The Party is Over

This is again an excellent analysis by Mariam Mokhtar who had earlier written on her experiences atttending a BTN course. She has also written a host of other wonderful articles published in Malaysiakini.

Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysiakini

Malysians are living in an Age of Denial and fast speeding into the Age of Desolation. I hesitate to say the Age of Despair, for despair suggests loss of hope.

And I have faith. Faith, in my fellow Malaysians, moved by a groundswell of anti-racism sentiment.

Over the past few years, the voice of racism has reached a crescendo. Our society does not dare utter the R word. And I blame politicians for not addressing this issue head on. Each expects the next wave of leaders to tackle it. They didn’t or wouldn’t. So, now we succumb to conflict and confusion.

Malaysia is supposed to be the bed-rock of multiculturalism. But the horrid slogan ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is throttling the other soundbite – ‘1Malaysia’. I don’t like the former and I dislike the latter even more.

azlanWithout qualifying ketuanan Melayu, the term is impotent. Similarly ‘1Malaysia’ remains another empty slogan – sounds good, but lacks substance and definition.

Our politicians live in a world pretty much divorced from reality. For decades, they used the race card to divide and rule us. With lives to lead, careers to pursue and mouths to feed, we simply ignored them and carried on earning and living. But things have come to a head. Many working and middle-class Malaysians can no longer contain their disgust.

Ketuanan Melayu = Malay supremacy; 1Malaysia = national unity and ethnic tolerance. You can’t insist on the latter while still persisting with the former. It is a contradiction in terms.

The world is getting smaller but not in the Malay universe. Other nations have dismantled their barriers for a more cohesive society, but we Malays are building our walls faster than we can mouth the words ketuanan Melayu. If we are not careful, we’ll build our walls high enough and thick enough to hem ourselves in. Bricked up from the real world.

It is all a question of perception. The Malays are misguided if they are convinced by the fallacy of ketuanan Melayu. The politicians who expound this idea are self-serving.

poverty malayThey sell this idea to the poor and poverty-stricken Malay, saying that an equal and fair Malaysia will only encourage the non-Malays to remove what little wealth they have. Recipients of this news become petrified, and cling on firmer to the farcical ketuanan Melayu.

As for the privileged Malay, it would be financial suicide to forego the status, prestige and recognition he’s accustomed to.

In reality, politicians are doing more harm to the ordinary Malay and all Malaysians. They only protect their own interests and the interests of those who pander to their wishes.

Cycle of discontent

The wealthy Malay probably constitutes only 3 percent of the Malay population. In relative terms, little, if any, wealth has filtered down to the ordinary Malay.

luxury carsGaudy mansions, fast cars, designer clothes, international schooling, holidays abroad, first-class travel, overseas properties, offshore bank accounts, private jets and helicopters are de rigueur for the wealthy Malay.

Of course, the poor Malay aspires to have all these and more. He assumes that the NEP has accorded the rich Malay his correct station in life and rightful place in society.

Can he be so gullible or naïve as to believe that corruption did not figure in any of these vulgar displays of wealth? Those at the top will never relinquish their position. At best, or when it suits them, they will appease those beneath them with a scattering of crumbs.

Thus, from the top and right down to the bottom-feeders, these people are content. But contentment breeds complacency. And complacency breeds contempt.

NONEFor every inch that the Malay is entitled to under the current rules, the non-Malay has had to fight for limited spaces in education, job opportunities and wealth creation..

Whilst the Malay has only to sit back and watch things land on his plate, his non-Malay counterpart has had to use his ingenuity to succeed.

Competition brings out the best in people and only the best get selected. But think of the others who are also able but are not chosen. They feel disillusioned and trapped in a system that is unjust and unfair. Disillusionment gives rise to discontentment, which in turn, raises discord..

For every argument that some errant politician makes about non-Malay Malaysians, patronisingly referred to as ‘immigrants’, the non-Malays feel immense betrayal.

No one doubts the allegiance of non-Malays to King and country. But when your sense of loyalty is questioned and tested, then those whose ideals are shattered will emigrate. Much talent has already been exported. It is Malaysia that suffers.. Malays too feel the pain of injustice and discrimination. Many have also jumped ship.

We need to strike a balance between a just and fair social system, economic growth and job creation. We cannot have one section of society maintaining a separate, inward-looking community that feels it is a cut above the rest of mainstream life and whose values are at conflict with it.

How can the marginalised be expected to inculcate a sense of pride in their national identity? Removing their dignity and worth, removes their sense of belonging. Is this the game plan then?

I fail to understand why our leaders refuse to acknowledge that mistakes have been made by others before them and also by themselves. Do they not comprehend that they too can be part of the solution?

There are signs that our politicians and certain institutions are strongly resisting change. They do not wish to inflame the hyperactive sensitivities of certain groups of people. But in doing so, they hold the rest of the country to ransom.

malaysia merdeka 50th anniversary 280807We need to get our country back on track – we need strong leaders. Not those who swan abroad on one pretext or another. We do not need international statesmen.

We need someone here and now, to address pressing domestic issues – maintaining good and harmonious race relations is no longer an optional matter for the majority group.

18 Responses to The Party is Over

  1. Alan says:

    Dear Mariam,

    This is indeed a very good anaylsis of the situation facing Malaysia now. I too have faith and God willing, Malaysians will return the country to its glorious days of fairness, justice for all and equal ownership of the country.

    As a matter of fact there are many good and talented Malaysians of all raced who had left the country as early as 1970’s for precisely the very reason of racism and loss of equal opportunities. Unfortunately I am such a person. To me is a great loss to Malaysia.

    I am now a pratcising professional in a neighbouring country after reciving my tertiary education courtesy of the British government.

    Since leaving my beloved country in the early 70’s I have consistently kept in touch with political and social economic development of Malaysia.

    I hope that Malaysians regarless of race, religion or class will rise to the challenge to return the country where it should belong – to all Malaysian.

    God Bless Malaysia

  2. Alan says:

    Oh, I am very sorry, I forgot….

    God Bless You and may you continue to have the wisdom to write excellent articles.

  3. albert zacharias says:

    Malaysia under TAR started with the wrong foot and we keep on using one leg for so long. The one leg refers to the Malaysians who worked hard to earn a living and never look for a hand out. The hand outs received are only merit based.

    Those who have merit but are squeezed out by the NEP are disgusted and know the system has been faulty all these years.

    Take me for example…

    I am a non malay. My family was very poor and I managed to pass my MCE with an aggregate of 17. Went to high school to do my form 6. Got 5 good principals passes and was refused entry by local universities to do either medicine or engineering.

    Went to work at age 19 and pursue a UK professional accounting qualification. Passed within 18 months.

    Working eversince in private corporate cirlce until 37 years old when I decided to pursue a MBA with Heriott Watt University, Edinburgh.

    Paid RM 24k cash upfront and did the MBA within 18 months with straight passes and many As.

    I bet if I am a Malay, I would not have even pass any professional external degree within 18 months!

    My coursemate for MBA who was a director with MAXIS and his course fees fully paid by Maxis did not even pass 2 papers and opted out.

    Who is he? He is a well looked after Malay boy with his plate full!

    Many like him are limping around with one leg when they are born the same like others. Just because the government decided to give them a tongkat, it does not mean they have to forget about the other leg and hands as well.

    How about the brain? Very little used because in the local uni, pass rates are accorded by quota also.

    Park Lah.

  4. Foo Wy Len says:

    Dear Mariam,
    I have been reading your articles either in Malaysian Insider/Malaysiakini. I find them to be sincere, truthful, and full of hope for our country of diverse cultures, religions and people. I look forward to the day when UMNO will be on the other side of the bench and all Malaysians will be ONE. Carry on with your good work, in due time there will be enough Anak Malaysia to make it a reality.

  5. Alig says:

    I have said many times, that I have many “Tuan’s” in my life and I am happy to say you are one of them.
    God bless you Tuan.
    I think Malaysia is too far gone to be saved. Very soon we will be left behind and we will have the 3rd world countries as our equal. Maybe one of the races in Malysia will be a 1st Class race but we will end us as a third class country. 40 years ago we were competitive with singapore and Taiwan ago and see where they are now. If only we could work together, forget about race, religion and language, just do what is right and just, for this country. This Ketuanan thing has really ruined this nation thanks to that Apanama. With the current BTN course material and its lecturers, do you think the people will be united? Why are we letting them ruin this lovely country?

  6. anon says:

    Malaysia is on course to self destruct before it can re-build itself. Many Malaysians might have realized the direction we are going is indeed backward. To turn around will take more than a generation.

    I left Malaysia in 1972 and have never looked back. My next generation is British and have contributed to the British economy and progress. Its a loss for Malaysia but of course UMNO sees it as “good riddance”. Malaysia would rather have unskilled laborers and maids sums it all. Yes, the party is over.

    There’s lot I would have liked to comment on Malaysian politics but I think RPK’s Malaysia-today have covered most of them. After 52 years of UMNO’s policy to help the Malays, are the Malays any better off compared to the non-Malays today? Yes, but only the elite in the corridor of power and the rest of Malay population can dream on.

  7. StraightTalking says:

    If Malaysian is to return to Malaysians, then the Malays MUST take the lead to reject Ketuanan Melayu. The Malays must reject UMNO because UMNO is the ONLY party in Malaysia that wants Ketuanan Melayu. Unless and until UMNO is no longer the government, the whole world can say that UMNO is a racist government practising aparteid, but they will continue to govern the country as they wish. You know why? It is because they are STILL being elected by the so-called anti-apartheid Malaysians and has in fact remained the BIGGEST political entity since 1957. This IS the reality.

    If the Malays are serious and sincere about getting the country on the right track, it doesn’t really take a lot of brains or hard work. Just DON’T vote UMNO in the next GE. Habis cerita.

    Then wait and see if the country is better or worse off without UMNO. Afraid to take the big step? Well, if you are afraid, then NO ONE on God’s green earth can help you. Malaysia will continue to decline, in education, knowledge, technology, wealth, productivity, social harmony, you name it, if it’s bad, we’ve got it. We’re fast becoming the only country left in the world that officially and openly practises apartheid and the only reason why there is no bloody up-rising is because the minority are being suppressed so that is an impossibility.

    I don’t need to tell you what Malaysia will be like without UMNO, suffice to say that it will be one million percent better.

    It is Malay scholars and thinkers like you who MUST continue to speak up over and over again, to tell the Malays that the time is NOW to think as Malaysians.

    Mariam, I salute you.

  8. chow kw says:

    Dear Mariam

    It is refreshing to know there are Malaysians like yourself who is willing to speak and write the truth. Today in our nation honesty and integrity and speaking the truth are dirty words. This is more so among journalists who continue to spin and write nonsense in the media. No efforts are spared to divide and destroy the social fabric of this nation. These people are despicable and without principal. If malaysia failed all malaysians are affected. I am sure these journalists and their families too are going to be affected. We should do things to unite and build bridges to foster harmony among all communities. our adversaries are our neighboring countries who taking away all the foreign direct investments by putting in place attractive policies and other incentives to attract investors . Here in Malaysia , the administration seems to be doing and saying things that pitched one community against another community. Why cant the leadership put an end
    to all this nonsense and put their priority in nation building where the interests of the nation and her citizens comes first. This should be the top most agenda of any government governing a country. our economy is in a shamble and all her citizens are suffering. Is our leadership aware of this problem. Instead of fixing the real problems, more problems are created daily. This the new malaysia. the good old Malaysia is gone. It is sad that Malaysia has got to this stage and lost her direction due to poor and incompetent leadership.

  9. yathong lee says:

    To return Malaysia to its glorious past, just remove UMNO, period. There is no other choice except this one solution. UMNO is the culprit. We must make sure that we bury them forever and do not allow them to relive itself again. Then only we as a nation can be on the right track to be a great nation.

  10. Peakof Insanity says:

    Dear Mariam,

    Your article resonates with me and speaks of all the things that’s gone wrong with our country’s policy as well as its’ politicians.

    I love this country very much. But the years of blatant racism, discrimination and the deteriorating quality of life here does not bode well for the youths and future generations. Faith can only do so much and take us so far before social, economic and future considerations drive our youths to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

    We all want to stay and fight. But each and everyone of us has a limit and we do get tired after all the hype and yet no concrete results are seen. Time is running out for us. Take a look around you. How many friends/relatives/acquaintances has left this beloved land because they can see no future here? How many of them has returned from their stints abroad hoping to serve our beloved country only to be disappointed and decides to leave for good?

    As a youth, even i tell my siblings not to come back once they’ve settled overseas and we are planning for the eventuality of moving the whole family abroad. Although our elders are reluctant, they too understand our consideration.

    Last heard, even foreign labors are shunning Malaysia. Bureaucratic red-tape is not the only reason there has been a decline in low-cost foreign labors in Malaysia. In fact, the workers are shunning Malaysia as a working destination and causing a shortage in the labor-intensive sectors like manufacturing and agriculture. These workers earns better wages elsewhere and chose Malaysia as a last resort when they could not come up with higher agency fee to work elsewhere. This is a far cry from the good old days when they are all flocking to Malaysia legally or illegally to seek better life.

    This speaks volumes of the situation in our country now.Age of desolation indeed.

  11. sons of adam says:

    Thank you for your thought provoking insights on racism.You wrote with fairness and good judgment. It is the politicians who advocated apartheid policies but generally most Malays are nice people. They had been indoctrinated with crutches that they find it hard to let go. Most of my Malay classmates are intelligent people and we do compete in class in the sixties but not anymore. My girl friends are Malay and we mix freely but times changed with the affirmative policies and “Ketuanan Melayu”

  12. Saifuddin Razak says:

    Laws are not being enforced, crime is rampant, corruption is deep embedded in the establishment, judges kowtow to the government, security apparatus serve the government, racism is lauded by the majority, mediocrity is embraced …there is lots to do if Malaysia wants to get out of its current cesspool. Where do we start when the establishment is dead against change?

  13. Kiwi Singh says:

    Great analysis of the current situation. I see no future in Malaysia, however, I still cling on to my citizenship (though I don’t live and work in the country) just to make sure I have a chance to vote for change – every election, I fly home to cast my vote. Not for my future (or my family’s) but for the next generation of non-malay Malaysians. FYI, I always vote PAS since there is no DAP candidate in my constituency.

    Why is there no future for Malaysia? Just look at the numbers/forecasts – GDP growth, literacy rate, poverty rate, IT spend, %of addressable graduate labor force (remember, not all grads can speak English let alone write in English), investment (infrastructure, education etc.). Then compare these numbers to countries like Vietnam, India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, etc. and you will see and understand why I don’t see Malaysia recovering (back to its glory days) or remaining competitive.

    My advice to non-malay Malaysian who have the capacity and capability to leave the country for better opportunity abroad is “Pack your bags and leave while you still can”. If the malays want Malaysia so badly…. I say… let them have it. The world is our oyster.

  14. Peakof Insanity says:

    To Kiwi Singh, good advice. Proud to say that i’m joining the bandwagon of emigrants soon. And this is one more taxpayer’s money lost in the coming year for the Malaysian government. I’ve paid my taxes faithfully ever since i started working and i know i haven’t been getting my money’s worth. Next year, another country is getting the benefit of economic productivity and tax income from me.

    To my fellow malaysians, we are a peace loving and harmonious people regardless of race, religion, ideology or skin colour. Its the politicians and establishments that’s sowing the seeds of discord. No matter where we are, no call for help will ever go unanswered.

  15. frizzorama says:

    Many emigrants say they leave and “never look back” and yet I always see them commenting on articles such as these.

    I agree that if you have the capacity to leave, and want to leave, then you should. Indeed the world is your oyster.

    But like Kiwi Singh, I believe that you should also come back to vote, at least, for the future of those who cannot just pack up and go.

    Don’t fall into the divide-and-rule trap. Vote for all Malaysians, because there will no rosy future if we continue thinking as “Malays and non-Malays”…just like what the politicians want us to think.

  16. sons of adam says:

    When the non Malays leave like in Indonesia, its the end of spurring economic growth. When the creme De la creme leaves for greener pastures the Malays can have all that they want(as Kiwi Singh said) and all the “Ketuanan Melayu” among themselves. People cannot survive with the stipulated 30%NEP and this will prevent people from opening up business. You build houses and they want 5 to 10 per cent discount when others have to slog for it. They need crutches in almost anything as their “God given right” Almost all the Chinese banks had been taken over, viz, Lee Wah Bank, Kwong Yik bank, UMBC, Ban Hin Lee Bank, etc. Even Malayan Banking was founded by the Chinese. In education they control you, many had been left out from Universities, even though they scored 9A1 or 10 A1 (including A1 for Bahasa Melayu & English) Not all Chinese are rich…I know of a girl who became a prostitute to support her younger brother to university because her father was an odd job laborer and was jobless because he was sick. If we go on having racist policies based on race and religion, I am afraid we will go backwards to a point of no return.

  17. LiveLife says:

    To be united & success, only one solution, start from a leader base on humanity, life are short, why not doing something great for our generation….

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