All those years
I have been a diligent follower of Malaysian politics...which made me very interested in Malaysian hostory. Naturally as a Malay, my initial support was for the Barisan Nasional. I guess this interest blossomed particularly when I was Form 1, just after the Anwar Ibrahim saga. This rift within Malaysian poltics created a lot of international outcry which attracted my attention plus rhetoric in the largely government regulated media which tries hard to convince that Mahathir's decision was for the best. At that time, the country's economy was booming while neighbouring countries like Indonesia,Philippines and Thailand was languishing in poltical ane economic crisis.I was a core BN supporter right till Form 5.
Form 3 saw me undergoing transformation in terms of poltical understanding.Despite the peaceful Malaysian life, I was disturbed that many Malaysian posted many evil words painting Malaysian as a racist country. Hence I was aware of the Malay rights. I was not really that conscious of my 'special rights'.I went to a normal school and did not take my chance to enter MRSM or boarding schools which I didn;t realize was largely exclusively for Malays. I fell for the bait by these largely Malay bashing Chinese and It was to my understanding that the Malay rights was also unfair in terms of the university quota. I tried so hard to understand the Malays rights, which then to me was erected to address the handicapped suffered by Malays in terms education and business. However, the evil words on these forums still made a sceptic of the Malay right which to me which was making Chinese straight A students who could not speak proper Bahasa and do not even have any Malay friends roll on the floor crying for not getting their JPA scholarship overseas or and I became a self hating Malay..but not anymore.
I am a really big fan of Mahathir. I am perpelexed why so many hated him. I was proud of him as I was happy what he did. I am sure every child no matter Malay,Chinese and Indians are very proud of our Twin Towers,our national car,Putrajaya and modern inffrastructure that is characteristic of the Mahathir era.Unfortunately,came a time when I loathed this man particularly after Badawi took office. The BN's corruption and efficiency became more apparent, more Chinese despite their wealth made more sad noise and ghosts of huma rights violation from the Mahathir era were resurrected.Alot of reading into Malay bashing forums and portals like Negaraku,Malaysia Today and blogs which to me more relevant that the government skewed media turned me into the Mahathir hating opposition sympathizer.This is athing I am most ashamed, especially my act of questioning Mahathir who has been in politics for 40 years and ruled for 20 years. Many people make conclusions that premiers that rule more than 10 years are despots, power hungry and dictators and all those stability erected by mahathir was swept away for Chinese girievances.
Eventually, the blogs from the BN side emerged, more sophosticated, mature and engaging than the Malay bashing blogs from the opposition. I was an intense participant in oppositon blogs, but too many Malay bashing rhetoric was putting me off. hence I began to scroll through alternative blogs.
The Malay rights
From my readings of various articles, a biography of Tun Dr Ismail and blogs ,I have a more mature understanding of our comples political landscape regarding the Malay right.\
When Malaya was going towards independence, the British Malaya Union failed because the majority of the Malay race was againts it. This was unexpected because the Malay in the British opinion was docile compared to the the rebellious Chinese and Indians. Educated Malays realize that the Malays were at an disadvantage in the Malay union and would be drowned by the Chinese and Indians who largely have better access to education and business opportunities. To paint a picture, the Malays would only undergo priamry education and the British, the racist bastard they are tried to only educate the Malays in farming and basket weaving in their secondary and tertiary education. Fortunately, the Malays are a developed society and proud, many middle class Malays of that era particlularly from the Royal families, though not as rich as the Chinese sent many of their children to good school and universities. Hence, leaders like Tunku,Dr.Ismail and Mahathir, educated and intelligent became the backbone of our independence movement and Malay rights which is the basis of our country and its constitution.
After many challenges, the Malays, united under UMNO made an alliance with MCA and MIC which represent the minorities. At that time, 2 million non Malays are technically not citizens of the Malay states despite have being imported by the British.There were mainly workers in the tin and rubber industry and were not meant to stay but they did and the Malays had no problems with their presence.Now, the Malays, should they be cruel had an option of exptariating these non Malays back to China,India and Ceylon as the British do not recognize them as citizens in the first place. In 1955, the Alliance under Tunku won a massve victory, riding on the votes of the Malays and many non Malays. UMNO then was powerful. It has so much power and mandate theat they could literally throw the non Malays into the sea yet they negotiated courteously with MCA and MIC.
The social contract
The Alliance then created the fundamentals of our country through its constitutiton. The Malays, as the true custodians of the land shall be given special rights in exchange for 2 million non Malays. This was a blessing in a tumultous time when almost all Western nations have policies of preventing Chinese from migrating to West even in Australia while India was udnergoing social upheaval which made unwelcoming even to Indians in Malaya. The constiturionw as forged, and Malaya was born.
13th May 1969
It was good time for Tunku who proclaimed himself as the happiest Prime Minister on Earth. Malaya was relatively peaceful and made many friends. Malaya was considererd rich..it could have 3 building in Washington as its embassy while South korea at that was at war and could afford even a building and asked Malaya through then ambassador Tun Dr Ismail to sell one of Malaya's embassy building at a cheap price.In addition, Malaya was so prosperous that Sabah,Sarawak and Singapore merged with Malaya into Malaysia willingly in 1963 and we became bigger. However, racism ad chauvinistic values crept in and challenged the Malay rights and the rebellious Singapore seceded against its will with a crying Lee Kuan Yew to prevent further discontent. Tunku was probably one of the few leader in the world willing to secede a valuable territory for the sake of a peaceful society.
However, the cold war crept into South East Asia in the form of communist insurgence which planted hatred between the Chinese and the Malays. In addition, Chinese chauvinistic value began to question the Malay rights and the Chinese in particulary became ungrateful. Despite restraint by UMNO, the Chinese chauvinists continue to taunt the Malays. UMNO was so concern about Chinese sensitivities that when Labor Party(communist infested) thugs killed an UMNO worker before 1969 elections, UMNO kept then buthery under secrecy as to prevent backlash from the Malays, Later ,3 Labor parties were seen vandalizing walls with Labor Party slurs were confronted by Malay policemen. The policemen shot one chauvinist when the Labor thugs tried to attack them..the Chinese chauvinist reaction....a full blow procession through Kuala Lumpur..which the government consented which had to go through Malay areas with the participants,mainly Chinese chauvinist and Indians who think they gain more by siding the Chinese taunting the Malays in Chinese such as 'Malay Si'(Melayu mati) while carrying communist banners with pictures of Mao Zedong who later starved 50 million Chinese to death in China. The government at that time was seen timid in the eyes of the Chinese and they took this opportunity to further the Chinese chauvinist agenda.
The Alliance performed terribly in the elections in 1969.MCA was dead and useless while Selangor and Penang fell into the opposition hands. The chauvinist Chinese, led by DAP and Gerakan, became bold and began a procession ion Kuala Lumpur to mark their victory. They brought brooms to symbolize a 'sweeping of Malay rights' and taunted the Malays. Th Chinese were also furious when MCA leader Tun Tan Siew Sin abdicated from his ministerial post and they saw this as an attempt by UMNO to reduce chinese power in the alliance although it was the minister's personal desicion which also suprised UMNO which was still willing to give ministerial post to MCA politicians despite MCA's terrible performance in the election.More reason for more Chinese chauvinist to go to the streets. The Malays meanwhie, has had enough when a Malay army officer and his wife(according to official police reports) were butchered after they came out of a cinema in the Chinese dominated area of Bukit Bintang by Chinese thugs.The Malays, who have marvellously restarining themselves had to retaliate and a mass riot broke out which decimated mainly the Chinese chauvinist who dared to challenge the Malay's patience.
Tunku was shocked while the Western media watch gleefully to write off Malaysia into the dustbin of history. The crisis was so severe that Tunku, knowing he had disappointed the nation gave full power to Razak while the enigmatic and strong Dr.Ismail was summoned from retirement to help restore peace. The parliament was dissolved and the MAGERA(national operative council) was erected to govern Malaysia which was under emergency law. The Royal Malay Regiment and the fierce Sarawak Rangers were depatched into riot areas to calm situations and the ISA was enforced to curtail more riots while a balck out was imposed on printed media to prevent the spread of rumors. The riots was quelled and confined within the Klang Valley but the even will forever affect Malaysian politics in the future. Razak could easily have become a dictator seeing that it was a trend in Thailand and Indonesia with his absolute power under MAGERAN but with wise leaders like Dr.Ismail beside him, the though never crossed his mind. With peace restored,the parliament was restored and the Alliance began establishing a majority government by courting opposition MPs to join the Alliance that eventually formed a comfortably majority government. A 20 years new economic policy was then introduced to further strengthen the Malay race in education and business to reduce the social gap between the Malays and Non Malays.As a consequent, more Malays are absorbed into the civil service and given more places in public universities through quota systems to create more middle class Malay who would eventually make them of equal standing with the other races.
To be Continued