
By Multatuli Murtadi, Kelantan
Three Malaysians – Malay, Chinese, Indian – in hot soup