Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Malay Rule? Bollocks

Written by johnleemk on 11:37:41 am Apr 4, 2007.
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Many people have criticised MONSTER Blog for its associations with the mainstream press, namely the New Straits Times. However, I recently could not resist the chance to join a discussion of the Raja Muda of Perak's remarks on equality for all Malaysians. Unsurprisingly, one chap soon showed up making some inane comments about equality for non-Malays but protecting unquestionable "Malay rule" over Malaysia.

Naturally, I responded, saying that I just don't understand. First he said he wants non-Malays to be equally recognised as Malaysians, and then yet he says that there is "Malay rule in Malaysia" which must go unchallenged. If there is true equality, then would there not be only a Malaysian rule in Malaysia? This country belongs to all Malaysians, does it not? Why is it that only one race is allowed to "rule" the country? And which provision of the Constitution provides for this?

Another commentor showed up, suggesting that what the original fellow meant was the need for "compromise". Nobody questions the need for compromise. But at the same time, what sort of compromise is it if Malaysia cannot be ruled over by all Malaysians? I posted a strongly-worded response that I think might be struck down by MONSTER Blog's censors (if they're anything like the NST's censors), so in its entirety, here is my response.

I am not disputing the need for compromise. The last thing this country needs is extremism. What I am asking is, is it a reasonable compromise to have a sham of "equality" for all Malaysians, when in reality some people have greater political power than others? How is this a reasonable compromise at all?

In the first place, does the Constitution lend such a compromise any support at all? I cannot find a single Article of the Constitution which states that the Malays are the only community allowed to rule Malaysia, or that the Malays are to be given greater weight in the political process.

To be very frank, I find it appalling and intolerable that there are still Malaysians out there labouring under the misconception that in this country, one race is superior to another. The purpose of the NEP and other such policies is to help a community, which has been left behind in the process of economic development, to catch up with the rest of the country. The purpose of the NEP is to make Malaysians more equal, not to enthrone one community of Malaysians over the others.

I consider it an affront to my rights as a citizen to be told that as a non-Malay, I cannot "rule" over this country. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a non-Malay cannot be Prime Minister, or that non-Malays are to be barred from the political process. Our government is permitted to discriminate against certain peoples to help the disadvantaged Bumiputra communities to catch up, but it is not permitted to discriminate against certain peoples for the purpose of trashing them as pendatang asing and second-class citizens, as many politicians in this country have done.

I respect the need for policies to help the Malays and other Bumiputra communities forward, and I have nothing against the principles underlying these policies, though the implementation has not always been to my liking. But I have no respect at all for anyone who declares that I am a de facto second-class citizen, not fit to "rule" this country. I am a Malaysian, just like anyone else. I have rights, just like anyone else.

I remember one Malay leader declared not too long ago that if the non-Malays questioned his rights, he would question theirs. Well, I dare him to. My rights as a citizen are protected and entrenched in the Federal Constitution, and any questioning of them is a criminal offence under the Sedition Act.

No one race "rules" this country. Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians, plain and simple. Any apparently discriminatory policies should be understood in a context that respects the need to ensure equality of opportunity for all Malaysians. A Malay boy should be assured that he has the same chance as any other Malaysian of becoming CEO of a major firm, and an Indian girl should know that she has as good a chance as any other Malaysian of becoming Prime Minister. This equality of opportunity is what underlies our Constitution, and the policies that have been enacted in line with it.

"Malay rule"? Whoever cooked up this concept, I know that it is not something that can be found in our Constitution. Malaysia's laws respect the rights of all Malaysians.


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.


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