The truth is that it is a 'malaise' system

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.”

― Bertrand Russell

COMMENT | Malaysiakini columnist Thor Kah Hoong’s ‘It’s a malaise of the system, not Malays’, is a snapshot of what is wrong with the discourse in this country. Thor is a friend and this piece is not a rebuttal or anything like that, but I just feel I have to say a few words.

Saying not all Malays are lazy is just as meaningless as saying all Malays are lazy. Why? Because whether Malays are lazy or not is not the issue when it comes to discussing the system.

Let us say that the system of privileges actually benefited the majority of the Malay community. Let us say that Islam was applied “fairly” to all and we were all under the shadow of syariah law. Would this be an acceptable system? Would race relations in this country be better? Would it still matter if a Malay was lazy or not?

Okay, let us say that not all Malays are lazy. Would it make a difference if those not lazy Malays also supported Malay rights and believed that Islam should be imposed on all Malaysians because they believed that Malaysia was an Islamic state?

Is there really a difference between a “lazy” Malay who supports this system and a “not lazy” Malay who believes that the system serves a purpose? People love to talk about corruption as if, if there was no corruption, the system that enables a whole community to believe that they were the “masters” of this land and Islam defines their identity, would be okay. Get rid of MO1 (Malaysian Official 1), and that is the first step.

The first step to what? I made my case for voting and a two-party system, but the reality is that unless we change the system, unless a majority of Malays truly believes that the system is detrimental to all Malaysians, we will never be able to change anything in a meaningful way.

People blame the indoctrination programmes of the Umno establishment for destroying the Malay mind but seem oblivious that the opposition, in its current incarnation, is doing the same thing.

Some people like to use the lazy Malay/not lazy Malay argument as a means to introduce “class” into the discourse. In other words, the system disenfranchises a large section of the Malay community.

However, what it boils down to is the efficacy of the system and perhaps even utilitarian arguments, instead of the morality of the system. I am sorry it took so long to get here, but the system and the Malay community are not mutually exclusive.

Partisan politics in this country has reached ridiculous levels. There is a right-wing Malay website, which idolises Donald Trump, believes that Najib Razak should not give in to the “left” and quotes Western news sources about the evils of the left, which it equates with the DAP and Malay activists and politicians who do not subscribe to mainstream Malay dogma.

A cursory reading (and fact checking) of some of these sources the website quotes will reveal anti-Islamic writers who would most definitely laugh themselves into a right-wing hysterical fit, if they knew that a so-called right-wing Malay/Muslim site was agreeing with them...

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