‘Nationalism’ could easily be measured totally from adverse perspective. It could promote progress as the ‘spirit of ownership’ equals to the willingness to defend the sovereignity at all cost. It could also be wedging the different ethnic group even wider apart, from the perspective of ‘racism’.
For the ‘Ultra Malays’, it is defending the ‘Special Malay Rights’, as per provided by the Federation of Malaysia Constitution and norms and acceptance of ‘societal values and practices’ since before the birth of this nation, as a sovereign state.
Progressively, the Non Malays and Liberal Malays tried to challenge all that. The ‘openness’ of the weak leadership of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s five-and-a-half years of independent Malaysia’s darkest period provided the opportunity of the challenge to me more apparent and loud.
Suddenly, being “Malay first and Malaysian second” is now demonstration of ‘racism’. The recent spat between Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz and Utusan Malaysia editorial was an escalation of the former’s attack against Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s defense of the BTN last December. Even mainstream media editorials came strongly with the notion what Nazri stood for.
Today, Nazri stood a different ground of defending BTN instead.
Free Malaysia Today’s report:
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
UPDATED KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz has defended the National Civics Bureau (BTN) and rubbished claims that its programmes promote racism.
He instead blamed it on BTN’s personnel, stating that the cases were isolated incidents.
“There are no modules in BTN which promotes racism. We have to look at the what is the issue here. In this case, it’s not the module which is an issue, it is the personnel,” he told reporters today.
“These were remarks made by an irresponsible individual, therefore action should be taken against him,” added the Padang Rengas MP.
BTN landed in the limelight when reports surfaced that its deputy director Hamim Husain had used derogatory terms to describe the Chinese and Indians during a closed-door meeting.
Hamim had since denied the matter.
Nazri had recently received a pat on the back from Pakatan Rakyat leaders and the top echelons of non-Malay Barisan Nasional parties for his “I’m Malaysian first, Malay second,” remark.
The statement came amid an intense spat between the country’s major political players over the special positions of the Malays.
We do not promote racism
The statement came amid an intense spat between the country’s major political players over the special positions of the Malays and has been a setback for the Najib administration’s efforts unite a racially divisive nation under its 1Malaysia banner.
And the alleged derogatory remarks made by the BTN official has not made it any easier.
While Najib has tried to reassure and appease non-Malay voters by vowing to revamp the programme, he has faced stiff opposition from the more conservative elements within his own party and government.
Lagging and slow response to demands for BTN’s abolition have also invited accusations that Najib lacks political will to see through its political reform promises.
But Nazri rubbished off the allegations, insisting that the government was in no way backing any form of racism and that a stern government warning has been issued against any form of racist behaviour from the civil servants.
“Prime Minister Najib himself said during his speech at the United Nations assembly that the moderates must come forward… this was not only meant on an international level, but also in the context for our country,” stressed Nazri, who is also the chief parliamentary whip for BN.
Hamim at a closed-door Puteri Umno function last week had referred to the Chinese and Indian communities as “Si Mata Sepet” and “Si Botol”.
Chief Secretary Sidek Hassan had been instructed by the Cabinet to probe into the matter following a public outcry over the incident.
In a related development, FMT learnt that Hamim lodged a police report today against the Malaysian Insider news portal and one of its reporters for first reporting that he had made those racist remarks.
The Star Executive Director and Chief Editor Dato’ Seri Wong Chun Wai was willing to support Nazri “Nazri must not walk alone. He needs Malaysians to express support for his stand and we also expect those who talk to walk the talk.”
Where will Chun Wai be in this latest Nazri statement? Will he be willing to ‘walk with Nazri’ on the latter’s stand on BTN?
It is not necessary for Chun Wai to be reminded on the history lesson how this nation was born and the 1 million Non Malays were made ‘naturalised’ Malaysians as compared to the Malays, who had been ‘subjects of HRHs’ all along. Probably, The Treaty of the Federation of Malay States between HRH Malay Rulers and British Government (as UMNO bore witness as observers) which took effect on 1 February 1948 as a solution against the failed Malayan Union.
The Malays have been very docile and hospitable group of majority. They had never shown hostility against the other ethnic groups. Even during the ‘reign of terror’ for three weeks of MPAJA brutality upon the abrupt surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army on 15 August 1945. The only time the Non Malays particularly the Chinese felt threatened was during the bloody 13 May 1969 racial riots within Klang Valley, which was started by extreme provocation of DAP, Gerakan and Labour Party against the Kampung Baru Malays at the period where the Malays were very unhappy with their backwardness and the feeling of being ‘left out’ from mainstream economic development and opportunities.
The Malays never needed to stake their claim. As far back during the Larut Wars, the Malays never violated the Chinese at the times they created so much trouble. However the moment they felt their ‘turf being violated’, especially with the intolerable demands (as per warned by HRH Paduka Seri Sultan Perak), they demonstrated their territorial tendency. It is all about defending what is and was rightfully theirs, especially when they felt the violation of the ‘social contract’ which was the fundamental basis of the salient points of compromise when Federation of Malaya was negotiated to be achieved.
Whenever the Malays stood their ground, then it is ‘racism’. However when the Chinese Chauvinists like the DAP systematically and structurally challenged the stability of the social and political harmony which was painfully managed to be achieved and nurtured, the Chinese controlled English dailies never spoke of them on the same tone. Let alone the condemnation. Even against the extremists.
Then there is the question about ‘political ransom’, which is getting chronic. This must not be good for the future of Malaysia.
The fundamental of the struggle for independence was all about Malay nationalism. It was Malay nationalism which succesfully fought against the Malayan Union. It was the same spirit that propelled from the “Hidup Melayu” battle-cry towards “Merdeka” in 1951, at the times where the nation was still very much under the brutal threats of the Chinese majority “Butcher of Malaya” rebels. The spirit of nationalism was the fundamental basis of the patriotism that made this tanahair remained free.
Chun Wai lauded the minorities with the UMNO Leadership such Secretary General Tengku Dato’ Adnan Mansor’s and Youth Chief Hj Khairy Jamaluddin’s explicit stance against Malay NGO PERKASA.
“It is encouraging to hear top leaders from Umno openly saying “no” to Perkasa on the eve of Hari Raya. It is the strongest ever statement from Umno leaders in distancing themselves from the group that has caused much concern among Malaysians.
Malaysia was built on the politics of moderation and accommodation. It has kept the nation glued even during times that we seem so flawed.
But we have managed race relations reasonably well and Malaysians live amicably together, taking better care of this themselves than politicians and the self-appointed champions of our races.”
Then, PM Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak said UMNO is not rejecting PERKASA, which controversy even within UMNO became The Star political analysis for the week. Chun Wai should take more time to chronologically analyse and understand the Nationalism that the Malays held close to their hearts and how these “champions of our races” never denied the Non Malays of their rights and opportunities, within the concept of ‘power share’ and ‘inclusion’ since half a century before ’1 Malaysia’ became a gross misunderstood tagline of the Non Malays to have a ‘free for all’ Malaysia.
We here at BigDogDotCom sincerely hope that Chun Wai would articulate all these in this week’s column of his, “On the beat”. Moreover, he was particularly silent when HRH Sultan of Selangor was murka for Serdang DAP MP Teo Nie Ching’s blatant disrespect of the sanctity of the surau. It would be ashamed to label him as anti-Nationalist.