22 March, 2008

Malay rights a hot issue in Malay press !

Public shares disapproval of Penang and Selangor governments' possible interference with pro-Malay New Economic Policy in letters to the editor


Malay economic privileges have become a hotly debated issue in the aftermath of the general election following the opposition's declaration of its intention to roll back the excesses associated with such policies.

There have been street protests, while the Malay press has been publishing letters lashing out at the plans of two opposition governments -- those in Penang and Selangor -- to clamp down on political patronage.

Their plans have quickly become seen as dismantling the New Economic Policy, which favours the Malays in education opportunities, soft loans, government employment and contracts.

A reader, Mr Ab Jalil Backer, wrote in Umno-linked Utusan Malaysia yesterday that many Malays who gave their support to the Malay leaders in the opposition had not given them the mandate to question pro-Malay policies.

He said many Malays had benefited from these policies. 'The question is whether all Malays are ready to put down their ego and admit this?' he wrote.

Another letter published in the same paper came from a reader who said he had voted for the opposition so that Malay opposition leaders would safeguard the rights of their community.

Yet another wrote: 'Malays have sold out their own race. Just look at what will happen to Malays in Penang. I feel the state will become a second Singapore if the government does not stand firm.'

The letters are a sample of the flood of correspondence published in the Malay media -- which is influential in the community -- since the March 8 polls.

Some appear to suggest that the poor showing of the Barisan Nasional and Umno was a sign that Malay political dominance was weakening.

The local English dailies, such as The Star and the New Straits Times, however, do not seem to suggest that the sentiment among Malays towards the NEP issue is anywhere near boiling point.

So where does public opinion on the NEP lie? Political observers say the reality on the ground is somewhere in the middle.

Mr Ahmad Ikmal Ismail, a senior Umno Youth leader, said the anger over the plans to reform the NEP was not about to boil over. But he also disagreed with claims that much of that anger was being manufactured.

'I have received many text messages and phone calls from friends, colleagues and the public in general to voice their concern and anger on this matter. Even the normal and apolitical Malays are voicing their concerns,' he said.

He added: 'You must not look at the NEP as one that benefits only Malays.

'The main agenda of the NEP is to address the social problems that came with the division of races according to economic activities brought about during the British rule and to eradicate poverty. It ensures all citizens are assisted. I hope the opposition will respect these policies.'

Pollster Ibrahim Suffian from the Merdeka Centre believes that Malays are prepared to give the opposition a chance.

'I don't think the NEP issue has changed sentiments that much. A lot of people are apprehensive, but there is no sense of unrest. Even among the Malays, they want to give the new administration time to deliver on their promises,' he said.

Such differences in reactions to the NEP issue is exactly what a group of 25 Malay non-governmental organisations intend to address, in setting up a Malay unity action body yesterday to help unite Malays to safeguard their interests and the sanctity of Islam.

The panel's protem chairman, Mr Osman A. Bakar, said it was important to make the Malays realise what would happen to them if the disunity seen in the wake of the polls is not addressed immediately.

By Jeremy Au Yong
The Straits Times via Asia Media




Another candid one from Raja Petra

The Ugly Malaysian

In the old days it used to be called The Ugly American. Today, it is The Ugly Malaysian, at least as far as this country is concerned.

Malaysians, just like Americans, are racists; there is no doubt about that. But while Americans will accept the fact that they are racists, Malaysians will deny it and instead will claim to be very tolerant of the other race or races.

You can always tell when a person is a racist from the opening statement when a Chinese says “I have a lot of Indian friends”, or a Malay says “I used to mix with Chinese at school”, or an Indian says “Actually, Malays in the kampong are very nice people”, and so on. This is the Malay, Chinese and Indian way of giving their 'stamp of approval' to the other race. Why do you need to emphasis the word 'Malay', 'Chinese' or 'Indian'? Is this your way of showing tolerance? Does the emphasis on race mean you are 'tolerant' of those not of your race? Is this to give an appearance of magnanimity or generosity on your part? See what a great guy I am. I tolerate the other races. Sheesh.....as if I need anyone to 'tolerate' me.

Look at Malaysiakini's latest report on the Selangor State EXCO line-up. Malaysiakini reported that out of the ten EXCO Members, six are going to be non-Malays and four of them women. Who the hell cares whether six are non-Malays and four are women? Are these people being chosen to run the state because of their race and gender? Should they not be chosen because of their qualifications and capabilities? Who are these six non-Malays and four women anyway? Are they the best of the lot? Will they outperform and outshine the previous Khir Toyo administration? Are we going to see Selangor grow and prosper by leaps and bounds? Is Selangor going to be paradise on earth?

Who cares? What matters is that six are going to be non-Malays and four are going to be women. That is what matters and that is what is going to guarantee a great future ahead of us. The calibre of the ten EXCO members was buried in the consideration of race and gender. That is the main focus and that is what appears to be the deciding factor. Woe to this country when race and gender override all other factors.


Read also :"Abolish The Monarchy … Support our Kids!" here.

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