Racial Politics & Middle-Class Malaysia Pt. 1

August 17, 2005 12:04 AM

Been meaning to visit Jeff Ooi’s blog for a while now and today I did and stumbled upon a story about the recent rounds of politics being played out in Malaysia. Specifically racial politics. In a nutshell here’s what has happened over the past 2 days:

  • Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, Energy, Water and Communications Minister was commenting on the notion of Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian National) and said that, “Malaysia will never see the creation of a Bangsa Malaysia as long as there are people using the 1957 social contract to silence the non-Malays.”

    He added: “How do you expect non-Malays to pour their hearts and souls into the country, and to one day die for it if you keep harping on this?”, and that ethnic Chinese and Indians in Malaysia should refer to themselves as “Malaysians” and not “Malaysian Chinese” or “Malaysian Indian”.

  • Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Education Minister responded thus: “Don’t bring up the issue [social contract] again as it has been agreed upon, appreciated, understood and endorsed by the Constitution.”

References: The Star, New Straits Time, Bernama.

This issue has been debated extensively over at Jeff Ooi’s blog so go there for the full coverage. Also see here for an analysis of said Constitution and the “Malay Privilege”. This would serve as the background to my recounting of being born and raised a middle-class Chinese in Malaysia. (to be continued in Part 2)

UPDATE August 18th 8:12AM
PM Badawi made this statement. Hmm, racial unity is all fine and good but no mention of racial equity was made. One fire at a time I guess.

5 thoughts on “Racial Politics & Middle-Class Malaysia Pt. 1

  1. honeypot

    Why should I refer to myself as Bangsa Malaysia if all the government has done was to make me feel discriminated against because I am not a Malay?
    Why should I die for Malaysia if I am brought up with the knowledge that my Malay neighbour pays 5% lower for his house?
    Why should I NOT think about moving to a different country if I know my children will grow up not being able to enter local universities?

  2. mooiness

    That’s what Mr. Lim was alluding to in his speech which Utusan Malaysia (and indirectly Hishammuddin) inferred to be an attack on the Constitution. But when one reads the Constitution carefully (in that link I provided) one would see right away that it is different from what the majority of the right-wing Malays think.

  3. honeypot

    I really cannot think of a more racist country.
    Most western countries have Anti-Discrimination laws to ensure equal rights for their citizens. This is Anti discrimination laws in reverse and it sickens me.
    I applaud the Malaysians who are actively fighting against this ridicullious practice.Merdeka should be dedicated to them.. because they are fighting for the equality that should be accorded to all anak-anak Malaysia.
    Non Malays are bullied,stepped upon and taken advantage of.All completely sanctioned by the upper echelons of the decision makers.

  4. mooiness

    Yup – Malaysia is one of only two countries that I can think of (the other being Zimbabwe but completely different circumstances) where affirmative action laws are for the majority as opposed to be for the minorities. I dunno – I’m thinking Badawi could be more progressive? Well we’ll see. At least he has chastised the Malays previously for being spoilt by the status of being “bumi”. The Malays really needed to hear that from the PM – no point us Chinese or the Indians jumping up and down about it.

  5. Pingback: Mooiness! » Blog find - Lim Kit Siang

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