Why would non-Malays be patriotic to this country?

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.”

- Ayaan Hirsi Ali

COMMENT | Here is my message to Gerakan Pembela Ummah leader Ismail Mina Ahmad and the rest of his chicken hawk coterie. You leave this country. We do not want extremists who are ignorant of history. We do not need extremists who probably have not read the constitution but who would support those who would amend it, who distort it or disregard it because they share the same “race” and “religion” as Ismail and his racist, bigoted hatemongers.

Ismail makes it sound as if the Malays carried out all the hard work of defending this country. However, as former prime minister and now opposition PM-designate claims – “We find that we are not so committed, not so hardworking and sometimes we are not so trustworthy.”

No doubt, there are going to be many articles disputing the claims made by Ismail. There will be articles highlighting the contributions of non-Malays, to the defence, culture and economy of this country. However, all this is missing the point. Non-Malays will never be treated as equals in this country. When Malay bigots make this claim, they know they are making claims which are racist and bigoted, but make them anyway, because it is always incumbent on the non-Malays to defend their existence in this country.

It is always the non-Malays who have to prove that they are patriotic. Non-Malays have to demonstrate how much they love this country. Malays, meanwhile, have leaders who have engaged in massive corruption, destroyed the rule of law, enacted bills that would curtail the power of the sultans – the most damning of which is the National Security Council (NSC) bill – and made racist and bigoted speeches calling for the spilling of non-Malay blood and yet the Malay community assumes ab initio that they are the true patriots who built this country.

And really, what is it the non-Malays have to defend? We have to defend our “success” in Tanah Melayu. We have to defend the fact that we have to work hard because we are not beholden to a system of privilege – ideological, religious and constitutional – that enables us to think for ourselves and realise that the world does not owe us anything...

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