Bangsa Malaysia : You and I can make this real!

Posted on August 31, 2008


On 14th May last year, I wrote this in my post ‘Bangsa Malaysia : Cyber Dream?’

Until ‘sons and daughters of Malaysia’ can truly mean each is a brother and sister one to the other who look out for each other at all times and not only when it is ‘safe’, those who continue to dominate us by the ‘divide and rule’, ‘Malays must have political power cos the Chinese hold the economy’ and ‘don’t you dare question our rights’ rethoric will continue to rule the day.

Until you are unable to sleep because there are brothers and sisters languishing as ISA detainees, poor and the impoverished, religiously persecuted, know then that your own desire for Bangsa Malaysia is only skin deep.


Over the last year or so, I have had the opportunity to meet so many people who have voiced the same hope : no more race or religious discrimination; no more marginalised anak Bangsa Malaysia; one people, one nation; needs-based affirmative action programme.

And at every ceramah that I spoke at in the run up to GE12, I concluded with the same appeal to all : that we dedicated our vote on 8th March as a vote for change and to end the plight of every marginalised anak Bangsa Malaysia who has been victimised for years by BN’s divide and rule.

Not marginalised Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli, East Malaysians.

Marginalised anak-anak Bangsa Malaysia.

I watched Dateline’s ‘Malaysia’s Indian Uprising’ sometime back and watched it again today. Please make time to watch it.

If you note how some of those featured in this report spoke in terms of ‘us, the Indians’ and ‘them, the Malays’, you might get a sense of the concerns I had when I first voiced my reservations about the Hindraf rally as it might be seen as championing the undoubted plight of one community rather than addressing the grievances of all marginalised Malaysians.

I don’t want to start another debate here about the wisdom or otherwise of that rally. That’s not my purpose so, please people, let’s not go down that road.

I watched the footage of the little boy making his way amidst the rubble, the remains of what was once a temple, looking for the statue of a deity that had obviously once stood there, and found myself asking, ‘What reason have we given this little child to feel real love for king and country?’

I watched former rubber tappers, 82 year old Sathasivam and 73 year old Nyanammah reminisce about days long gone when they had reason to believe, and asked myself, ‘Have they not contributed to make this land what it is today? Are they not entitled to a little patch they can call ‘home’? Must they beg?’

I watched the short footage of the prayers being carried out in the makeshift temple following the temple demolition and asked, ‘Can we not see the beauty in the diversity with which each community approaches the Divine in worship and the celebration of life and His Grace? Does not true faith bring with it enough humility to embrace this diversity as part of His grand scheme?’

I fully understand how a community of one ethnic group living together and facing constant discrimination, deprivation of economic and educational opportunities, and the denial to live and practise their cultural and religious heritage in peace, at the hands of a near all-Malay BN administration might, as an ethnic community, feel resentment towards that administration, in particular, and the ethnic group that principally makes up that administration, generally.

Yet, the equally understandable reaction by such a marginalised ethnic community and its leaders to demand of the BN administration immediate attention and redress for the community, as was done in the Hindraf rally, firstly, ignores two very important truths about their condition and, secondly, lends to the BN administration the very framework with which to perpetuate its divide and rule.

The first important truth is that the marginalisation in this country has not afflicted only one ethnic community .

Indians, Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, East Malaysians, all have been affected.

True, some are more affected than others, but all marginalised nonetheless.

The second truth, in my view, is that the divide that exists is not racial but only made to appear as such by UMNO and BN.

It is a class divide.

The ‘us and them’ is a divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, with home and the homeless, with status and without.

With hope and the hopeless.

Privileged, not so, and none whatsoever.

How long more must this go on?

As long as we continue to think and make demands along the lines of ‘Malay rights’, ‘Chinese rights’ and ‘Indian rights’, we, you and I, will serve as the perfect frame-work for UMNO and its cohorts in BN to perpetuate their race-based divide and rule.

I am not for one moment advocating that we all abandon our ethnic and cultural identity. Quite the contrary, I urge that we recognise and acknowledge our diverse cultures as the richest attribute we, as a nation, possess. Sadly, this is so often overlooked.

What I do say is that there is no rationale why ethnicity should found the basis of right to education, housing , employment and government assistance to ensure that every citizen receives every possible opportunity to lead a decent life.

We are a rich country. That wealth was meant for all.

BN’s policies, in this regard is nothing short of apartheid, is unIslamic and runs foul of the tenets of all the great faiths.

And we all, Malay, Chinese, Indians, East Malaysians know this in our hearts.

Why do we allow this continue?

Understandably, there will be Malays who will feel threatened by these ideas.


In my view, because of the continued racist posturing of UMNO and some Muslim and / or Malay NGOs, claiming that the special privileges of the Malays are under siege.

UMNO and those Muslim and / or Malay NGOs lie.

To my Malay brothers and sisters, I say this not to hurt, but the truth is, the arrangement put in place by the Federal Constitution did not guarantee you ‘special privileges’.

What was put into place was a provision to allow the Malays and the indigenous citizens alive at the time of independence from the British to enable them to ‘catch up with the others’ so to speak.

That was in 1957.

And this provision was never intended to last forever.

It is now 2008.

To my Malay brothers and sisters, what you must know is that UMNO has, since the advent of the NEP, used the concept of ketuanan Melayu and its equivalent to rob all, including the Malays.

And everytime this abuse has been challenged, UMNO and their servants in the MSM will spin and present this to you as a challenge to your non-existent ‘special rights’.

To my Malay brothers and sisters, you must see that in order to further their own agenda, UMNO will continue to portray the Malay community as helpless and constantly in need of crutches.

This is not true.

Many, many Malays have made it on their own without ‘crutches’. They are testimony that Malays, like everyone else, can.

UMNO will not allow the Malay community any self-esteem because it does not serve UMNO’s interests.

The concept of Bangsa Malaysia envisages that all anak Bangsa Malaysia are equal.

This is as it should be.

Islam teaches us that God made us all equal.

Islam teaches us that those who are blessed with more must reach out to those who have less.

All who have less, without exception must be helped.

This is implicit in the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.

Islam teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters in creation.

This is the very foundation of Bangsa Malaysia.

To my Malay and non-Malay brothers and sisters who share the views above, let us work together to help others see the truth of what has been happening in our country.

My friends and I are working on a series of Bangsa Malaysia talks that we hope to take through the country.

Owing to constraints of time and finance, we cannot yet say when we can get these off the ground.

When we do, we will need your help and support.

The Bangsa Malaysia concept aims to end the ‘us and them’

Let us work together to bring an end to this ‘us and them’.

Posted in: Bangsa Malaysia