Bumi / non-Bumi? Or one people, one nation, all equal? You decide

Posted on March 1, 2012

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I started this blog on 14th April, 2007.

And this blog bears testimony that my politics has, during this time, been about striving to end the inequalities and consequent injustice inflicted on almost 40% of our people by reason of UMNO / BN’s race-based, ethnocentric divide and rule of the country.

This includes the bumi / non-bumi classification.

UMNO / BN will not give up on these divides.

And I’m not just talking about the leaders in UMNO.

In late 2010, I attended a talk by Bernard Dompok in Assumption Church, PJ.

In the course of his presentation, he mentioned the word ‘bumiputra’ twice.

During Q&A, I asked him whether, given Najib’s 1Malaysia, he would not lead the way in dsimantling the bumi / non-bumi divide by pronouncing his refusal to be categorised as a bumi?

I do not remember his exact words, but he responded to the effect that Malaysians by far and large may not as yet be ready to abandon the benefits that go with being classified as bumi.

In reality, it is the BN leaders, their cronies, and bumis who have benefited from this classification that wish to see this divide continue.

The majority of those classified as bumi have only had crumbs tossed from the BN banquet table, for which they are expected to be eternally grateful.

What of the non-BN political party leaders?

Through all of 2007 and the better part of 2008, I blogged that I wished Anwar would give me a reason to trust him enough to run this country.

Then, in August 2008, in my ‘Dear Anwar’ post, I had written that whilst I still did not trust Anwar, 3 things had moved me to ‘take a chance’ with him.

I want to reproduce here what I had said in that post of the third thing that had moved me to take a chance with Anwar leading this nation.

“…on 5th August, I heard you deliver your ceramah in Bentong, Pahang.

I have attended many of your ceramah but, quite frankly, this was the first time that I heard you speak with humility, particularly your appeal to any who might feel inclined to go to Permatang Pauh to help in your election campaign.

What particularly touched me and my family who were present, something that has also got the mention of G. Krishnan in his blog today, was when you said :

‘Anak Melayu, anak kita, anak Cina anak kita, anak India, pun anak kita. Mengapa harus kita bezakan?”

Succinctly, you had articulated that which I have felt for such a long, long time and which, without more, sums up the spirit of anak Bangsa Malaysia that I hope one day will be definitive of us as a people of this nation.

It is this last matter that I have mentioned, irrational as it may seem to many, that has most moved me to ‘take a chance”.

I will hold Anwar to this.

In the last few weeks, speaking at several ABU ceramah, I have time and again denounced UMNO’s claim to defend the special rights of the Malays.

There is no such thing as special rights of the Malays.

There is no such creature called bumiputra known to our constitution.

These are concepts and statures contrived by UMNO to divide us, rule us, and then bleed us to death.

Again and again, I have asked at these ceramah, how it is that, without this privilege that UMNO calls ‘hak keistimewaan Melayu’, the Malays in Singapore and Brunei fare better than the Malays here?

The answer : the Malays in Singapore and Brunei have not had to suffer 50 years of UMNO rule, rape and plunder.

I expect the non-BN political parties who look to us to send them to Putrajaya even as we work to bury UMNO / BN come the 13th GE, or through our own Tahrir Square, as the case may be, to have the moral courage to go to ground and tell the rakyat that we were intended to be and are a nation of equals.

Without mentioning names, I want to say that I am quite tired of non-BN politicians telling me, as did Bernard Dompok, that whilst they agree that we are all equal, the general populace are not ready to hear this.

Again, without mentioning names, I am quite fed up of listening to non-BN politicians assuring the Malays that their special rights will not be affected if there is a regime change in Putrajaya.

The reality is that politicians, on both sides of the divide, would rather leave this thorny issue to be dealt with on another day.

Another day, about 50 years from now, if they had their way.

And if you let them have their way, get ready to live with this bumi / non-bumi divide for a long time yet.