Race-based leadership is the same as racial supremacy - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Malaysiakini : “When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the
riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become
headlong - faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of
obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a
blind rush until it's too late.” - Frank Herbert, Dune
COMMENT | Jamari Mohtar and Jason Loh Seong Wei’s article "Malay leadership as opposed to Malay supremacy"
is troubling for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is
that it is a clear articulation of mainstream Malaysian politics. This
is what mainstream political parties have been pushing for decades.
The propaganda of Malay leadership, as opposed to ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy), was trumpeted by Khairy Jamaluddin as kepimpinan Melayu (Malay
leadership), instead of the former, some years back. The basis of this
frankly racist restatement of mainstream politics is that non-Malay
Malaysians should understand the real politics at play and accept their
place in this country as servitors to Malay hegemony.
class citizens is not all bad after all. Readers, I don’t like the term
“apartheid” state when describing the policies of the state because it
is not an accurate reflection of how real-world apartheid states work,
the best example being South Africa. The non-Malays have, after all,
adapted to ketuanan Melayu, which is used against us at every opportunity, and thrived.
education system discriminates against us? No problem. An ecosystem of
private education and vernacular school education took root. Institutionalised
racism in the public sector? No problem. The private sector offers
better opportunity and autonomy within a capitalistic framework. Our
religions are not the concern of the state, which allows us freedoms
which the state religion often attempts to control, but overall we are
in a better position, having more choices than the majority polity.
of mainstream Malaysian politics always use vague terms like what the
authors of the article did when describing historical phenomena without
context. For instance, what does “the reality and legacy (warisan sejarah) of the Malay-Muslim character of our beloved nation must be recognised and upheld” mean? What
does the “Malay/Muslim” character mean when it comes to diversity
within the Malay polity and the post-colonial history of this country?
off, we were a progressive secular democracy before the
ethno-nationalists - not the ultra-nationalists - used race and religion
to turn this country into a so-called “moderate” Islamic state. Those
nascent values of secularism and egalitarianism, which meant something
to nation-building, were ditched by the ethno-nationalists to create
political and religious hegemony.
It is mendacious when the authors wrote – “kepimpinan Melayu
as we proposed above is also reassuring to the Malays for its symbolic
connotation of Malaysia as the ancestral home of the Malays in the same
manner that China and India are the ancestral homes of the Chinese and
Indians respectively wherever they are.”
Look, for the majority of
Indians and Chinese, we do not have an ancestral home. This country is
it. It’s like saying that Malays of Javanese descent can go back to
Indonesia. When politicians or propagandists talk about reassuring Malays, what they are really talking about is brainwashing the Malays.
can you say that the above does not mean that the non-Malays should not
be discriminated against when the sentiment means that the non-Malays
do not truly belong to this country and theoretically have a "home" to
return to? How can everyone be equal in the eyes of the law when
the majority is defined in the Constitution and preferential policies
are based on race and not class?
The authors claim that kepimpinan Melayu will abolish the siege mentality of the various communities, but the reality is that there has never wholly been kepimpinan Melayu. Failed
Malay policies were not only the result of Malay stewardship but also
the enabling of non-Malay political power structures. This idea that a
New Malaysia could be created by replacing the former kleptocrat with
one of the chief architects of the old order is ludicrous.
Indeed, the post-colonial history of this country is about kepimpinan Melayu.
However you term the Islamisation process over the years and the social
engineering, the agenda has always been to secure and maintain
political power through majoritarian racial policies, instead of
consensus-building between the various races.
What do you think
the “don’t spook the Malays“ narrative means when it is made more odious
by the fact that it comes from a so-called multi-racial party? When the
authors said, "it is no small feat for the Chinese-dominated DAP" to
have played a role in bringing down the Umno regime, they did it by
convincing the base that Mahathir and his race-based party were needed
to achieve this feat.
the DAP acknowledged "Malay leadership" hoodwinking the base like
Jamari and Jason Loh's article attempts to do, that race-based
leadership does not equal racial supremacy, ignoring the constitutional
provisions and policies which enable such race mongering.
authors claim that race and religion-based parties have a place in the
political landscape because “they ensure that the country’s path in
nation-building does not stray too far from the broad confines or
boundaries that are defined by the essentials or fundamentals of the
What these race and religion-based parties have
done over the years is chip away at the secular foundations of this
country. By their very definition, race and religion-based parties are
anathemas to the Constitution, which is broadly progressive, secular and
Indeed, just take a look at the Rukun Negara to
understand why race and religion-based parties are anathemas to every
point in the Rukun Negara. The authors used this as a ludicrous
example to make the case for the race and religion-based parties: "What
the vast majority cannot accept is the legalisation of the lifestyle as
well as of same-sex marriage – which are not only against the basic
tenets of religion and morality but inimical to society.”
So countries that have legalised same-sex marriages, which includes
India and Taiwan, have somehow morally transgressed against the basic
tenets of religion? And countries, where the LGBTQ community is
persecuted, are shining examples of morality and societal cohesiveness?
is also indicative of how political parties use this issue to stir up
their bases. Religious people will vote for the most corrupt leaders if
it means upholding their beliefs that the LGBTQ community is going
against God. This is inimical to society, if you ask me. The authors want people to accept that kepimpinan Melayu
is the only avenue of political expression in this country. Maybe they
are right. After all, one could make a counter-argument, but it is not
like there is going to be any change, right?
The authors said:
"Defence of race and religion should be what it is: A shield. To block
or thwart attempts at undermining the sanctity and integrity of the
Constitution and not subject non-Malays as second-class citizens."
are completely wrong. Defence of race and religion is a self-inflicted
wound and the Malaysian Constitution was never intended to be a suicide