29 April, 2008

The Malay supremacy and The New Malay Dilemma

The definition of ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is not about the Malays being in a position to dominate, rule over and force their power upon other races, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said Malay supremacy meant that the Malays, as the indigenous people in Malaysia, needed to strengthen themselves to ensure they were successful and developed.

“If they are not successful and developed, then they are not tuan (masters), therefore they will be coolies. I am sure we do not want to become coolies who do not play any role in development because we are weak and not able.

“So when we talk about that (Malay supremacy), we mean we must be successful in many fields. It is never about ruling over others, or forcing our power upon them,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting last night.


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Excerpts from a speech given by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed at the Harvard Club of Malaysia dinner on 29 July 2002

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.

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. ....

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. ....

... 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.

(Source)

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