The comatose Malay by Mariam Mohktar - Well expressed !!
Is this the sign of things to come in Malaysia? The organisers of
former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's talk on the 'Malay race and the
future' banned non-Malay reporters and television crews. Reporters
today, who next tomorrow?
And Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak just looks on pathetically?
The talk at the Tun Hussein Onn Memorial is an insult to Hussein Onn's
memory. He was highly regarded for fostering racial unity. His
firmness against anyone creating racial unrest, earned him the
soubriquet Bapa Perpaduan or 'Father of Unity'.
When will we accept that the solution to the problem Malaysia faces
can only be resolved when the Malays come out of their self-imposed
As a Malay who has benefited from higher education and exposure to
what the world has to offer, I am appalled at what Mahathir and Umno's leaders are doing to
Instead of leading us into the 21st century, they are still talking
about the golden age of yesteryear.
Instead on embracing change and catching up with the rest of the
world, we are still debating who this country belongs to.
Instead of being enthused by all the exciting changes that are
happening elsewhere in the world, we act like children in the
playground, and refuse to yield to reason.
It is simple; this country belongs to all Malaysians who are prepared
to work hard to see the country prosper. Its citizens will benefit
from the collective effort of the people.
In his talk, Mahathir said everyone had to accept that Malaysia
belongs to the Malays and that the country belongs to the culture and
language of the dominant community; however he added that 'Bangsa
Malaysia' has helped strengthen national unity.
Isn't this a contradiction of terms? How can you have 'Bangsa Malaysia' and a
country just for the Malays?
In his opinion, all races must accept that they are from 'Bangsa
Malaysia' to allow better cooperation between the different races and
guarantee the future of the country. Didn't he also say that the
country belongs to the Malay race? Don't these remarks clash?
He said: “…. Peninsular Malaysia was known as Tanah Melayu……. We must
be sincere and accept that the country is Tanah Melayu.”
He explained that the country's forefathers gave the Chinese and
Indians citizenship because they expected the communities to respect
He is telling the non-Malays that they are second-class citizens here.
He conveniently overlooks the non-Malays who have been more than
willing to identify themselves as Malaysian rather than by
their racial origin.
How dare he say that Malays will feel less threatened if the country
adopts the concept of 'Bangsa Malaysia'?
Malays feel threatened because Mahathir keeps telling them that if the
relax their guard, they will be trampled by the non-Malays and that
the country will be sold to the Chinese.
Mahathir and the succession of Umno leaders are not leading the
country forward. Instead of opening up the Malay mind, they are
Umno leaders are leading the Malays into a comatose state. Just like a
person in a coma, who is able to hear outside influences, the Malay
mind is unable to contribute towards the conversation and get out of
his vegetative state.
These leaders have worked on the Malay psyche to further their
personal cause. The Malays have always been a feudalistic and
Instead of bringing out the best in
them, these leaders have worked on their insecurities and kept them
hopeless and pessimistic.
The non-Malays who came to Malaya were spurred by adversity and knew
that they had to work to make a success of their lives.
Not so the Malays who had always enjoyed the bountiful harvests of the
land - the rivers, seas or the smallholding that they could cultivate
whatever they wanted.
What Umno leaders have done is to control the Malays because - that
way - they control their personal fortunes.
Mahathir and Najib may have tried to give the impression that they
disagree with each other. Mahathir champions 'Bangsa Malaysia' and
denigrates Najib's '1Malaysia' concept. They hope that between them
they will win over all the Malays.
Grip on power
Only a fool would be deceived by that ploy. The truth is that
both Mahathir and Najib are one another's keepers.
If Mahathir falls, Najib knows he has no more protection and
vice-versa. It also applies to the rest of the Umno/BN hierarchy. Thus
it is important they keep their clique going for as long as is
Mahathir has the extremist Perkasa to release on the wider community.
The Malays who do not believe in such extremist views simply fall into
Najib's lap. That way the Malays are still under their control.
The Malay mindset has to change. There are many who think like me but
are fearful of speaking out for fear of a public backlash. That is
If they continually stay in the shadows, how will their children and
grandchildren benefit? The policies of this BN government are not
based on fairness and equality. Not everyone can aspire to be an
They must realise that the method employed by Mahathir and
Najib is one of control. They keep the Malays hopeless and in a state
of pessimism. They frighten the Malays into thinking that if they are
not careful, the non-Malays will dominate their lives. Mahathir and
Najib are skilled in demoralising people.
Malays like me have managed to get out from under our tempurung. Malay
women like me have had to fight various forms of discrimination to
enjoy the benefits that the world has to offer those who are prepared
to work hard.
We did not do this in isolation but with the assistance of everyone:
male and female, young and old, non-Malay and Malay, Muslim and
Our fear is that extremist views will hamper the efforts of women to
improve themselves in the modern world. This is already happening with
the influence of ultra-religious views.
People like Mahathir and Najib know that their power is secured for as
long as they can control the Malay mind.
They both know that educated and confident people are much harder to
control and hence to govern.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket
chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In 'real-speak', this translates
into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is
a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control
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