The following was written by one Wong Ci Lik.
Do the Malays want to lose power by integrating-assimilating the Chinese and Indians?
In the late 1940s and 1950s, Thailand suppressed Chinese culture and closed Chinese schools with the hazy notion that this would prevent a fifth column for Communist China. They were too successful - almost all Chinese have Thai names and speak Thai as their mother tongue. Being of similar religion is a major factor. From the 1960s after being “assimilated”, the Chinese began to accumulate political power. Nowdays, the top political posts and including the army and police are usually held by Chinese descended Thais.
Indonesia did the same from 1966, and Chinese Indonesians who are less than 5% of the population now control an estimated >90% of the economy and has begun to accumulate real political power (unlike MCA).
There cannot be integration/assimilation with discrimination. Without discrimination, due to longer history/culture/experiences* - the Chinese and Indians in whatever form of names would come out tops.
History shows that only when the original “foreign” population is less than 10-20% and with no major religious differences, will assimilation work.
I would say let it be as it is now perhaps with more effort on the Chinese and Indians to speak Malay better. Better for Malaysian Chinese and Indians to continue having separate identities otherwise the Malays could really lose power within a generation. Instead, do the reverse; send Malay kids to Chinese schools as I will elaborate in my last paragraph.
*As with Mahathir’s theory (who unfortunately seems to have only super rich Chinese and Indian friends like Vincent Tan and Ananda, hence not understanding the Chinese and Indian masses and also having a chip on his shoulder - getting a driver immediately after he can afford it), the Chinese and Indians have advantages; Malays do need handicaps temporarily — its this time period that is in dispute most of the time ... I would leave the Indian topic to better commentators.
The Chinese have about 5,000 years of history - education and health/nutrition knowledge etc. Being a more experienced race — like a more experienced tennis player or golfer, of course in general without handicap, they will prevail. For 5000 years, they were living most of the time in harsh times in China - famine, war etc and they have four seasons. They had to plan and save more as there could not be enough to eat/grow in winter etc. They have evolved to be the most successful race - if measured in scientific quantities terms. Their mathematical language has evolved early to be most efficient - compare the number Sembilan (3 syllables) with Jiu/9 - all single sound numbers in Chinese. Focusing on education/Confucianism and basic health/nutrition are 2 major determinants. In South East Asia, coconut and durians drop by themselves; one can fish and plant whole year round.
Not much need for planning, saving and arithmetic.
But evolution/improvements are determined by needs/environment. When there's a need and a will, there's a way. Given the right environment-education and health/nutrition focus and a need to do so, human beings will be the same. Malays are not inferior to any races when born, it’s the environment and maybe culture and indoctrination that may cause some to be believe so. Currently, due to constant indoctrination of the need for assistance, the Malays lack confidence. Without confidence, there cannot be ability. Without Malay confidence, the “problems” of Malaysia cannot be solved.
So perhaps the solution is to come to a general agreement on the right solutions to this, the Chinese and Indians must be involved and help for their own sakes. Have a big NGOs and political parties get-together.
In my opinion and from my personal experiences growing up and living around/with non-rich Malay folks (who are usually much nicer, kinder and polite than the rich ones/Chinese/Indians - a sweeping statement perhaps but as stated is my personal opinion — we have equal share when collecting Kupangs, fruits, working in construction sites etc even though I don’t contribute much in our sojourns - belated thanks to Ali Kadir, Yusoff,Azmi etc of Khalidi Muar!)
A little of what I think can be improved :
- Malay nutrition - all the thick curries, fried stuff does not help. A poor Chinese usually still get enough nutrition for the kids by cooking chicken leg/necks/bones soup etc. Formula baby milk is expensive and the Malays mother normally needs to work to supplement the family income. I don’t think most Malay kids growing up has enough nutrition.
- Environment — it is not healthy at all for most Malays in urban centres (majority of the Malay population are in Urban areas now) to be housed in small 1-2 bedrooms apartments. They may be poorer in the kampung but they have the space and the whole village to depend upon. We need more libraries built around these areas instead of look/feel good halls, religious buildings etc.
- Ensure >50% of students in current vernacular Chinese primary school are Malays — they will get to learn one more language and better mathematics skills (important in future China growth century etc), the Chinese will get to learn/use better Malay; all should understand each other better. National schools can be converted into such Chinese primary school if needed or such Chinese schools named as National School in name — this is a bold move and may not be politically palatable. But a leader is supposed to lead, not follow. Singapore leaders were bold in using English as a main medium, a neutral language; Malaysian leaders should go one up on them by using the Chinese language at least in primary schools. There is already a substantial number of Malay students in Chinese Primary Schools. Being 50% and more will also give the parents confidence that their kids won't be badly influenced by the “kaffir” Chinese.
- Recognise that Malay history began more than 1,500 years ago from the Great Sri Vijaya empire rather than the Melaka Sultanate with arguably only a half hero - Hang Tuah vs Hang Jebat. More historical role models will help confidence and ability in the end.