Recently, Johoreans formulated a resolution on ketuanan Melayu . I do not know what this means at a time when our political-psychological landscape has changed.
They met at a time when Umno is so messed up and its old and new presidents are fighting like the Jacobins and the Girondins, and Parliament looks like the trading floor of the New York Stock exchange in the days of ticker-tape.
The Johoreans are doing the ketuanan Bahasa Melayu thing when Malays and Malaysians are in need of powerful mastery of the English Language to not only progress but also to understand why the majority of Malays are digressing while the powerful few are plundering.
Is this what Johor Malays are good at, in their critical analysis of society? Or is this the hypocritical sensibility the Melayu Bangsawan Johor possesses?
I do not know. Having been born and raised in Johor, I have a different view of this Johor hegemony.
This is the Berita Harian report on the resolution, as cited on the Malaysian Bar Council website on May 5, 2008:
Kongres Permuafakatan Melayu bertemakan 'Kedaulatan Melayu Paksi Kewujudan Bangsa' selama tiga hari di Johor Bahru yang berakhir semalam, menyaksikan usaha bersungguh-sungguh lebih 2,000 peserta mewakili 200 pertubuhan bukan kerajaan Melayu dari seluruh negara mahu bangsa Melayu terus unggul…. Mereka mahu kuasa, kedaulatan dan ketuanan Melayu terus dipelihara, bukan membiarkannya diancam oleh pihak lain.
It’s a very powerful resolution. Sounds like a reiteration of the ideology of the Biro Tata Negara. There is nothing wrong with holding a conference to reiterate the need to feel good about oneself from time to time. But I wonder if it is about critical sensibility or hypocritical one-dimensionality.
I am familiar with the mind of the Johor Malay, having being raised in that sub-culture. It has its progressive streak but it has its digressive streak as well.
The resolution highlights very critical issues for the ‘survival’ of the Johor Malays, as they would contend.
The real threats
I believe that these are the real issues that need to be urgently addressed:
• Investigation into the cultural breakdown of the Malays and its relationship to the ideology of development brought about by Johor Umno
• The nature of controlling interests in the Iskandar Development Region; who will benefit in the large scale hyper-modernised development projects and what is the nature of inter-locking directorateship?
• The issue of distribution of wealth and uneven development since Independence and since the rule of Barisan Nasional
• The stand of the Johor leadership vis-a-vis the crisis plaguing the premiership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and what the Johoreans are going to do about it
• The potential wave of crossovers of Johor Umno members due the nature of meltdown in party leadership
• The attractiveness of the idea of radical multi-cultural politics and how this is influencing the younger generation of Johoreans and what this will do the future of BN in Johor.
• The weakness of Johor Umno itself in addressing the growing interest in the ideology of Pakatan Rakyat
• The issue of the use of the English language in the teaching of Mathematics and Science
• The idea that non-Malays are threatening the ‘sovereignty’ of Malays - and notice that ketuanan Melayu is being replaced by kedaulatan melayu
• The increasing number of high-level, high profile unresolved corruption cases over the last 30 years
I believe that the aim of the congress is not to strengthen the will of the Malays but to mask the real issue of oppression that has plagued the Malays of Johor.
The Malays of Johor and other states need to fight to end all forms of totalitarianism against Malaysians - those that are in the form of Biro Tata Negara, National Service, Internal Security Act, Universities and University Colleges Act, Printing Presses and Publications Act, and all kinds of acts that repress.
Johor Malays should have better things to do than to mask the real issue of a nation in need of education and socialisation for religious and racial understanding, instead of passing resolutions to warn against other races against ‘challenging ketuanan Melayu’ .
Malay dignity lies in wisdom and not in war-mongering nor in idiotic pride. A good resolution in any congress should reflect this, not renew hatred and instill unfounded or dumbfounded fear among younger Malays.
We need to grow wiser as we grow older. We see so many senile Malay leaders who are growing old with hatred, so that they may hide their insecurities and perhaps escape prosecution for unwise decisions they have implemented.
Johoreans, have another congress. This time, discuss the real issue of why the Malays are now deeply depressed.