Before you start to read the following article, let me declare to you that I am Malaysian first, Malaysian last; and not Chinese first Malaysian second or Malaysian first, Chinese second. I have this thought for almost three decades now and when I finally decided to join the blogging fraternity, my blog was aptly named "Malaysian first, Malaysian last". And the debate continues ....
It was not long ago in secondary school we learned of how, from times before, the Malaysian people were mostly Hindus and Buddhists. It was also not too long ago that a prime minister accused the Malays of having the memory span of an Alzheimer’s patient, then basically proving the point himself in front of a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
When someone tells me that I should support Malay rights and privileges, I just have to ask: "Why?"
Can’t I support Malaysian rights, or universal human rights?
Heck, I’m human first, right?
To me, personally, the government should have no problems extending housing discounts and university entrance quotas to the local universities, barring one, to all races based on income.
I mean, let’s face facts. If a Malay can achieve an income of more than RM300,000 a month, just what basis is there for him or her to need a housing discount on a multimillion ringgit mansion, while other Malaysians have to build their homes on government land, and hope and pray that they’ll be given that land after 30 or 40 years living there?
And permit me to ask this, but what would you say is "Malay" about the Malays, "Chinese" about the Chinese, "Indian" about the Indians, and so on so forth in this country?
We’ve all heard of Chinese people who can’t speak a single dialect of their mother tongue. Same goes for the Indians, and, in fact, the Malays.
I’m not afraid to admit that judging by what I see on TV, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat looks and sounds more Malay than I do.
I hate Malay movies, and in all honesty, would only watch Awani for their talk shows.
I don’t watch Hindustani movies because, well, I’m a logical person. Three hours of people somehow singing on the streets, finding total strangers to dance with them in a well-choreographed performance is total nonsense. My brain can’t take that, and the clothing changes and the sudden move from a street to a hillside…
Let’s move on.
Nowadays, Malaysian politics being based on race is seen as an affront to the fact that every single Malaysian can trace their roots in this nation to at least three or four generations deep, the span of about 60 to 80 years.
So what makes me more Malay Malaysian than a twenty-something Indian Malaysian, whose great-great grandparents moved here to get into rubber tapping? Or a twenty-something Chinese Malaysian yuppie whose ancestors migrated here merely to start businesses of their own with no cash in hand?
There is no difference. And I pity that politicians can’t see this or choose not to see it for their own political gain.
On March 18, 2010, Lim Kit Siang put forth acid tests to determine if the government themselves were in support of 1Malaysia, which I considered a bold move. Not because of Lim, but because nobody knew what 1Malaysia truly meant.
"Uncle Lim" basically came up with his own definition.
His first acid test was not so interesting, but his second one was hilarious.
For his test, he basically asked Khairy Jamaluddin if he would say he was Malaysian first and Malay second. Of course, the Honourable MP from Rembau did answer he but stated this needed to be in line with the Federal Constitution.
Lim stated that KJ gave the wrong answer and this led to a 12-page riot in the Parliamentary Hansard, which includes the mentions of Oxford and someone being a deaf dinosaur.
While this spectacle reads out rather boringly amidst the 12 pages, it is not without some humour; because you see, there are weak minded cows elected who just don’t get it. In this case, the MP from Kapit.
While "Uncle Lim" was willing to state that he was Malaysian first and Chinese second, the MP hesitated and just had to ask an extremely dumb question.
"If Malaysians first, Chinese second, where are the Ibans?"
Take a deep breath after reading that, people. Slap your foreheads if you must.
Let me just say this. The nation’s strife has always been caused by race, and religion itself has always been made an excuse by a certain race. In fact, our constitutional laws were drawn up at a time when then-migrants were given a choice of either going back to their homelands or to accept this nation and help develop it.
This was close to 60 years ago.
Do Malaysian Malays truly believe that since then, society hasn’t changed, and that the younger generation believes in a nation with equal footing without glass ceilings and additional red tape based on race?
People change. Policies change, and laws, even constitutions are amended to suit the times.
And honestly, as Malaysians and just Malaysians, that call to change is now.
(By HAFIDZ BAHAROM/The Malaysian Insider)