COMMENT | Deputy Prime Minister
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has chosen to insult the Indian community with his
“attack” on Pakatan Harapan chairperson and former premier Dr Mahathir
Mohamad’s Indian pedigree and subsequent actions as not being a Malay
To be honest, I had been expecting something like this for a couple
of months now - “The only thing that is different this time is because
the Malay community is fractured, and Umno has had to play the race and
religion card against its own. Playing the race and religion card
against your own community is a recipe for disaster, especially when the
country does not have an alternative to the Islam proscribed by Umno.”
Since the struggle for the Malay soul – read: vote – is now between
Umno and Bersatu, this whole idea of demonstrating “Malay-ness" becomes
the battleground, instead of real policies which would take the Malay
community in a new direction. I never understood what a “Malay” sejati was anyway. As far as I can tell, to Umno, any Malay who is not in the Umno fold in not a true Malay.
I remember when then prime minister Mahathir chided his Malay/Umno
base (during numerous annual general meetings) on their “mudah
lupa”-ness , their laziness , their ineptitude, their incompetence and
their general “tidak apa” attitude , in other words “traits” which he
found detestable, the sycophants that surrounded him went to the press
and claimed that the good doctor was giving them strong medicine because
he really loved Umno and wanted the best for Umno and its members.
Do you think I am seditious when I talk about these Malay traits? Mahathir has more or less said the same.
The former premier said Malays had failed because they were lazy and
sought the easy way out by reselling their shares, licences and
contracts to non-Malays.
"They cannot be patient, cannot wait a little, they want to be rich
this very moment... no work is done other than to be close to people
with influence and authority in order to get something," he said. "After
selling and getting the cash, they come back to ask for more."
Perhaps Zahid should take the former prime minister’s advice
and learn from the Chinese: "If we take out the Chinese and all that
they have built and own, there will be no small or big towns in
Malaysia, there will be no business and industry, there will be no funds
for the subsidies, support and facilities for the Malays. Learn from
Again, if you think I am racist or seditious for defining the
narrative in such a way, please keep in mind that the reason why we have
buffoons like these Umno ministers blathering on about authentic Malays
is because the current opposition de facto leader, Mahathir Mohamad admitted that he “failed” to change the “Malay” mindset:
"What else (can I do) ... I have tried to be an example, tried to
teach, scolded, cried and even prayed. (But) I have failed. I have
failed to achieve the most important thing - how to change the Malays." Now, of course, the Umno narrative is that because he was not an
authentic Malay, what he really did was use Umno for his personal
interests. This is kind of a joke because Umno has always had special
privileges for its members, all the rest are discounted citizens.
Mind you these are the same traits that some folks believe would seep
into their respective cultures, so Zahid is not the only person who is
worried about the authenticity of his race and religion. Go figure.
However since this is the deputy prime minister we are talking about
here, he never stops to consider that maybe just maybe, there is a Malay
proverb that addresses this specific trait because such traits exist in
the Malay community as they do in all communities.
But since this kind of basic logic is way over the head of a
political operative like Zahid, what we are left with is the kind of
Malay (ketuanan) trait that makes some Muslims worry for the mental health of their community.
This is the same kind of Malay “trait” that makes a group like
Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) lodge a report against Marian Mahathir
for “liking” a twitter post support of the LGBT community. Of course if
some prominent person liked a Twitter post in support of some banned
Islamic extremist group, these same people would have no trouble
supporting a “like” and demonizing detractors as Islamophobic.
While some folks may argue that these are the “traits” of the Malay
community and they would also argue that we should be mindful lest the
other – pendatang – communities are tainted by such traits,
ultimately what we are dealing with is the racist nature of mainstream
politics here in Malaysia. I am kind of fuzzy on the logic behind this attack. Is Mahathir not
an authentic Malay because of his Indian heritage, or because he left
Umno and is now working with the opposition?
If not leaving Umno is a Malay trait, then what does it say about all
those other Malays who have left Umno? What does it say about those
Malay who are not “tainted” by pendatang ancestry but who no longer are part of the Umno establishment?
And if working with the opposition is not a Malay trait then what
does it say about the numerous Umno /Malay political operatives who are
working with PAS, a supposedly opposition party and at one time the
arch-enemy of Umno?
"This is our culture. We do not know what is hardship, we only want
things to be easy," is how Mahathir defined Malay culture. Is he wrong?
Of course Zahid will say that all these utterances of Mahathir just
prove that he is not an authentic Malay ignoring the fact when he was
saying them in the various Umno general assemblies, the sycophants were
prostrating themselves before him and acknowledging their sins.
Ibrahim Yahya, the deputy prime minister’s aide, claimed that the
politics of hate that is sowed by the opposition is destroying the
country, but the reality is that that the politics of hate defines this
country. This is just another example of what I have always said.