Malay first, Malaysian,Ketuanan Melayu - 1Malaysia ?
"How can I say I'm Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me... and it's not proper," he said.
"I can say I'm a Malaysian first but (would it be sincere)?” he asked.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched his 1 Malaysia idea when he took office last April but a recent spate of racial and derogatory remarks from his Umno party has further divided rather than united Malaysian behind his Barisan Nasional government.
His efforts to liberalise government policies and create a more inclusive, more open policy towards all races appear to have riled Malay right-wingers who now fear that his 1 Malaysia would cause them to lose their rights to the minority races.
“We started off with one basic paradigm and that is tolerance. We say we tolerate or we live in a society that is tolerant of one another. But in the concept of 1 Malaysia, being tolerant is just the beginning.
“The next paradigm is a shift from tolerance to total acceptance. This is when we accept the differences of our people, when we accept diversity as something that is unique, that provides us with a very powerful chemistry in our society... something that can actually give us strength and not otherwise,”
"The third and final paradigm of 1 Malaysia was to celebrate diversity".
Najib’s remarks came after nearly 80 Malay groups formed the Majlis Perundingan Melayu or Malay Consultative Council (MPM), ostensibly to protect and defend Malay rights, Islam and the Malay Rulers which they claim is being questioned and sidelined in recent months.
A Malay group leader said the MPM will focus on the economic rights and privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras to ensure they are not neglected in the New Economic Model (NEM).
Malays today are knowledgable. Extremist views on race and religion are not our vision of Malaysia. We aim for solidarity by encouraging participation from all sections of society for a truly democratic nation.
Confident Malays are not threatened by other races. Nor do they feel inferior or undermined. They are not spiritually bankrupt and do not get confused when non-Muslims use words like Allah.
Malaysians are aware of their surroundings - abuses of power, select Malays selfishly milking the NEP, endemic corruption, public institutions compromising their neutrality by becoming political stooges, no accountability in government bodies and politicians.
There are many disadvantaged people in Malaysia. Our urban and rural folk lead parallel lives, with little overlap. Our society consists of the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. Racism, sexism and ageism are rife. It is little wonder there is a rise in cynicism. It is amusing to see the '1Malaysia' concept in a mess because of these.
We are a young nation, and we attained independence through the collective effort of the peoples of Malaya: Ordinary Malayans - rubber tappers, tin coolies, jungle clearers, road builders, railway workers, teachers, policemen, port labourers.
They were Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, Orang Asli. Some made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of independence. Must we now forget their contributions and treat their children and grandchildren not as true Malaysians, but merely as immigrants? Are we not indebted to them?
Those who champion ketuanan Melayu should concentrate on the Malay community and seek answers for the following:- Malays lacking aspiration; Malay girls outperforming boys; Malay men abrogating responsibilities towards their family, spending money on successively younger wives, leaving families severely disadvantaged; high divorce rates in Malay marriages;
Most drug addicts and HIV/AIDS sufferers are Malays; abandoned babies are primarily Malays; incest, rape and sexual crimes are committed mainly by Malays. Why not sort out your priorities, clean up your own house first and stop pointing fingers?
Sadly, few Malays are willing to admit the faults within them but would rather lay the blame on other races. And please stop brandishing the keris about. They are revered items, as any good Malay knows, and should never be used in a cheap publicity gimmick.
- Mariam Mokhtar