Apa lagi Cina mahu redux - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | "Kumpulan pentadbir
kerajaan baharu yang dipimpin PH pada hari ini mengamalkan dasar 'lead
by example' dan saya yakin ia menjadi tarikan untuk mereka menyertai
kita terutama Bersatu... kita tidak sekat asalkan mereka tinggalkan budaya lama," - Ahli Majlis Pemimpin Tertinggi Bersatu Mohd Redzuan Yusof (above)
liberal intelligentsia in this country plays the same kind of game the
far right in this country play. Both use race to detract from
objectively examining policy decisions and political rhetoric. The
far-right makes everything about race, while the liberal intelligentsia
attempts to erase “race” from the discourse. The latter enabled by this
nonsensical Bangsa Malaysia claptrap.
Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof's recent statement that the Malays have
conceded too much to “racists” is the kind of “Apa lagi Cina mahu” Malay
politics that passes as brilliant political strategy in this country.
The context of this was the “khat” issue, but it could be used for any
issue when it comes to Malay race-based parties.
Blaming Sin Chew
and Dong Zong are political moves but underneath it are the simmering
race tensions that people often ignore in favour of political bromides.
When Redzuan, for instance, say something like this - "What is mine is
mine, and what is yours is also mine." - this is the essence of racial
should not be dismissed as communal distrust because every policy of
the government of the day is meant to firm up support of the majority
race. Race and religion is front and centre when it comes to policy
consideration. To argue otherwise, to make it seem as if there is a
political alternative is mendacious.
Electoral strategies and
governmental policies include the major component of race. So this idea
that we are suspicious of each and not trusting one another is not
something which should be dismissed. There are legitimate reasons why
the various communities do not trust each other and to solely blame
politicians, as the left and well-meaning "moderates" tend to do, is
I wonder what kind of response Redzuan will get from
his fellow cabinet ministers? After all, what non-Malay Malaysians want
is an equal share of the pie. So yes, since nothing is really “mine,”
what non-Malays want is what is rightfully “ours”. Therein
lies the rub. Mainstream Malay political dogma is about protecting the
entitlement programmes, the state-funded educational opportunities and
the vast civil service which is considered employment for the majority
When non-Malays say we are “all Malaysians” what does this
mean? Article 153 (which is often misinterpreted, but that is not the
point) and various other provisions in the constitution divide us along
racial and religious lines. There is no mainstream ideological basis for
this contention, nor is there any evidence that the political class
supports such a notion.
a politician like Redzuan reminds non-Malays to read the Constitution,
he is not asking us to “read” the constitution in the literal sense, but
rather he is reminding Malaysians of the fictitious social contract.
That non-existent document whereby the non-Malays have to remember that
we are the "guests" of Malays, much like how Zakir Naik thinks the old
guests should go back to wherever they came from if they question the
new quest's motives.
The Apa lagi Cina mahu strategy is not meant
for the Chinese. It’s meant for the Malays, who also need to be reminded
that their economic and religious security is dependent on Malay power
structures, and no matter how much non-Malay power structures attempt to
appease the Malay majority, the sole guardians of everything “Malay”
belong to the Malay political class, no matter which political party
they are from.
This is why making statements of how Harapan should save Utusan - a Malay power structure mouthpiece - is ridiculous and viciously cynical. If you want to save Utusan
you would hand it over to those Malays who would turn it back into that
"pinko" rag that the British distrusted all those years ago.
the non-Malays are right to fear that their private and public spaces
are going to be intruded on by the state on racial and religious policy
decisions, the Malays are right to fear the egalitarian policies would
take away their entitlements and their preferential treatment.
caveat to this last part, said preferential treatment is heavily reliant
on class. Hence, what we get are class-based resentments which have
nothing to do with actual policies and decisions, but everything to do
with corruption and governmental malfeasances. See the Tabung Haji,
Felda and other numerous scandals involving “Malay” institutions.
as one Bersatu politician told me: “Do you know what would happen if we
decreased the number of Malay participation in the various programmes
if we moved to a needs-based approach? You are a realist, Thaya, what do
you think would happen, if Malays suddenly realised they were not
getting the lion's share of everything?” There is that I suppose.
us take education for instance. I am against vernacular schools because
they do nothing to foster the kind of interactions that are needed to
form some sort of social cohesiveness in society.
the way national types schools have become mired in religiosity and
race-baiting, not to mention becoming a petri dish for all sort of
governmental policies, I can understand why non-Malays would not want
their children to be part of this system and choose the vernacular
alternative. I understand why some parents choose to privately educate
their children. Or how some parents send their children to live with
relatives so they could use the home address for one of the better
We need to openly talk about issues like race
and religion without hiding behind dodgy concepts. And it is the
progressive forces in Malaysia who should be defining the discourse, not
the political class which needs to protect the power it has
accumulated. This would explain, why non-Malay politicians have
such a hard time pushing egalitarian policies, but it would also explain
why they see political capital in the status quo remaining.
that has changed is the spin that non-Malays should buy into the social
contract because Malaysia is under new management, which is what
Harapan politicians are offering its non-Malay base now.
liberals go on about how Dong Zong or Hindraf are “racists” – something
DAP supporters used to say about Hindraf, Waythayamoorthy and
Uthayakumar, – I always wonder what planet they are on. Sure, the
polemics of race-based interests groups bother me too but to pretend
that we are not living in a country where race is embedded in nearly
every policy decision be it, social, economic or political, is far more
damaging than what mainstream Malay politics or the far right does.
non-Malay activist wrote to me in a blithering rage asking what more
does someone like Redzuan want from the Chinese community. I replied
that she was missing the point. Redzuan does not want anything more from
the Chinese community. He merely wants the Chinese community to play
the same game they did when they were supporting the MCA. He wants the
DAP to play the same role as the MCA did. He wants the status quo.