(function() { (function(){function b(g){this.t={};this.tick=function(h,m,f){var n=void 0!=f?f:(new Date).getTime();this.t[h]=[n,m];if(void 0==f)try{window.console.timeStamp("CSI/"+h)}catch(q){}};this.getStartTickTime=function(){return this.t.start[0]};this.tick("start",null,g)}var a;if(window.performance)var e=(a=window.performance.timing)&&a.responseStart;var p=0=c&&(window.jstiming.srt=e-c)}if(a){var d=window.jstiming.load; 0=c&&(d.tick("_wtsrt",void 0,c),d.tick("wtsrt_","_wtsrt",e),d.tick("tbsd_","wtsrt_"))}try{a=null,window.chrome&&window.chrome.csi&&(a=Math.floor(window.chrome.csi().pageT),d&&0=b&&window.jstiming.load.tick("aft")};var k=!1;function l(){k||(k=!0,window.jstiming.load.tick("firstScrollTime"))}window.addEventListener?window.addEventListener("scroll",l,!1):window.attachEvent("onscroll",l); })();

M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Chasing The Mirage Of Malay Unity

Chasing The Mirage of Malay Unity

M. Bakri Musa

There are few certainties that could be drawn from last Saturday’s December 8, 2018 massive rally in Kuala Lumpur. One, the crowd was huge and exclusively Malay. Second, it was peaceful–a rarity with massive demonstrations. The participants even took time to clean up the mess afterwards! Compare that to the current anarchy in Paris.

This rally could benchmark future ones, both on how the protestors should behave and the authorities react. If they could be persuaded to be tolerant of future rallies, then a significant goal had been achieved.

Third, the protest was only in KL. The rest of the country was quiet. In Miri, Sarawak, they had an equally massive and peaceful parade, but to celebrate Christmas!

However, there were costs to the rally beyond the extra police work, as with the loss of business along the marchers’ route, as well as from tourists who skipped Malaysia. Those impromptu street vendors selling cheap Made-in-Bangladesh T-shirts would not compensate for that economic loss.

The rally achieved nothing, not even as a catharsis for the massive build-up of collective Malay frustrations. Had those demonstrators cleaned up the parks and beaches, or spent quality time with their loved ones, they would have achieved more.

The protest created only false hope and misplaced confidence in their leaders. These leaders have not shown any indication now or in the past of their ability to tackle our monumental challenges.

Come Monday, those protesters would return to the drudgery of their civil service jobs or village chores. Those from Kelantan might derive some comfort in that their government had declared the Sunday following, a normal working day there, a public holiday. Never mind that the Kelantan could not even meet its payroll!

Come next January, the protesters’ children would return to the same failed national schools. Nothing there too would have changed. As for religious schools, with more Malays now opting for that, if their teachers have not crippled those pupils mentally, they risked being burned in their dilapidated hostels.

As for those young Malay graduates who protested, they would still have difficulty with their job interviews, or even securing one. They would have increased their odds greatly had they spent their time and resources improving their English. Rest assured those rally leaders would never advise them of that.

If, as stated so often and so stridently by its leaders and echoed by the participants, the rally was to oppose ICERD, then that too was unneeded. The government had already decided not to ratify it.

If it was for Malay “unity” and rights, as well as to defend Islam, what have they achieved?

Islam does not need any defending, least of all from these characters. It thrived despite the Moghuls, crusaders, colonials, and Stalin. It will also survive today’s Chinese communist leaders.

PAS leader Haji Hadi, self-proclaimed ulama turned opportunistic politician, asserted that it was fardu ain(a religious obligation) upon Muslims to oppose ICERD and thus support the rally. He is too ignorant to note that Turkey, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, among others, have ratified the treaty.

As for championing Malay rights and unity, consider the record of UMNO, the rally’s co-organizer together with PAS. UMNO was the government since 1955 until booted out in the May 2018 elections. Those institutions meant to advance Malay causes such as FELDA, 1MDB, and Tabung Haji have all been subverted to enrich corrupt UMNO leaders.

Their cry for Malay unity is but a desperate ploy to overthrow the Pakatan coalition. UMNO leaders are not even subtle in their political ambition. They could not achieve it through elections, so they opted for mob rule. That won’t succeed either as Malays would not remain dumb for long. The upcoming criminal trials of top UMNO leaders would open many more Malay eyes.

The appeal to Islam is more dangerous. Hadi is shrewd and careless in playing this dangerous tool of religion. The good news is that he has zero, if not negative influence among non-Malays, and now increasingly among Malays.

The bad news is that he still has considerable sway among rural Malays, a major voting bloc. However, with increasing urbanization and Malays becoming better informed, that would soon change.

Islam, or more correctly the variety propagated by PAS and UMNO, is turning off many Malays. Their version does not solve problems; on the contrary, it aggravates them.

More Muslims have left the faith because of the excesses of Ayatollah Khomeini than of Stalin’s. Malays should worry of the threats posed by their Haji Hadis than from their non-Muslim fellow Malaysians.

When Malays discovered that they had been conned by the Hadis, just like they had been hoodwinked by “UMNO is Malay; Malay UMNO” gimmick, the retribution then would be severe. UMNO leaders like Ahmad Zahid may yet experience the true meaning of amuk.

Images of last Saturday’s rally haunted me, especially the faces and expressions of the young. They lacked passion in their eyes and voices. Nor could they articulate their reasons for taking part. It was as if they were partaking in one of the many religious rituals without comprehending anything, just going through the motions.

That is sad. Perhaps they already realized that they were chasing a mirage.

I am for Malay unity–to improve our schools, increase opportunities for the young, and ensure that we have leaders with competence and integrity. The “unity” envisaged by UMNO and PAS leaders would have us return to them the keys to the nation’s treasury so they could once again plunder it.


Post a Comment

<< Home