COMMENT | Here is my message to Gerakan Pembela Ummah leaderIsmail Mina Ahmadand
the rest of his chicken hawk coterie. You leave this country. We do not
want extremists who are ignorant of history. We do not need extremists
who probably have not read the constitution but who would support those
who would amend it, who distort it or disregard it because they share
the same “race” and “religion” as Ismail and his racist, bigoted
Ismail makes it sound as if the Malays carried out all the hard work
of defending this country. However, as former prime minister and now
opposition PM-designate claims – “We find that we are not so committed, not so hardworking and sometimes we are not so trustworthy.”
No doubt, there are going to be many articles disputing the claims
made by Ismail. There will be articles highlighting the contributions of
non-Malays, to the defence, culture and economy of this country.
However, all this is missing the point. Non-Malays will never be treated
as equals in this country. When Malay bigots make this claim, they know
they are making claims which are racist and bigoted but make them
anyway because it is always incumbent on the non-Malays to defend their
existence in this country.
It is always the non-Malays who have to prove that they are
patriotic. Non-Malays have to demonstrate how much they love this
country. Malays, meanwhile, have leaders who have engaged in massive
corruption, destroyed the rule of law, enacted bills that would curtail
the power of the sultans – the most damning of which is the National
Security Council (NSC) bill – and made racist and bigoted speeches
calling for the spilling of non-Malay blood and yet the Malay community
assumes ab initio that they are the true patriots who built this country.
And really, what is it the non-Malays have to defend? We have to
defend our “success” in Tanah Melayu. We have to defend the fact that we
have to work hard because we are not beholden to a system of privilege –
ideological, religious and constitutional – that enables us to think
for ourselves and realise that the world does not owe us anything. We have to defend how we spend our wealth – too expressive in the
luxuries the fruits of our labour affords us, and we are deemed
un-Islamic, corrupt in our excesses, and of course, corrosive to the
What did those real Malay patriots say in response to some corrupt
establishment politician who claimed that non-Malays do not join the
security apparatus because we were not patriotic enough? What they left
out is how non-Malays have to polish the cajones of their Malay
superiors to get ahead, to be part of the corruption. To benefit like
their Malay contemporaries in a rigged game. This “bodek”
culture amongst certain non-Malays working in “Malay” institutions is
part survival mechanism, part instinct for the benefits that comes with
kowtowing to Malay supremacy.
These people have no use for facts, figures or evidence. Being
non-Malay in this country means that you are always on the defensive.
You have to prove a negative. You have to swallow your pride and like
the kid in Carol Reed’s ‘Oliver!’, who asks, “Please sir, can I have
some more?” Non-Malays do this because to do otherwise would invite
charges of sedition or worse.
Non-Malays have been here for generations but yet have trouble
getting the documentation that proves that they are citizens of this
country. Non-Malay politicians from the establishment make excuses as to
why they are displaced, marginalised members of their community when
‘fresh off the boat’ constitutionally-created Malays assume the mantle
of “Malay” and lurk in the corridors of power.
Remember when the Terengganu top cop made that racially insensitive remark about race and crime, this was what I said
- “It also points to the mindset of the state security apparatus. This
belief that the Malay community is peaceful and that crimes are what
‘others’ do, reflects the operating procedures that have resulted in
deaths in custody, the refusal to carry out the orders from civil
courts, and an unwillingness to submit to independent bodies when it
comes to the way how they operate.”
That is really the mainstream Malay narrative of this country. That
non-Malays are the aggressors. The non-Malay communities are
interlopers. Never mind our contributions to this country. That does not
matter. When it comes to mainstream Malay politics, we are fair game.
About the only kind of fairness we can get in this country, because
no matter how much we contribute, no matter how much we desire to be
“Malaysians”, the reality is that mainstream Malay power structures, a
majority of the Malay population - which include Malays who support the
opposition - and the dogma of “ketuanan Melayu” mean that we will be
always viewed with suspicion.
People talk about national unity. Don’t make me laugh. How can there
be national unity when the system invites Malay powerbrokers to demonise
non-Malay communities for political gain. The system is racist but the
average citizen is not, we are constantly reminded. Yes, that helps a
lot in that there is no blood on the streets, but all it does is fester
in the Malay community that they are bound by laws that make them
subservient to god and political party, and wish the same upon their
You think I am lying, overreacting? Step outside your urban bubble
and discover the various polls that demonstrate that Muslim conservatism
involves imposing Muslim law on non-Muslims. Non-Malays have to be
respectful in a country we helped build. Non-Malays have to be tolerant
when mainstream Malay politics demonises us to appeal to their bases.
Which begs the question, if their bases keep voting for them, and the
opposition has to play the same game to get the same votes, what does
this tell you about the majority? Tomorrow, I will review a book about ‘ketuanan Melayu’.