LETTER | On May 8, Malaysiakini published a commentary titled “No new Malaysia without new Malays” in which William de Cruz suggests that Malaysian society is being held back by the unwarranted and divisive fear and paranoia of the Malay community about the agenda and ambitions of the country’s ethnic minority populations.
De Cruz posits that Malays have been brainwashed into a sense of insecurity, and that they feel unjustifiably threatened by the supposed inclusiveness of Pakatan Harapan.
The idea being that the place of Malays in Malaysia, and the respect for their religion and culture, are in jeopardy because of Harapan’s promise of New Malaysia.
De Cruz says that these fears have been created in the Malay community by such groups as Umno and PAS, which he believes rely upon ethnic tensions to maintain their relevance.
However, the very headline of the article indicates that Malays are not, in fact, being misled or brainwashed into the belief that their role in Malaysia is being targeted for persecution.
Rather, it is an accurate assessment of a growing disregard for the Malay community, and an undemocratic, condescending attitude among minorities and leftists, which increasingly dismiss the views of the majority about what kind of society Malaysia should be.
It is ironic that the democratic promise of New Malaysia appears to depend upon a profoundly undemocratic vision for the county; one in which the will and wishes of the majority are treated with contempt and derision.
A brief look at the comments on de Cruz’s article are revealing. Overtly hostile sentiments are expressed such as “The Malays are the weak link. They are the barrier to a New Malaysia” and “Get rid of the stupid religious narrative in the civil service and the rest will fall in place!”
When proponents of the New Malaysia seem to universally regard themselves as the “enlightened” group who have to ‘re-educate the ignorant Malays’, is it any wonder why the Malay community might suffer from a “siege mentality”?
It is right then that de Cruz be asked to immediately tender an apology and take responsibility for the perpetuation of hatred towards Malays and racial discord his article has caused.
It is only when we as a society accept the fundamental principle that religion is the bedrock of a healthy society and that there is nothing wrong with allowing Malays freely practising religious teachings, a universal right which coincidentally exists in our constitution various instruments to which Malaysia is a party to, that we can have a prosperous, beneficial discourse on the way forward for New Malaysia.
AZRIL MOHD AMIN is the chief executive of Centre for Human Rights Research & Advocacy (Centhra).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.