29 August, 2006

The New Malay Dilemma

The New Malay Dilemma

By Mahathir Mohamad

The Malays are among the few people whose race is legally defined. Thus, the Malaysian Constitution states that a Malay is one who habitually speaks Malay, professes the religion of Islam and practises Malay customs.

There is nothing said about the definitive culture of the Malays. It follows that changes in culture do not make a Malay person a non-Malay.

Culture is made up largely of the value systems accepted, even if not actually practiced by a people or a race. Observations have shown that the culture of a people determines whether they are successful or they fail...

Europeans, Asians, Africans and American Indians can all be successful and can all fail. It is, therefore, not the race or ethnicity which determines success. It is the culture.When I wrote The Malay Dilemma in the late 60s, I had assumed that all the Malays lacked the opportunities to develop and become successful.

They lacked opportunities for educating themselves, opportunities to earn enough to go into business, opportunities to train in the required vocation, opportunities to obtain the necessary funding, licences and premises.

If these opportunities could be made available to them, then they would succeed...

.... But today, the attitude has changed. Getting scholarships and places in the universities at home and abroad is considered a matter of right and is not valued any more.

Indeed, those who get these educational opportunities for some unknown reason seem to dislike the very people who created these opportunities.

Worse still, they don't seem to appreciate the opportunities that they get.

They become more interested in other things, politics in particular, to the detriment of their studies.

In business, the vast majority regarded the opportunities given them as something to be exploited for the quickest return...

They learn nothing about business and become even less capable at doing business and earning an income from their activities.

They become mere sleeping partners and at times not even that. Having sold, they no longer have anything to do with the business. They would go to the government for more licences, permits, shares, etc...

.... Why has this thing happened? The answer lies in the culture of the Malays. They are laid-back and prone to take the easy way out. And the easy way out is to sell off whatever they get and ask for more. This is their culture.

Working hard, taking risks and being patient is not a part of their culture. It should be remembered that in the past the Malays were not prepared to take up the jobs created by the colonial powers in their effort to exploit the country.

Because the Malays were not prepared to work in rubber estates and the mines, the Indians and Chinese were brought in. At one time, the migrants outnumbered the Malays.

Had they continued to outnumber the Malays, independent Malaya would be like independent Singapore.

But the Malays have apparently learnt nothing from the near loss of their country in the past.

Today, they are still unwilling to work and foreign workers are again flooding the country. And because they are not equipping themselves with the necessary education and skills, they have continued to depend on others.

Their political dominance will protect them for a time. But that dominance is fading very fast as they quarrel among themselves and break up into small ineffective groups. Their numerical superiority means less today than at the time of Independence...

... The Malays, together with the other Bumiputeras, make up 60 per cent of the country's population. But in terms of their political clout, it is now much less than 60 per cent.

They are now more dependent on non-Malay support, both the government party and the opposition.

Economically, of course, they have less than half the 30-per-cent share that has been allocated to them. If we discount the non-Malay contribution to the nation's economy, Malaysia would be not much better than some of the African developing countries.

To succeed, the Malays must change their culture. They must look towards work as a reward in itself. They must regard what they achieve through work as the true reward.

There should be some financial reward but this must not outweigh the satisfaction obtained from the result of their work...

... Changing culture is far more difficult than changing the policies of government. It is easy enough to propose affirmative action but it is not easy to implement it.

The recipients must have the right attitude if the results are going to be obtained...

.. Unfortunately, their view is that their crutches are symbols of their superior status in the country. The sad thing is that they are not even using the crutches properly. As a result, they gain nothing or very little from the availability of these aids...

... So what is the new Malay dilemma? Their old dilemma was whether they should distort the picture a little in order to help themselves.

The new dilemma is whether they should or should not do away with the crutches that they have got used to, which in fact they have become proud of.

There is a minority of Malays who are confident enough to think of doing away with the crutches, albeit gradually. But they are a very small minority.

Their numbers are not going to increase any time soon. They are generally regarded as traitors to the Malay race...

... There will be a host of protests over this generalisation about Malay attitudes. We read almost every day about blind Malay people and other handicapped Malays graduating with university degrees or driving cars or doing all kinds of work.

This does not prove that the generalisation that I make is wrong. These are exceptions. They only prove that if the right attitude or culture is adopted, even the handicapped can succeed.

The dilemma faced by those few who want to build a strong, resilient and independent Malay race without crutches is that they are most likely to end up becoming unpopular and losing the ability to influence the changes in the culture and the value system which are necessary.

It seems that they should not try and yet they know that without the cultural changes, the Malays are going to fail.


Shahrir: Let Dr M speak at assembly

KUALA LUMPUR: NO ONE should prejudge what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will touch on if he is allowed to speak at the party general assembly in November, says Umno supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad.

“Let him proceed with his intentions. Whether people say that he is demeaning himself when he gives his speech as a delegate is a matter of personal judgement,” he told reporters at the Parliament House yesterday.

However, in Jitra, 32 Umno branches in the Kubang Pasu division urged the former Prime Minister to reconsider his decision.

The branches in the Temin/ Laka Zone decided on this at a special meeting in Changlun on Sunday.

Temin Zone Umno secretary Mohd Yusof Jamaludin said Dr Mahathir should not contest the post of divisional delegate.

“We do not want him to contest just for the sake of wanting to speak at the assembly,” he told a press conference yesterday. (Star)

Don't bother to contest, Dr M told

"We respect you as a leader but we disagree with your decision to be a delegate at the party’s general assembly."

That was the sentiment of 32 Umno branches in the Kubang Pasu division over Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s intention to represent the division at the general assembly in November.

Mohd Yusof Jamaludin, a spokesman for the 32 branches, said Dr Mahathir should withdraw from contesting a delegate’s post to protect his dignity as former prime minister, Umno president and chairman of the division.

"Even if he contests, we cannot promise he would be chosen," he said.

The contest to select seven delegates will be held on Sept 9.

He suggested Dr Mahathir find another channel to raise his concerns about the party and Government.

"We regret Tun Dr Mahathir’s decision to contest since it would mean bringing himself down to a delegate’s level," Yusof, who is also Kampung Belukar/Bendang Ceruk Umno branch chairman, said.

The 32 branches are considered the most influential among the 146 in the Kubang Pasu Umno division.

Its members included division chairman Datuk Johari Baharum, his deputy Ahmad Zaini Japar, vice-chairman Aman Khan Md Hussein and secretary Samsuddin Ahmad.

Yusof also said the group fully supported Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and recognised Dr Mahathir’s contributions to the division.

Dr M advised to consider implications of attending the Umno GA as a delegate

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been advised to consider the possible implications if he were to attend the Umno general assembly as a delegate.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said not only the Malays, but the other races in the country as well as foreigners would be monitoring events at the assembly.

Umno represents the Malays and I am worried that what happens in the assembly will reflect on the Malays� situation, he said after launching the National Language and Literature Month 2006 today.

Hishammuddin, who is also the Education Minister, said the party does not prevent nor determine who can or can not attend the assembly.

It is up to the Umno branches in Kubang Pasu to decide whether they want Dr Mahathir to represent them,� he said.

It was reported that 32 Umno branches in the Kubang Pasu division had urged Dr Mahathir not to accept nomination as one of the division's seven delegates to the general assembly in November.

This is to protect his dignity as former prime minister, said Mohd Yusof Jamaludin, a spokesman for the 32 branches.(NST)


Sampai bila "sindrom tak tahu" PM akan berakhir?

Perdana Menteri, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bukan sahaja terkenal dengan sikap suka membisu ketika pelbagai persoalan dibangkitkan mengenai gelagat kepemimpinannya dan kerajaan, malah beliau juga terkenal sebagai seorang Perdana Menteri yang suka menampilkan diri dalam keadaan serba tidak tahu.

Pengakuan bahawa tidak tahu beliau yang paling terkenal ialah mengenai penggabungan ECM Libra dengan Capital Avenue dahulu di mana menantunya Khairy Jamaluddin menguasai kira RM9.2 juta saham dalam ECM Libra pada masa itu.

Malah, penggabungan itu berlaku sebaik sahaja Khairy mempunyai saham dalam ECM Libra.

Ular lidi telan naga

ECM Libra disifatkan menelan Capital Avenue dan penggabungan itu dikritik oleh banyak pihak termasuk mereka yang menyifatkannya sebagai ular lidi (ECM Libra) menelan naga (Capital Avenue).

Ketika Abdullah ditanya mengenai penggabungan itu, akhbar menyiarkan pengakuan paling popularnya, "Saya tidak terlibat dalam apa jua cara pun, saya tidak tahu."

Terbaru, Abdullah juga dilaporkan mengaku beliau tidak tahu apabila ditanya mengenai kenyataan Khairy yang mencetuskan kemarahan kaum Cina dan dikritik lantang dalam perhimpunan agung Pemuda MCA ke-43 Sabtu lalu.

Khairy semasa merasmikan persidangan perwakilan Pemuda Umno Bahagian Jerlun, Kedah baru-baru ini mendakwa kaum Cina akan mengambil kesempatan daripada kelemahan Umno.

Abdullah berkata, beliau tidak tahu apa sebenarnya yang dikatakan oleh Khairy.

Mohon maaf

Ketika ditanya adakah Khairy perlu memohon maaf kepada kaum Cina, Abdullah memilih untuk membisu juga dengan menyatakan beliau belum dapat menyatakan perkara itu.

Ketua Pemuda MCA, Dato' Liow Tiong Lai menyifatkan kenyataan Khairy yang tidak diketahui apa sebenarnya oleh Perdana Menteri itu sebagai berbahaya.

"Ada orang mendakwa yang saham syarikat tidak boleh jual kepada bukan bumiputera ... ada juga yang mendakwa jika Umno lemah, kaum Cina akan mengambil kesempatan untuk membuat pelbagai tuntutan.

"Saya mahu mengingatkan mereka bahawa tindakan mereka itu adalah sentimen perkauman yang merbahaya. Jangan cuba menjadi jaguh dengan memainkan isu sensitif," katanya walaupun tanpa menyebut nama Khairy.

"Orang-orang ini hanya mementingkan keuntungan politik sahaja," Malaysiakini memetik ucapan beliau dalam bahasa Mandarin itu.

Kerugian besar

Wakil Negeri Sembilan, Lee Liu Hoay pula secara sinis melahirkan simpatinya pada kerugian besar yang ditanggung Khairy kerana terpaksa menjual saham ECM-Libra.

"Padan muka anda, anda memang patut rugi," katanya.

Lee juga membidas Naib Ketua Pemuda MCA, Ling Hee Leong kerana "berbaik-baik" dengan Khairy bagi menutup segera kontroversi yang dicetuskan oleh menantu Perdana Menteri itu.

"Dia (Ling) bertemu dengan Khairy baru-baru ini, saya harap Ling tidak menawarkan pinjaman wang kepada Khairy. Jika dia buat begitu, dia tidak akan menang apa-apa jawatan dalam MCA selepas ini," tambahnya.

Tidak diketahui mengapakah Pemuda MCA yang membahaskan kenyatan Khairy dengan begitu berapi-api lebih tahu dan mempunyai maklumat yang lebih baik mengenai kenyatan itu berbanding Perdana Menteri yang menagku tidak tahu.

Amat menghairankan kerana beliau sepatutnya mempunyai maklumat yang kemaskini mengenai perkembangan penting di dalam negara lebih-lebih lagi dalam parti pimpinannya...(read more)


Khairy Phenomenon: A Danger Signal

In 2004, Khairy Jamaluddin's name exploded into Malaysian political circles (especially UMNO) like a brilliant firework going of against a pitch-black night sky. Onlookers looked at him with murmurs of awe and admiration.

In that year, this newcomer caused political old-timers to sigh in envy and set the younger politicians who were waiting on tenterhooks for their turn in the limelight.

As the Prime Minister's son-in-law, a distinguished Oxford graduate and a powerhouse in the Prime Minister's department, Khairy swept into the Mahathir-era UMNO ranks like a whirlwind. He entered our multi-ethnic political stage as dark horse.

Young, brilliant and well-heeled, the image Khairy projected caused the media to willingly label him as "open minded" and "a breath of fresh air." The international media proclaimed him "the most powerful 28 year old in Malaysia."

Khairy came to represent the ideal of the new Malaysian politician.

UMNO members held high hopes for him. The Chinese community, heartened by his statements during UMNO youth elections about establishing closer ties with Chinese organizations and the Chinese media, naively put their faith in this young man who with a Western education.

Not two years have passed, and their faith has been broken by his ethnically divisive statement that "if UMNO is divided, the Chinese would use the opportunity to make more demands.”"

Many would clearly understand that this is politics, and that Khairy is only telling voters what they want to hear when he promises stronger ethnic ties to the Chinese and continued emphasis on bumiptera rights to the Malays. The use of ethnic issues to win votes, and the subsequent abandonment of the Chinese media once they have played their part, are old tricks that have been passed down from various UMNO politicians.

These tricks have been used by aspiring UMNO leaders in the past. They were a necessary tactic to allow some UMNO members to ascend to power.

The previous generation of leaders used tricks and threats to secure the cooperation of other ethnic groups, while the current generation simply follows the prescribed pattern. Should we expect that future leaders would deviate from a tried and proven method?

Although Khairy's use of this method was crude, the effects of his actions on UMNO's culture cannot be underestimated.

What kind of man is he? Young, ambitious, and with a combination of excellent traits, he is a rising star in Malay society. Many Malay youths support, admire and try to be like him.

If Khairy's actions are allowed to become a common phenomenon in UMNO and Malaysian politics, it would serve as a danger signal to the country.

If a person who received a tertiary education in the West can grind the principles of equality, democracy, freedom and human rights under his feet while making unreasonable and wild accusations about an ethnic group that has lived with his own for almost half a century, then wouldn't those close minded, ethnocentric conservatives in our country be encouraged to go one step further?

If Khairy, who is the PM's son-in-law, can so brazenly provoke ethnic tensions, wouldn't those opportunists in UMNO out to make a name for themselves be encouraged to do the same?

Isn't Penang UMNO Youth Leader Mohammad Salim's accusation that the Penang government was "actively working to marginalise the Malays and drive them off the island" a prime example of this?

In the face the challenges brought on by globalisation, political parties all over the world are trying to keep up with the changing times. They are hoping that the new generation will bring reform, improvements and enlightenment to the party's political ideas.

Sadly, a brilliant Oxford graduate who represents the new generation of UMNO leaders has chosen to cling to the old ways of ethnocentrism. How can someone whose political ideology runs along these lines lead the next generation of UMNO in the face of the challenges of globalisation?
(Asia News Net)


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