‘Apa lagi Melayu mahu?’

Opinion  |  P Gunasegaram
Published:  |  Modified:

QUESTION TIME | What do Malays want? If you ask Malay right-wing group Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali, here’s a list of five that he has given as seen from this video uploaded in December 2013, some seven months after the last general elections.

  • Don’t want anyone to question the fundamental basis of the Federal Constitution (presumably the part about special privileges for Malays).
  • Don’t touch on the sanctity of Islam.
  • Don’t belittle and insult the Malay race.
  • Don’t denigrate the royalty.
  • Fair share of the Malaysian economy.

This follows the infamous question by an Utusan Malaysia article, “Apa lagi Cina mahu ?” (What more do the Chinese want?) following the May 2013 general elections when Chinese Malaysians were seen to have largely voted against BN. This article questioned the right of the Chinese to vote against BN as if they were not allowed to, and they are ungrateful if they do.

The rhetoric of both indicates that a discussion of what Malays want and need from the government by politicians and people who push Malay rights for a living is likely to be just rhetoric designed to inflame the community and make them support the ruling party by obscuring the real issues at hand.

So what is it that Malays really want? Let’s make an educated guess. But first, let’s start by demolishing Ibrahim’s list of five. Very few people question special privileges for the Malays but say that such help should be extended to all Malaysians who are poor. Help the poor, not the rich - from all communities - and the deserving Malays will be helped as well.

And really, no one wants to publicly question Islam’s sanctity but what they don’t want is for their religion and customs to be publicly humiliated by Islamic extremists. Ditto for the Malay race and royalty. These are being used as smokescreens to hide the real issues facing Malays and their aspirations.

Ibrahim’s fifth point is, well, more to the point. But even that it is vague - what does ‘fair share of the economy’ mean and how do you achieve that?

However, by addressing that question, it will be easier to identify what are the things that Malays want and how well the BN has performed in providing these to them.

When we go right down it, people want more money – everyone, including Malays. So we come to our point one...

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