Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Exposing the Hypocrisy of Malay Supremacists

Written by johnleemk on 2:21:27 pm Jun 3, 2007.
Categories: ,

One common excuse given by advocates of ketuanan Melayu — Malay supremacy — for their blatant apartheid is that non-Malays are insufficiently loyal to the country — as supposedly exemplified by their absence from the civil service and armed forces.

Some go as far as to assert that there is no second-class treatment for non-Malays in the first place. However, there's no other way to describe the blatant name-calling of Malaysian citizens as foreign migrants — pendatang asing or kaum pendatang — or the blatant threats of bloodshed and anarchy if pro-Malay policies are not continued.

I have a non-Malay Bumiputra friend who was told not to apply to the University Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for admission because he was not a Malay, despite his Bumiputra status.

Then, of course, we have continued examples of blatant discrimination like the decision by Maybank to do business only with Bumiputra-owned firms. That's apartheid, and there's no other word for it.

But does a lack of non-Malays in the police or armed forces justify this? No other civilised country denies equal treatment to its citizens on the basis that some of them are not contributing to society.

Does the American government treat the blacks as second-class citizens because they are the majority of American convicts? No — the government recognises their economic plight and even implements some affirmative action policies to uplift them economically.

Non-Malsy are not anywhere as bad as the African American community when it comes to social contributions — last time I checked, contributing to the economy was a social contribution, and it seems the non-Malays are quite good at it.

(And there's no reason the Malays can't be good at it either, if not for the fact that they keep obsessing over apartheid rather than improving themselves by, say, giving educational and training subsidies.)

Moreover, this is missing the greater problem of non-Malays who do opt for serving the nation by joining the police, firefighters, or armed forces. More than a handful have been killed in action while serving the community (though of course their numbers have fallen in recent years — in direct proportion with the increased aggressiveness of the government's pro-Malay policies).

Are our fallen non-Bumiputra heroes and heroines considered any better than kaum pendatang? If I were to join the police and have my legs shot off by a gangster in the line of duty, would I or my children stand the same chance of obtaining a government scholarship as a Bumiputra drug addict?

What about the Peranakan, the Straits Chinese who can trace their local ancestry back to the era of the Malaccan sultanate? Do they stand a better chance of winning a government contract than a firm set up by the son of an Indonesian who migrated here half a century ago?

We all know the answers to these questions. But confront a Malay supremacist with them, and he will do his best to avoid answering to the reality of his hypocrisy.

The problem of Malay poverty is a troubling one, and one that must be addressed. I fully support an aggressive expansion of our present affirmative action policies to ensure all Malaysians have an equal opportunity of commercial success.

But this is not an excuse for second-class treatment for those non-Buumiputra Malaysians who have earned the right to call themselves Malaysian. It is bad enough that a non-Malay whose ancestry here goes back over four centuries is still considered a kaum pendatang.

But what of those who have earned their citizenship with their blood? Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their nation and their community? Are they treated any better than a Bumiputra whose only contribution to society has been acting as the Ali to some Chinese Baba?

I can only imagine how it feels to be told that even if you had a thousand lives to give for your country, you could still not call yourself a true Malaysian.

The Malay supremacists incessantly demand that if we want to be treated as full Malaysians, we must prove our loyalty to our country. But why should we do this in the first place when we have been told that as kaum pendatang, this is not our country to die for? Why should we, when we can see so clearly that even a non-Bumi who pays the greatest price possible for his country is no better than any other pendatang asing?

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