(function() { (function(){function b(g){this.t={};this.tick=function(h,m,f){var n=f!=void 0?f:(new Date).getTime();this.t[h]=[n,m];if(f==void 0)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=e>0?new b(e):new b;window.jstiming={Timer:b,load:p};if(a){var c=a.navigationStart;c>0&&e>=c&&(window.jstiming.srt=e-c)}if(a){var d=window.jstiming.load; c>0&&e>=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&&c>0&&(d.tick("_tbnd",void 0,window.chrome.csi().startE),d.tick("tbnd_","_tbnd",c))),a==null&&window.gtbExternal&&(a=window.gtbExternal.pageT()),a==null&&window.external&&(a=window.external.pageT,d&&c>0&&(d.tick("_tbnd",void 0,window.external.startE),d.tick("tbnd_","_tbnd",c))),a&&(window.jstiming.pt=a)}catch(g){}})();window.tickAboveFold=function(b){var a=0;if(b.offsetParent){do a+=b.offsetTop;while(b=b.offsetParent)}b=a;b<=750&&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, October 18, 2020

Race, Religion, and Royalty: The Barnacles On Malay Society



Race, Religion, And Royalty:  The Barnacles On Malay Society

M. Bakri Musa








Available at all Amazon on line stores 


Race, religion, and royalty are the toxic triad of today’s Malaysian identity politics. That is a combustible combination for a multiracial nation. No surprise then that contemporary commentators focus on this aspect only.


Less noticed but far more consequential is that race, religion, and royalty are also the barnacles encrusting Malay society, impeding its progress and undermining the culture. There cannot be stability in Malaysia if Malays, her majority population, were to be fractured or left behind as the consequence of their obsession with three major distractions.


In this collection of essays the writer examines this second far more critical preposition, tracing the deterioration of race relations in Malaysia, the oppressive as well as pernicious rise of Islamism, and the increasing assertiveness as well as feudalistic behaviors of the Sultans.


Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Hegemony), the rallying cry of the hitherto ruling party, United Malay National Organization (UMNO), is one manifestation of this racism. That ugly aspect aside, this Ketuanan obsession distracts Malays from facing our most daunting challenge–of being competitive and productive. Ketuananvirulence has only increased in tandem with increasing Malay laggardness in matters social, economic, and educational. This is quite apart from Ketuanan Melayu chauvinism poisoning race relations and social harmony.


Malays are also increasingly preoccupied and obsessed with Islam. The faith is being exploited crudely but effectively by the other major Malay political party, Parti Al Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS). The Islamic cachet sells with Malays. Islam, at least the variation approved and propagated in Malaysia, exerts its most destructive influence in politics, economics, and education. Islamism is now deeply rooted in all institutions and the public sphere.


Increasing Islamization has turned Malaysian national schools from being less educational institutions and more indoctrination centers. Non-Malays have long abandoned the system. Now they are being joined by an ever increasing number of Malays, to the chagrin of the Islamists and champions of Ketuanan Melayu. Perversely, Malaysian schools which once played a major role in integrating the young are today being exploited as instruments to divide and segregate Malaysians.


Malaysia is cursed and burdened not by one but nine hereditary Sultans, with each taking turns to be King for the whole Federation. At least his tenure is restricted to five years, the only monarch in the world with term limits! Then there are four non-hereditary governors who are no less regal and expensive in their tastes and demands, all at taxpayers’ expense.


Instead of acting as a buffer and mediator of conflicts among Malaysians, especially Malays, these Sultans aggravate those divisions through their sly engagement in the old tried and true triangulation scheming. Today the Sultans align themselves with the ulama against the nation’s secular leaders. Earlier the Sultans were in cahoots with the politicians against the religious class to exploit business opportunities and to be able to frolic at their favorite casinos.


These critical essays are descriptive as well as prescriptive. The writer advocates focusing on making Malays competitive through improving the schools and other educational institutions. Curtail if not remove the influence of Islamism, and instead emphasize English and STEM subjects. Reducing the oppressive role of Islam in the public sphere would also be a positive development; likewise with reining in the ruling class and the Sultans with respect to their corruption and rent-seeking activities.


It is difficult to wean Malays of our special privileges crutch when Malay Sultans squat at the top of the special privileges heap, and swagger with their most golden of crutches. Curtailing that would be a good first step. Improving national schools by focusing on making young Malaysians fluently bilingual in Malay and English, as well as competent in science and mathematics would be another.


The changes advocated here are small and incremental in nature to avoid being disruptive and destabilizing, but cumulatively they would be transformative and revolutionary.



Next:  Introduction – The treacherous troika of Malaysian Identity Politics 



Post a Comment

<< Home