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YOURSAY | 'We've the answers but not the political will'

YOURSAY | ‘There can only be equality if the Malays allow it.’

COMMENT | The tragedy of the non-Malay dilemma

AB Sulaiman: What is the non-Malay dilemma? To me, it is the shared dilemma of the liberal Malays together with the non-Malays, both under the yoke of illiberal Malay leaders.

These leaders govern the country based on the philosophy of “untuk agama, bangsa dan negara” (for religion, race and country).

This way of governing is not conducive to progress and development. It yields bigotry, racism, exclusive nationalism, and easily creates polarity among the people.

It appears there is very little the liberals can do to face this dilemma. Some even claim only the Malays can correct this often-termed “Malay problem”.

But to some Malays, things are fine, the going is good. So what is the Malay problem? What is there to be corrected?

Here, I wish to make some suggestions. One, religion is a matter for the deep inner soul of the individual. A government or state has, or should have, little to do with it.

Two, there is no such thing as a Malay race. The term ‘race’ as we normally use it, refers to ethnicity or ethnic group. Indeed, there is only one human race, and it’s known as Homo sapiens.

Thirdly, nationalism refers to the culture, traditions, language, and perhaps, religion of an ethnic group. These elements are borderless. It has little to do with patriotism and nationality.

This means that a Chinese Malaysian, Indian Malaysian, or Iban/Kadazan-Dusun-Murut Malaysian can be loyal to their culture yet very patriotic and proud of their Malaysian nationality.

In short, “untuk agama, bangsa dan negara” is ill-suited to use as a base for any public policy formulation in this country, or any country for that matter.

How do we tell the leaders this? There is no easy answer here, especially in the short-term. For the long-term, however, there can be many.

They all lead to one road - to develop an open mind, which can be had by secular, liberal, technical and scientific education. Yes, we have the answers, but not the political will to use them.

BluePanther4725: The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us a valuable lesson. It is that in order for the whole world to be safe, everyone needs to be saved as well.

This is regardless of race, religion and gender, whether you are poor or rich. The poor countries must not be left out at the expense of the rich countries.

The same goes for race in Malaysia. Adopting institutionalised racism by granting special privileges to the majority race and oppressing the minority races will not make the privileged race more successful.

If we truly want Malaysia to progress and succeed, all races must be treated well and we move forward together. History has shown us no nation that practices slavery or racism will ever succeed.

Anonymous_15897060865429524: In South Africa, people power overcame apartheid. But there were two major factors. One, the black South Africans were the majority. Two, they had a towering figure in Nelson Mandela.

In Malaysia, the non-Malays are a minority. And there is no towering leader to rally the non-Malays and inspire passion like Mandela.

Global Institute for Tomorrow founder Chandran Nair means well. But what he is advocating for is not realistic. The only way out of this dilemma the non-Malays are experiencing can only be solved by the Malays.

There is no point placing hope on those in DAP. They have shown us that when in power, they become useless like an MCA 2.0 as columnist S Thayaparan has pointed out.

There can only be equality in this country if the Malays allow it. This is the harsh reality. And they will only accept equality if they change their mindset.

FairMalaysian: Civil disobedience, taking up arms, and other “tools” have been tried all over the world, as in the case of centuries-old colour discrimination in the United States, the persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and the “massacre” of the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Chandran may mean well but the civil disobedience platform used in Sri Lanka resulted in shootings and other atrocities. Some contended that the failure of “moderate” parties to negotiate led to “frustrated” parties taking up arms.

Civility will always be a casualty when confronted by greed coined through race and religion. In the past, racism in the US was horrible but it still exists to this day. Despite that, they had a black president. However, in these times, Malaysia’s racial and religious extremism has been painful.

The ugly truth that was simmering underwater came out in the open when Umno lost power. Even former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was taken aback when ultra-Malays hounded the Pakatan Harapan government when the country made known its intention to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).

Almost all Muslim nations have ratified them, with some modifications, except for Brunei and Malaysia. Can you believe that? This coming from “multiracial” Malaysia.

When student Wong Yan Ke defied his university’s vice-chancellor onstage at his graduation ceremony, funnily, it made me happy. This same vice-chancellor allegedly chastised non-Malays in a speech during the Malay Dignity Congress. I took that young lad as wanting to prove a point, and he did.

So, what is the problem with this country? We did not start on the right note. P Uthayakumar of Hindraf made a pertinent statement - unless we have our own Abraham Lincoln, it is a lost cause that carries a sticky taboo.

However, Uthayakumar failed to realise we had our own Lincoln. Onn Jaafar tried to unite Malaysians of all races under one roof. He called for party membership in Umno to be opened up to all, regardless of race.

That failed and he was replaced by Tunku Abdul Rahman. Call Tunku “moderate” if you want, but he and the leaders of MCA and MIC laid the foundation for the strife we are in now. We didn’t start off as Malaysians in the real sense.

We have now even reached a point where we are starting to doubt the Constitution and rules of Parliament. When it was said that “Winners should not win all and losers should not lose all”, my question is, does it really look like that?

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