Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Leave the Malays Alone to Stagnate in the Kampung?

Written by johnleemk on 10:03:50 am May 24, 2005.
Categories: ,

Note: This is part of a series in which I rebutt remarks I disagree with posted on the malaysia-today.net May 2005 debate.

This article is in response to the following comment:

TO ALL NON MALAYS IN MALAYSIA:

Please don't talk about Malay privileges. All non-Malays should be lucky living in this country. Please open your eyes and of course your mind. What do the Malays have in this country? Almost nothing except the privileged. Majority of them are civil servants, or may be selling goreng pisang, nasi lemak otherwise nothing. The Malays is not greedy, they appreciated what they have and they are not lazy but just enough to give their children a shelter, food, clothing and education. They just want to live peacefully and pray five times a day.

Some may get a contract from the government BUT remember where did they all get the supplies. Whatever supplies from cement to broken pencil are all from the non-Malays. 95% suppliers in this country is from non-Malays. They get 100% contract and 98% goes to the non-Malays. Why 2% only because once the government raised the price of oil and other goods, the next day the supliers raise their price, who is this businessman and for sure in Malaysia belong to non-Malays. So please non-Malays don't argue about their privileges or about their religion. Please remember this, the Malays are tolerance enough to allow non-Malays making life peacefully in this Malay country but as they usually said 'IF YOU DON'T LIKE LIVING WITH US GO PACKING AND LEAVE THIS MALAY LAND'. SOme may argue orang Asli is the first inhabitant of this land, Yes go and tell the same to United States of America that a red indian is the first to be in USA.
Peace V
Dr Mahadeer

I believe I have already addressed the idea that Malaysia solely belongs to the Malays before, but in case I haven't, here goes: all Malaysian citizens have an equal stake in the success of Malaysia and an equal ownership stake in the country. This is by no means a Malay land. Was, yes. Is, no. This is a Malaysian land. Not Chinese, Malay or Indian but Malaysian. Malaysia belongs to the Malaysians.

The Malays may not be lazy; that much is clear. There is no doubt that a lot of them are still living in poverty and still living from hand to mouth. If they sincerely want to escape from poverty, then good. I don't think anyone would mind having more affluent Malaysians around. Wealthier Malaysians lead to a wealthier Malaysia. However, it seems the main premise here is that Malays don't want to be "greedy", hence implying they don't want to escape from poverty. I don't mean to tie the word greedy with the concept of escape from poverty, but if anyone seriously expects us non-Malay Malaysians to subsidise the Malay Malaysians for the rest of this country's history...

If Malays want to live peacefully, then fine. Nobody is taking away their culture or their traditions. Nobody is talking about taking their money to buy a new bungalow. We're just living and let living. The basic problem here is that I seriously doubt all Malays want to stay the way they are now. Nobody can be happy forever staying in the kampung, minding his own business and continuing to grow paddy and fish like his ancestors did. A developed country does not send sampans out to sea or plow the fields with buffalo. A developed country uses advanced technology to get the best out of its natural resources.

Clearly, the Malays cannot afford to stagnate. Development does not mean losing touch with one's roots. None of the proposals I have mooted mean that either. How does stopping the flow of government funds into building mosques interfere with your rights? It is not stopping you from building a mosque, is it? Likewise, the removal of quotas is not tampering with a right. It is removing an unearned privilege.

The reason why so many Malaysians complain and yet don't leave represents one of the most greatest ironies conceivable: because, surprisingly, Malaysians do love Malaysia. Why would we want to leave such a great country? We raise our voices because we want to express ourselves in line with the freedom of expression guaranteed us by the constitution, and because we want to change our country for the better. Pak Lah himself admits that if something is not done about Malay privileges, the crutches will soon morph into wheelchairs.

Telling your fellow citizen to get out when all he wants to do is to change the country for the better simply does not make sense. Hopefully, we as Malaysians can work together towards eradicating poverty and racial segregation. Unfortunately, considering the state of affairs in the country, this seems little more than an utopic dream.


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