On a fine day, when my heart longs for some homemade drama, i read the NST ( New Straits Times ) because at every such occasion , i would never be disappointed by their headlines. Immediately you would find out that chances are; not a single edition do their front page caption fail to border on the theatrical.
The most current hot soup was the opening of 10 percent quota towards non-bumiputeras into UiTM- a university historically known to built solely on the purpose of helping bumiputeras. As this unprecedented ordainment was pioneered by the opposing political party , we can fully understand the sensational hoo-haa. The video footage of Malay students marching and carrying hasty banners of pro-malay slogans added more to scintillating factor.
Before this, the halting of an open forum organized by the Bar Council about ” Conversion to Islam” only after one hour of progress amid virulent ( and near violence ) protesters of Islamic representatives and Malay groups. It was a surprising sight, so unbecoming of my home because never i witnessed such an intense protest since the Reformasi.
Verily, i am extremely bothered.
I am deeply disturbed that TV stations and newspapers brazenly throw terms of “ketuanan hak melayu– malay rights” willynillyly without any inhibitions as if forgetting that news readers and watchers are however, multiracial. Did they forgot that Malaysia are made of at least 15 race components? Didnt they think of other race sensitivity who witnessed the blatant quest of Malay championing? I could not believe when we claim we fought racial sentiments squarely and thought of others we did this. I wonder how my chinese and indian friends will react to this, as a matter of fact, i am embarassed to face their reaction. We chastise our non-Malays friends for being less patriotic than us, but the case was of that we accelerate their sentiments because our careless agendas made them feel like outsiders instead of homeowners.
Make no mistake, i believe that conserving the rights of bumiputeras are important. I myself, is a Malay and me receiving a scholarship for my further studies technically made me part of the system. It is decreed in our independence history and should be respected by all sections of the society. Auguring to this meant acknowledging our identity, confirming our uniqueness. However, one should be subtle about it and the act of conserving must be well in line with good intentions and not of satisfying interests( in many case, political mileage)
Good intentions meant that executions are done with the objective to improve and to better in mind. Never to incite hatred or grudge. Although when discussing about racial matters it is very easy to get emotional, never should we slide excessively. Sadly what i saw was the latter.
It is a silent truth that not all non-bumis are satisfied with the necessity of bumi special rights and i fully understand that. Some ask ” why the double standard? we are all Malaysians now” , few even referred their treatment to be equal as second class citizens. To them, I have this to say:
It is necessary and please trace back our history and current conditions for further explainations. One hint : although it might not really feel like it is so, you, my friends are actually at an already advantageous position.Trust me on this. We instead, need a little help. Please forgive us if our shortcomings results in your inconvenience.
However we as Malays, must acknowledge that there exist this wave of discontent. In fact, acknowledgement is the most important step. Bear in mind, that this is natural and the goal here is to masterfully play the game of give and take. The goal here is to maintain harmony and not to encourage the grumbling into real anger. We can never douse the uneasiness and forever we will not be able to. As long as the special treatment is instituted in our Constitution, there will exist queasiness regardless of our best efforts. We could never stop the whispers, but the least we can do is prevent them from transforming into shouts. Being aware would make us move cautiously, careful not to aggravate their already bitter reality because we consider their feelings too. With any hope, we wish to lessen the pain and encourage tolerance and acceptance among them.
One , it is highly recommended for us not to brag about our rights in their faces. Not only to them it is highly annoying, if looked from our perspective, the less they are reminded, the better. In fact, by being humble and modest about our rights, it prevails that we are on this boat with good intentions; for the betterment of our clan and never with agendas to be superior than others. I am talking about all the Tv station, papers and inconsiderate politicians wagging keris and making careless statements boasting about special rights. Please stop the public cries and brash accusations of other races trying to get at us , the operative word here being public. Wether there is an ounce of truth regarding the subject matter is another story but it is wiser for us to avoid it from being publicized. Stop the media backed cries of anguish of ‘mencabar hak’ this or ‘menghakis peluang’ that . In other words, drama is the last thing we want. Yes, the word ketuanan Melayu, less of that being utilized without care or face danger of igniting schism between races.
Two, prevent interpreting events on racial lines. Sadly however now the breaking of the taboo is everywhere. A crime that is committed mostly by politicians, it is one of contributing factor that the basis of special rights seems skewed to people uninformed. Our historian, Prof Khoo Khay Kim said the idea of 10 percent non bumi quota was an old one, but it never ruffled a feather before. In fact, the problem was that it was the non bumi who did not seize the advantage by not expressing interest, citing inconvenience surrounded by a population of 90 percent bumiputeras community. Many of my chinese friends got sekolah berasrama penuh, but decided not to attend them. Same is the case with MRSM, it was a challenge to fill in the 10 percent non bumi quota because few were interested. To illustrate more the picture, the government tried hard to make sekolah kebangsaan attractive, just to assure our non bumi fellows paranoid of so called malaycentricisme ( if exist such a word). But this was never picked up by the media.
Now that the political climate is at sizzling point, everyone made a fuss. It is sad to see that much of furore are unfounded and barren of reason. Highly emotive and politically fanned. We chose to stoke the fire by succumbing to grandstand instead of rising to the occasion to mediate.
Which brings me to another rant following on the Bar Council uproar. To the protesters, shame on you. Shame on you for demonstrating affably that we could not stage intellectual discourse without hitting the streets. Shame on you leaders for such embarrassing behaviour and conduct of protest sampai bergaduh-gaduh and berbabi-babi even though you are allowed to observe the forum in peace. Congratulations on affirming the litany of Malay stereotypes.
To the Bar Council, shame on you too. You, of all people, blessed with legal minds and judgment trainings who chose to offend rather than refrain. You, who did not heed advice and concerns that this forum might tip the balance on our delicate racial weigh. Being right and being correct is two different things. You could claim that open discussion is right ( and i half-heartedly concur ) as an effort to not sweep problems under the carpet but are your means correct? You could have done it in other ways but your relentless pursuit to continue going public does not look ikhlas to me. It does seem to look like you had hidden agendas, as if trying to pinpoint problems on syariah law. Are your timing wise? Remember, (not to disregard our countrymen’s intellect) is our country intellectual climate ready for such an open discussion of sensitive issues? We are not a western country, and will never be. To aspire a healthy intellectual debate is admirable, but to adopt the system as a copy and paste from the West will never cut it.
I am uncomfortably angry and the fact i haven’t spoken to anyone from home for two months does not help things.
Thank you for listening to my nonsensical rants.
Related : father has a take too apparently.