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Wishing for another 13 May

Posted: 15 Sep 2013 05:09 PM PDT

SO much has already been said about the movie Tanda Putera, especially about its portrayal of the 13 May 1969 racial clashes. Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba's film isn't actually about the 13 May tragedy. It's about the leadership and friendship of our second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and his deputy Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

Still, much of the critique and reception to the movie has focused on the film's portrayal of the racial clashes between Chinese and Malay Malaysians in its opening scenes. And even though the focal point of the movie isn't about 13 May, the movie and the events of the past several years make one thing clear: There are Malaysians who, it would seem, are spoiling for another 13 May to happen in Malaysia.

Whether they are Umno politicians or non-state actors, the signs are mounting that another racial clash is what these individuals and groups want to have happen. What are these signs?

Razak's advice

I watched Tanda Putera. And two years ago, I had the opportunity to research the events of 13 May 1969 for a workshop presentation. One of the texts I read was The May 13 Tragedy: A Report of The National Operations Council, published in October 1969.

Razak, who was the National Operations Council (NOC) head, said this in the preface: "The lesson of the recent disturbances is clear. This nation cannot afford to perpetuate a system that permits anybody to say or do things which would set one race against another. If the events of [13 May] are not to occur again, if this nation is to survive, we must make sure that subjects which are likely to engender racial tensions are not exploited by irresponsible opportunists."

If Razak were alive today, I imagine he would be sorely disappointed at what his party's current leadership has allowed to happen since 1969. Umno members and pressure groups are unafraid to threaten violence or the dismissal of rights against non-Malay, non-Muslim Malaysians. Here are some examples from seven years ago, lest we think there isn't a pattern emerging.

In the 2006 Umno general assembly, two delegates, Musa Sheik Fadzir and Hasnoor Husseinthreatened retribution against non-Malay Malaysians. Hasnoor promised that "Umno is willing to risk lives and bathe in blood to defend the race and religion." That was also the year in which Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein raised a keris at the assembly leading one Umno delegate to ask when the then Umno Youth chief was going to use the dagger.

What was Hishammuddin's fate? He was promoted from education minister to home minister and, in that capacity, in 2009 openly defended Muslims who desecrated a cow head to protest the relocation of a Hindu temple. He nevertheless remains in the cabinet today as defence minister and acting transport minister.

What else do we have today? We have a prime minister who singled out and blamed Chinese Malaysian voters for the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s dismal performance in the 2013 general election. And what did he do when the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia ran its Apa lagi Cina mahu? headline and numerous reports demonising and targeting these citizens? Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the son of our second prime minister, defended the Malay daily and pointed fingers at Chinese-language papers instead. Additionally, he has called on government departments and government-linked companies to advertise in Utusan Malaysia to ensure its sustainability.



The importance of Malay entrepreneurship

Posted: 15 Sep 2013 09:01 AM PDT

We need more people like Saifuddin Abdullah, especially in UMNO, not just because he's a good man but we don't want any coalition, even Pakatan, to be too powerful to the extent it has a 2/3 majority in parliament, which can then temptingly lead to unscrupulous and sinister constitutional amendments.

Today the Malay Mail Online reported Saifuddin Abdullah stating that the Creation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs [is] a must.

I fully agree with him. Why?

Please consider, our Malaysian population has a ethnic mix consisting mainly of 50% Malays (only 65% if we add in the non-Malay bumiputeras). Commonsense tells us we Malaysians won't enjoy a healthy social situation when 50% of the population are economically miles behind the generally better-off Chinese minority.

Of course I am talking in general terms where there are still Chinese and Indian poor and evidence of their terrible poverty, but the truth is that in general the Chinese have been doing quite okay.

The Indians have their problems, perhaps even far worse than the Malays; likewise with the non-Malay bumiputeras. 

Yes, the Malay nouveau riche which arose and is still arising overtly and obscenely obese from the UMNO gravy train have been an annoying distraction to and worse, for (not 'in') the eyes of the non-Malays, a sinister mask on the general poverty among the Malays.

Yes, we know some of them have expensive mansions, apartments, penthouses in London, Paris, New York and the Bahamas, etc, and they live opulent lives like the rich Saudis and Kuwaitis. But the general Malay community still struggle to eke out a decent living or enjoy facilities like electricity and tapped water or even safe bridges for their children to trek to schools - for example, read my 2006 posts:

(a) There are bridges & there are bridges! 
(b) Kelantan's bridges of death
(c) Bloody No Light, Bloody No Water, Bloody Nonsense!

In fact the need to address the Malays' general poverty including uplift their economic well-being was (note the grammatical 'was') the objective of Tun Razak's original NEP.

But alas, someone with a humongous chip on his shoulder strayed songsang-ishly (perhaps gradually?) from that objective, turning the program of affirmative action into one of obsessively creating (come what may) an elite group of Malay billionaires, which in turn metamorphoses into get-rich-overnight cronyism, and which in turn explains the ultra feral racist politics that dominate UMNO party politics that I alluded to briefly in a previous post The blowjob story.

Perhaps the songsang-ness of the so-called NEP in the last quarter century explains why Saifuddin commented wryly that:Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the current chambers or business organisations. We need to empower the young entrepreneurs or start-ups to group together and form new "communities" among them.

I perceive Saifuddin Abdullah's statement as one that essentially divorces hopes for Malay business entrepreneurship from being fostered under UMNO aegis and/or sponsorship which only feeds cronies.

Saifuddin Abdullah is the newly elected Chief Executive Officer of an NGO, Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), where he succinctly emphasized that the Malay new entrepreneurial community must be led by entrepreneurs, not just ordinary officials to ensure its effectiveness.

Does his proposal imply the Chinese entrepreneurs should lend a supporting hand? I hope so and I trust the response will be forthcoming and sincere, if not for anything but for the well-being of our future Malaysian society. Teach the Malay entrepreneurs how to fish rather than give them each a fish.

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