Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter speaks up

Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter
Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan, 24
“Both my parents are Malay. My mum’s heritage includes Chinese, Thai and Arab, while my dad is Minangkabau. Due to my skin colour, I am often mistaken for a chinese.
I’m happy that I don’t have the typical Malay look but I do get annoyed when people call me Ah Moi or ask me straight up “Are you Chinese or Malay”

Like, why does it matter? Before I used to answer “Malay” but now I’m trying to consciously answer Malaysian instead..

There’s this incident from primary school that I remember till today. Someone told me that I will be called last during Judgement Day because I don’t have a Muslim name. Of course, I was scared then but now that I’m older, I realise that a name is just a name. It doesn’t define you as a good or bad person and there is definitely no such thing as a Muslim name. You can be named Rashid or ALI and still be a Christian.

I’ve heard of the 1Malaysia concept, but I think we don’t need to be told to be united. We’ve come such a long way that it should already be embedded in our hearts and minds that we are united. Unfortunately, you can still see racial discrimination and polarisation. There is still this ethno-centric view that the Malays are the dominant group and their rights must be protected, and non Malays are forever the outsiders.

For the concept to succeed, I think the government should stop with the race politics. It’s tiring, really. We grew up with application forms asking us to tick our race. We should stop painting a negative image of the other races, stop thinking about ‘us’ and ‘them’ and focus on ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘Malaysians’.

No one should be made uncomfortable in their own home. A dear Chinese friend of mine said to me once, “I don’t feel patriotic because I am not made to feel like Malaysia is my home, and I don’t feel an affinity to China because I have never lived there..

I know some baby Nyonya friends who can trace their lineage back hundreds of years. I’m a fourth generation Malaysian.. If I am Bumiputra, why can’t they be, too? Clearly I have issues with the term.

I think the main reason why we still can’t achieve total unity is because of this ‘Malay rights’ concept. I’d rather ‘Malay rights’ be replaced by human rights. So unless we get rid of this Bumiputra status, or reform our views and policies on rights, we will never achieve unity.

For my merdeka wish, I’d like for Malaysians to have more voice, to be respected and heard. I wish that the government would uphold the true essence of parliamentary democracy. I wish for the people to no longer fear and discriminate against each other, to see that we are one and the same.

I wish that Malaysia would truly live up to the tourism spin of Malaysia truly Asia.


56 Responses to Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter speaks up

  1. Cheah says:

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

  2. fungusamongus says:

    Wow….she’s truly an Anak Bangsa Malaysia la!

    Good on you. Wish there are more like you.

  3. jarod says:

    now that she voice out, I think more VIP should speak up like her… 😀 cheers.

  4. Raja Ahmad Farouk says:


    Way to go gal!!! TAR is proud of you. I agree with your views.
    Reagrds Farouk

  5. francis mok says:

    Dear Lady,

    This is one of the best messages bearing on love for all fellow Malaysians. Maybe you ought to project yourself into the national stage.

    There should be no shortage of takers from decents polical parties unless all are BLIND.

    With your heritage and beliefs can can wind the Chinese hands down.

    God bless you and guide you onwards. Don’t be content if what you see around you is not right.

    You have shown the potential you lady!

  6. tsunami unleashed says:

    wow.. we are malaysian. certain politicians and ministers are not. They are hypocrite and idiot.

  7. Rubin says:

    Im well impressed with your views young lady. If only there were more like minded youth like you, there might still be hope for Malaysia. No liberties without independence.

  8. NSS says:


  9. Howie Ng says:

    Her late great grabdfather those days had the same view like her but was rejected by UMNO.

  10. Sabahan abroad says:

    Way to go young lady. Your great grand father is very very happy to have a great grand daughter like you.
    Keep it up. Wishing you the very Best in your future undertakings.
    Your age may be young,but your thinking is far matured than most of those old politicians.
    I wish i was there at the launching of SABM.
    Thank you bro Haris.

  11. shazlisa says:

    Hi guys,

    I’m Sharyn and I’m very proud that my interview is being circulated as my views are being shared by my fellow countrymen.

    Thanks for all your comments, I greatly appreciate it. But I would like to clarify, my interview ends at “I wish that Malaysia would truly live up to the tourism spin of Malaysia truly Asia.”

    The last part was added by the person who shared it. I hope people won’t take it the wrong way.

    Cheers to all and thanks again!

    • bangmalaysia says:

      Hi Sharyn,

      I just saw your comment and approved it immediately. Apologies for taking so long as I was pretty busy lately. Your interview was probably one of the most widely read posting on this blog. It was awesome to say the least and I hope you will keep on speaking out against racism of any form and promote the Anak Bangsa Malaysia spirit as your great grandfather had done. Tunku was a towering Anak Bangsa Malaysia and we truly miss him dearly.


    • Cilia.IDEAS says:

      Hi all,

      Does anyone know how I can get in touch with Sharyn?

      I would like to invite her for an event at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial in conjunction with his birthday:)


  12. Jbao says:

    Thanks a lot for delivering this simple message to Malaysia. We need it if Malaysia is to survive the coming global economic and environmental disasters.

    Warm regards

  13. Truly Malaysian says:

    Looks like our great Tunku, a very beautiful Malaysian girl. Jokes aside, it is true.

    This message is simply a Malaysian masterpiece. It has everything in it. It is the superset of 1Malaysia, Bangsa Malaysia, Malaysian-ness, Malaysian Malaysia and all.

    Our beautiful young lady is a national treasure that deserve a rightful place on the national stage. Can the Malaysians, with the means and network, get the ball rolling? She is simply a beacon and a reference for a beautiful Malaysia.

  14. Jessica says:

    This is the revelation that we all been waiting for! We are not Chinese, Malay or Indian or ‘lain-lain’…we are Malaysians! Hopefully more and more people from all walks of life truly believe and act upon the concept 1Malaysia!

  15. Weng says:

    Bravo! This is the best message. If all of us from this day forth recognise n acknowledge that we ARE MALAYSIANS, then whoever forms the government will have to accept Malaysians’ people power and govern toward MALAYSIANS’ interest. Then 16th September must be our Malaysia’s National Day for ALL MALAYSIANS. 31st August will be part of MALAYSIA’S History! So let us move forward as MALAYSIANS, ONE NATION, ONE MALAYSIA!

  16. CSI says:

    The true words of wisdom, young she may be but that does not stop one from being honest and sincere to see that this country cherish and grow in strength and become a more livable place call HOME !

    Ministers that we have and Politicians are blinded by greed and and lots of EGO !We do not need them!

    We need social reforms and we need it QUICK, otherwise we shall all sail away into the deep blue sea!
    Forever lost and never going to progress as a great nation.

    Three cheers for the young & brave heart that she has!

  17. Anak Malaysia says:

    Bravo to Shazlisa’s insight of what is truly Malaysians, that our Politicians know very well but chose to ignore to protect their own interest (not the poor Malays).
    We are blessed with many natural resources but why are we still much behind as compared to other developing countries that are without any natural resources. Becauce of the so-called “Malay rights” that has created a lot of disatisfications to other ‘Malaysians’. Let the BEST Malaysians lead, not because of one’s ‘rights’.
    The introduction of Social contract is a big joke and an insult to intelligence of all Malaysians.
    Once again my salute to Shazlisa.

  18. Khaw says:

    I would love to agree that refering ourselves as Malaysian would be THE BEST thing that can happen to us Malaysian.

    However, if you have studied the general theology of Malaysia, that would somehow be impossible. I have always told myself that country comes first, race and believes comes later.

    Main reason as to why country comes first, the sense of belonging to our dear Malaysia. As to everyone in the world, home is where our heart is. To instill this prospect into our future generation is more important than what dispute we have today.

    As to all computers are made up of 1s and 0s, we are made up of chromosoms of Xs and Ys. The current situation in Malaysia is obviously and obliviously been on the card of favouritism. Non-malays are always at a disadvantage. Mind you malays that the british who saved you and created the “Malay Reserved Lands” to preserved rights for the locals. As of today, we have to accept that Malaysia is a multi-racial country. It was Tunku who declared Malaya’s independence as we were to be a secular country.

    Our country should be more open to ideas, the brain-drain that our country suffers is mainly due to the unbearable favouritism that we Malaysians do not like to see being prolonged.

    What I would think that everyone who is more open to the 1Malaysian ideology is that we refer ourselves as Malaysian, not by race nor religion. Mind you that our country is the earliest multi-cultural civilazation in the world, yet, we come to this stage at this point in time.

  19. clarise says:

    Praise God for the gift of S. Lisa. No amount of empty words can sustain our beloved country but clear unblemished minds & generous unselfish hearts can certainly cut across ehhnic, religious & social boundries to achieve the impossible. Most of us think like you Lisa, we love you. God ( 0f all human beings) bless you.

  20. jesselane says:

    Saya adalah anak pasangan imigran Indonesia yang amendapat status warganegara. Abang-abang dan kakak saya merupakan generasi pertama yang lahir di Malaysia. Dan kini, sudah beranjak ke generasi ke tiga. Setiap kali mengisi borang yang memerlukan saya menanda apa bangsa saya, I am always hesitating. Akhirnya saya tandakan lain-lain. Bila ditanya, saya katakan saya anak Sabah. Above all, I am a Malaysian. And proud to be one. Terima kasih Sharyn, kerana berkongsi pendapat dan kerana berani bersuara. Adakalanya, saya terasa bahawa saya tidak memiliki identiti diri ditanah kelahiran saya sendiri yang secara jelas mengakui bahawa saya adalah warganegara Malaysia. But now let me say it out and loud … SAYA ANAK MALAYSIA.

  21. Daas says:

    Truly well said, I believe that every citizen that pledged their loyalty to this country should be given the governmental privileges a.k.a special rights,… because as we can see, its not the ethnic background/social background that should be looked into an individual as it would be racism, stereotyping, etc… we should look into human being as a human being,.. because equality is certainly an issue that should be given consideration for a democratic country…

  22. Princess says:

    i couldnt have put it in better words.
    well said.

    if race was important in msia, y are bumiputeras from borneo under the category of ‘lain-lain’?
    a question i’ve been questioning myself since i was old enuf to fill out my own forms.

    i love Msia. if only Msia didnt show race favoritism, i believe the vision of 1Msia can actually be achieved.

    kotohuadan. =)

  23. Felix says:

    Great acticle! I love it !

  24. UMNO for all Malaysian? says:

    1 Malaysia will only be achieved If race is out of context and UMNO is for ALL MalAYSIANS.

  25. sofea says:

    Young lady, I share your view. Unfortunately, there are still many out there who enjoyed the privileges and prefer to keep it that way for as long as they could. I’m in the late thirties and consider myself as Malaysian instead of Malay. I tried to argue similar points to former my schoolmates. Guess what? I was labeled as “liberal” and “ungrateful”. To some extent, one of my schoolmate wrote that I should be grateful that “dikutip oleh government” to work in the place that I’m working today. Of course he is an UMNO bigot who assumed that just because he got his job because of his race, everyone else also the same. Anyway, that is just to show you and other readers that to change the mentality is not an easy task. In my case, I decided to start it from home, by telling my children that we, regardless of the skin colour, are all Malaysian!

  26. FantasticGAL says:



  27. FantasticGAL says:


  28. Swipenter says:

    Dear Sharyn Lisa,

    For a young lady you are extremely incisive to say that the root cause of our poor race relations is related to the term “malay rights”. You seem to understand that by placing “malay rights” above human rights is spelling disaster for unity amongst Malaysians ie to say being a Malay is always above a non malay and a non malay cannot have equal rights to a malay bcos the rights of a malay overrides everything no matter how unjustifiable and unfair.

    The future of our lovely country depends on young people like you to make it a truly a great and first rate county to live in. Tunku I am very sure is very proud to have a great daughter like you. Take care and god bless.

  29. greateagleOne says:

    My dear girl,looking at you and hearing what you had to say brings back memories and tears to these weary eyes.
    Your grandfather was truly a great man,even in his Winter years he tried in vain in his wheel chair to turn back the clock to remind his people that we are one.

    Today his legacy is like a rag doll in the archives, even his 100 years passed as a movement of clouds in the sky without mention.Please consider to carry the torch your grandfather left behind and reignite it for the good of all Malaysians.

  30. CSI says:

    I suggest she a forms a party which strive for equality for all Malaysians…any one can be a member and everyone is equal…she can even be the next Prime Minister for all I care!

    Your grandpa will be very proud of you dear girl!
    He will be crying with joy when you step back into his shoes to really unite this country..AGAIN !

    Not like the other leaders who tore this country apart…and still tearing IT now!

  31. Sushi Platter says:

    Hmmmm…I’m trying to say something unlike all the other comments, but dosen’t seem too corny…like najib’s 1m’sia plan. Well, I guess that Its just nice to know that there are many more people like this. Keep this up and you may well be the worlds first 24year old female P.M. *Najib shakes with fear in background*

  32. Siput says:

    It is good to hear that some Malays are Malaysian at heart.

    But this is too little for me. I am a 27 generation nyonya and I do not consider myself a Malaysian. I am just someone who happened to have been born in Malaysia.

    So as an AMNO politican said “Kalau you tak suka, you boleh pergi.” I am packing my bags and moving.

    Perhaps we may met each other in Canada one day. Or perhaps not. In any case the Malaysian story of my family, a story that started centuries ago in Malacca will end with me. A new canadian story will begin.

    • bangmalaysia says:

      Well, just to wish you good luck in your quest to seek a new home in Canada, Little Nyonya. Take Care and do visit and write to us.

  33. Maya Angelo says:

    You are the voice of the people – as your great grandfather was, you are too.

    My father speaks fondly of TAR, his jovial manner and his dedication to Malaysia. My father, is Catholic and Kadazan, who has but the highest regards for your great grandfather. All the other leaders is pale in comparison, to the legacy your father left us.

    You have spoken not just my mind, but of most of the young metropolitan Malaysians who do not care which religion we’re born into nor which race we’re brought up in. We want to live in harmony, in a world without borders and thin fine lines – to make truth John Lennon’s words,

    “Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world”

  34. Hani says:

    If you were a politician, I would definitely vote for you. You have won my respect

  35. Dark Knight says:

    My hope is for world peace and human kind united. And I hope this could start with Malaysia…
    The unite will not achieve by the kindness of human being, due to we are not born in that way. But as you said, for the concept of succeed, it can be done if we have wiser thought…
    Glad to hear from you. Continue in that way, may lead you to the final success.

  36. Dan says:

    I am totally agreed with her.

    What Malayasia Boleh??? All is bullshit… why each time we fill up the form and why always ask what race am I????

    If GOVT think we are 1Malaysia then all the form dont need to ask what race am I….

    Malaysia Boleh??? Bolen WHAT

  37. awies ung says:

    good… and we try to look at kelantan.

    we have practice that since i was young and till now still remains same… 1 kelantan didalam 1 m’sia…

  38. emdee says:

    Kepada Sheryn Lisa Shufiyan,
    Saya adalah orang dilahirkan sebelum merdeka, lahir dikalangan keluarga miskin, lahir di kampung yang jauh dari persekitaran kemewahan, tiada api letrik, mandi dan minum air perigi, makan pun sekadar mengalas perut. Saya adalah berketurunan Melayu tulin mengikut salasilah, tiada darah campuran. Itu dulu sebelum merdeka. Selepas merdeka saya sekolah rendah di sekolah Melayu (Kebangsaan), sekolah menengah di sekolah Melayu (Menengah Kebangsaan)kerana tidak mampu masuk sekolah Inggeris yurannya mahal. Sementelah waktu itu Menteri Pelajaran zaman PM TAR dalam usaha menggalakan Warga Persekutuan Tanah Melayu menggunakan Bahasa Melayu (Kebangsaan) dalam apa jua urusan dengan menwujudkan dan membangunkan banyak sekolah rendah kebangsaan dan sekolah menengah kebangsaan. Apa yang berlaku ialah majoriti yang masuk kealiran sekolah kebangsaan masa itu adalah anak orang Melayu miskin dan kurang mampu (masa itu istilah Bumiputra belum wujud), tetapi bagi golongan orang yang berada Melayu dan bukan Melayu (China, India dan Keturunan Sikh)99.99% kesekolah aliran Inggeris atau sekolah jenis kebangsaan. Ada juga antara anak-anak golongan elit terus dihantar belajar ke luar negara. Pada tanggapan saya ibu dan bapa Sheryn adalah tergolong dalam kelompok elit tadi. Apabila Perisytiharan Negara Malaysia (16 September 1963) berlaku maka bertambahlah kepelbagaian kumpulan etnik yang perlu diurus oleh kepimpinan negara. Apakah Anak Bangsa Malaysia menggunakan bahasa Inggeris untuk meluahkan pendapat dan pandangan di ruangan ini? Letakkan diri anda sebagai rakyat Malaysia yang berasal dari Pensiangan atau Long Pa Sia di Sabah atau Long Lama di Sarawak. Pada pendapat saya (yang lahir semasa Persekutuan Tanah Melayu) Sheryn dan rakan-rakan elit anda tidak menyusuri sejarah negara (termasuk budaya dan adat resam) atau merujuk kepada Perlembagan Negara.

  39. artemisios says:

    SELAMAT HARI MERDEKA. Melayu, India, Cina, Iban, Kadazan, Sikh, dll semua kawan, takde lawan. F*CK racism.

    So glad someone like her speaks up.

    More please

  40. andrew says:

    well said lady…in view of the Malaysia’s independence day of the year 2010, this article/interview should be viewed by all people and i hope they know the true meaning of the word Merdeka..

    Happy Merdeka Malaysia!!

  41. Hikari Serizawa says:

    Wow! touching!!! If all malays have this kind of thinking, how Malaysia will be? huhu!!! I’m a Muslim and not a malay. Always being asked and told that “if you are Muslim… You are Malay…” and in my heart keep on saying… “Muslim is Muslim… Malay is just a race like Chinese, Indians, etc in which Islam teach averybody is same… but his or her relation to HIM THE ALMIGHTY differ… Anyway, I’m stating “YOU ARE A KIND of WHO WE NEED TO HELP MALAYSIAN”

  42. Char says:

    Some time I keep thinking that will it be better if 53 years back Malaysia never get Merdeka???

  43. Ek says:

    Your writing certainly spells the same passion as your ggf, the late TAR had for M’sia. There’s certainly no better leader for 1Malaysia other than him.

    After reading this article, wish I was 10 years younger now..just kidding.

    I believe there are probably over a million ex-malaysians living abroad since 1970s. Some even 2nd or 3rd generation now. So, the brain drain of malaysia already began 40 years ago, especially since TAR was not our PM. That’s a fact ! So, if mainstream media publishes facts, they ought to publish your article.

    God bless you & guide you as our future leader in this country. We need more younger generation like you to become the voice of the voiceless. Your ggf legacy lives in you. May it keep on burning in your heart. Take care.

  44. Ek says:

    You should consider teaming-up with YB Nurul Izzah on such issues that are important to the nation…

  45. Caleb Ho says:

    I have been caught up with the recent unsavory incidents that have happened in the past couple of weeks, starting with Siti Inshah, Namewee’s video retaliation up to Lau Chee Kin’s attack by 10 Malay youths as he and a friend were on their way to celebrate Merdeka Eve at KLCC. All these angered me but more so, saddened me deeply. So, it’s indeed refreshing to read your views.

    I’m an English teacher who’s been teaching at tuition centers for the past 7 years. I do so because I wish to have the freedom to teach in the correct manner. In my classes, English is merely a tool to learn the lessons of life, and the peace and harmony of all Malaysians sits at the very top of my lessons.

    Let me say this. You may be reluctant to do so but I feel a person with your background and one who possesses such a beautiful mind, should utilize her God-given privilege to spearhead a ‘We Are All Malaysians’ revolution to replace this 1Malaysia propaganda, which in all truth, is merely a marketing and advertising campaign for political gains. You should be at the fore-front of our national rebirth. I ‘m not asking that you join politics but I would greatly encourage you to lend your voice and personality to events and functions that will open up our nation’s eyes and ears.

    We need someone who is incorruptible and who stands for what so many of us believe in, that Malaysia is OUR country, not the country of one race and ‘dan lain-lain.’ May God bless you and your family. Your great grandfather would be so proud!

  46. Chuan says:

    Hi there.

    I’m glad I got to read this from a former student’s fb-posting.

    I’m glad that I get confused for a Malay : ) It brings back warm memories of my childhood neighbours, who were from all ethnicities, and who’d welcomed me into their homes, and hearts.

    Happy Malaysia Kita Day tomorrow.


  47. i’m white you because for give me to help for my people dead to seisme janary 12, 2010 pleace help my projet of the programms RES in Haiti pleace god give you evry ting the money cause you help the pood in the world anak pleace pleace pleace leasing my foundation BEOP pleace from my project

  48. zamli mohd says:

    I love your words and only hope that umno would like that too

  49. John P Phua says:

    I fully appreciate what she wrote which would represent most of the
    feelings of the non-bumiputra. If the governing politicians would only read, accept and apply what is being written, Malaysia will surely be strong and will be among the best countries in Asia. Let us pray and hope Malaysia will not be ruined by the existing crops of leadership, it is still not too late to rescue the country. It does hurt to find in the US Press that Malaysia has now become the most corrupt country in the world. Malaysia was not like that before, at least not to that extent, we would like to see Malaysia stands tall again among the likes of Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, even Japan.

  50. Alan Ong says:

    The new generation of Malaysia is living under the Mahathir World now. And how many of us still remember what our father of Malaysia had taught us?
    Last month I meet a Malay bumiputra from Singapore. They are really big different with the local Malay here.

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