Malays not the only ones who must break silence on racist system - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, May 10, 2021
Malaysiakini : “True goal of totalitarian propaganda is not persuasion, but
organisation of the polity. ...What convinces masses are not facts, and
not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which
they are presumably part.” - Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
The idea that it is incumbent on Malays to break their silence on this
country's racist system is perhaps one of the more dangerous,
propagandistic ideas that have been the bedrock of dissent in this
This idea is ahistorical but more importantly,
disingenuous because it ignores the reality that this system was, for
decades, supported and built upon by a majority of voting Malaysians.
it ignores the political and social reality that Malaysians, but to be
more specific whatever class of Malays – middle class, youths or the
disenfranchised of the Malay polity – thought to be needed to reject
this system, were never given an alternative to the system in place.
the goal of political power in this country has never been to reform
the system but rather to realign political interests to sustain the
system without radically changing how it interacts with the majority of
Malaysians, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.
know how some folks say that the political elites have hoodwinked the
Malays. Well, non-Malay political elites, especially those in Pakatan
Harapan, are part of those political elites. And by voting for these
political elites who sustain the system to retain power, voters are
complicit in sustaining a racist system.
So breaking the silence on a racist system is not only for the Malays, it is most definitely for the non-Malays, too.
political structures, which have used issues such as egalitarianism and
secularism, have never committed to those ideals. Instead, they have
attempted to replicate the successful formula that had ensured the
victory of BN for decades.
We are not talking about an
alternative to a racist system, but rather a replacement in the status
quo built on single-issue political narratives and political bromides.
this in mind, Malaysians (regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs)
should ask themselves: have the opposition parties they voted for
provided an alternative to the racist system? Or were they just voting
for seat warmers, while the system endures?
structures not only actively seek to promote racist policies but do so
in either overtly or sub rosa methods to cling on to the meagre
influence the Malay uber alles establishment allows them to have.
never has been an alternative to the kind of racial politics that BN
offers, and there never has been an alternative "Malay" political power
structure for Malays to gravitate to. Mind you, this is not only a Malay
problem; the other communities have the same problem.
how can anyone even ask if Malays will ever give up their privileges
when the supposed progressive polity in this country endorses a
coalition in which the lynchpin was a Malay-only party which everyone,
including non-Malay political operatives, claimed were needed to secure
the Malay vote?
I do not understand how non-Malay Harapan
supporters lament that the Malays have been brainwashed but ignore the
reality that non-Malay power structures continue to fund, and in some
cases, increased the funding of theocratic state agencies in the hope of
not spooking the Malays.
I do not understand why non-Malay
political operatives trespass onto the religious terrain of Muslims for
political purposes and then decry attempts to destabilise the
ever-decreasing secular spaces in this country. All this is part of the
political dissonance of the supposedly progressive forces in this
Refer to the interview where
former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad publicly castrated the former
finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, and how the DAP and everyone else
accepted a new government policy slanted towards the Malays in the guise
of reforming the NEP.
course, this in itself is not such a bad idea. The majority of Malays,
after decades of political, social, and religious manipulations, need
help in ways that would make them competitive in this ever-changing
The problem here is that there
is no evidence that the Harapan government, which included the best and
brightest of multiracial DAP, was doing anything but playing the same
game that non-Malay power brokers have been doing during the long Umno
And let us not even get into a discussion about racism in
the private sector. Nobody wants to address that issue and of course, we
have people claiming that there is no racism whatsoever in the private
These same folks have no problem defending racial
preferences when it comes to property rental, for example, coming out
with all sorts of excuses – and they are the same people who claim that
the racist state is impinging on their rights.
Indeed the "Bangsa
Malaysia" propaganda, which is aimed at the non-Malay communities, acts
as some sort of narcotising agent for non-Malay discontent, while
Malays, even in multiracial coalitions, are free, nay, encouraged, to
display their Malayness either in defence of non-Malay political
operatives or as some sort of bona fide against attacks from the Malay far-right.
racial strategies of the non-Malays are complicit in maintaining
divisive politics because the realpolitik of Malaysia is that if we –
non-Malays – do not employ these strategies, there would be no line in
the sand when it comes to racial and religious supremacy.
It also means that we can never really have an honest dialogue about race because we are part of the problem.
is why we get the system we deserve. I have no idea why the Malays
should break their silence on this racist system when everyone else is
profiting from the system in one way or another.
If the majority
of Malays rejected a political alliance that has a history or is
committed to establishing an egalitarian, secular system, then questions
of its rejection by the majority would be a valid starting point.
has to offer a credible, principled alternative to the system in place
and not gaslight while sustaining the current racist system.
Asking the Malays to break their silence, when there never has been an alternative, is part of the problem, not the solution.