Monday, June 7, 2010

The Plight of the Malays

I attended the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting this evening, and this time I took on the role of Toastmaster of the Evening (TME). I refrained from making any speech today – this second round of speechmaking is seeing me go slow and easy! I surprised myself, sometimes.
.
I stumbled upon this riveting and thought-provoking article written by Jema Khan (an ex-Sabah UMNO Youth leader) titled “Perkasa Malay versus liberal Malay” that appeared in The Malaysian Insider today, and I am reproducing excerpts from this article verbatim: “The essence of Perkasa’s ideology, if one can even call it that, is to make the Malays feel like the master race in the country. As the master race, all that belongs to the country belongs to them. They, of course, have yet to get their just desserts.
.
Even if they had already got it before, they still want it now because they presumably were not able to make much of the benefits they once enjoyed. Their demands, though, are cloaked under the guise of the poverty and disabilities of the Malays in Malaysia.
.
The liberal Malays, on the other hand, are well exposed to other races and nationalities. We are confident of ourselves in relation to other people. We have long left behind the village mindset and are disdainful of being the village champion as we know there is a great big world out there, with many who are indeed smart and capable human beings. Yet we welcome an environment that is based on meritocracy.
.
We look at the Malays in Singapore and ask, how are they able to have a GDP per capita which is a few times higher than the Malays here? They didn’t have the New Economic Policy (NEP). What they did have was a good education, a clean government and meritocracy.
.
The Perkasa mindset plays on the Malays’ fears that without rent seeking, corruption, subsidies and abuse of power, the Malays are doomed. Yes, the Malays are generally poor but the so-called affirmative action as proposed by Perkasa will not make the majority of them better off.
.
It will only enrich the few Malays at the top who can take advantage of it. At the same time the mindset of most of the Malays will still be focused on their poverty, ignorance and an inability to compete in today’s economic environment.”
.
Needless to say, the author is a liberal Malay with an abundance of confidence and plenty of chutzpah, and he is plain-spoken and candid about the sorry predicament of the Malays in Malaysia. As he emphasized, “The politics of Perkasa has no place if we are to have a new dawn of honesty, openness, intellectual vibrancy and meritocracy. This will be the true empowerment of the Malays as envisaged by the liberal agenda”.
.
Tay Tian Yan who wrote a similarly-themed article titled “Two different types of Malays” (The Malaysian Insider, posted June 01, 2010) had described “the Malays in Perkasa’s eyes are living in a unique space insulated from the outside world, where there are no tests for survival nor challenges. So long as they confine themselves to this solitary capsule, they are most definitely safe and blessed”. Methinks it is time that the Malays awaken to join hands with other Malaysians to build a harmonious and prosperous nation as equals. I honestly believe that the Malays are equal to the task.

No comments: