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How Dare Najib Discredit Mandela

Posted: 08 Dec 2013 12:02 PM PST 

Kee Thuan Chye

Umno President Najib Razak diminished the stature of a great man when he said last Saturday at his party's general assembly that Umno fought for the "same cause" as Nelson Mandela, who had died two days before.

What same cause? Mandela fought against racial discrimination whereas Umno institutionalised racial discrimination a few decades ago and still upholds it.

Mandela never advocated black supremacy, whereas Umno promotes Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy).

After he became president of South Africa, Mandela proposed reconciliation and sought to bring the races in his country together, whereas in Malaysia, Umno divides the races in order to keep itself in power.

Even at its general assembly, Umno's delegates lobbied for the ethnocentric '1Melayu' to replace the more inclusive '1Malaysia', bashed the Chinese for not supporting the party at the last general election, and demanded a bigger stake in the economy, totally ignoring the reality that most of the country's economic development is now already in Malay hands.

Furthermore, no less an Umno leader than Awang Adek Hussin, who is also the country's deputy finance minister, proposed that private companies should declare how they support the Bumiputera agenda in their annual reports. He also insisted that, because Malays now make up almost 70 per cent of the population, the hiring policy of private companies should reflect the country's racial composition at every level.

This is effectively saying that CEOs of private companies should also be Malay, and that their staff should be 70 per cent Malay. Indeed. Apa lagi Umno mahu? (What more does Umno want?)

On the other hand, does the civil service reflect the country's racial composition? Are there 30 per cent non-Malay heads of department? In our public universities, are 30 per cent of vice-chancellors non-Malay?

Mandela did not take away the businesses of the whites in the name of affirmative action for the black South Africans. He allowed the whites to continue to control the economy and as a result of its being in experienced hands, South Africa's economy grew at a steady, robust rate.

Mandela also believed in inclusiveness, in humanity and human rights. But Umno abhors lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTs) although they are no less human beings. One delegate denigrated them by saying at the assembly that LGBTs exist so that "orang jahat (bad people) can be purged, leaving behind only the good people to inherit the earth". How simplistically stupid, or stupidly simplistic.

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We are not Arabs

Posted: 08 Dec 2013 11:29 AM PST

There is this worrying Arabisation trend in Malaysia. People want to talk, dress and behave like Arabs. Schools, for instance, have become places where students are indoctrinated with what is Arabic and what is not. Worse is when they associate Arabic culture with Islam which cannot be further away from the truth.

Kamal Azman, The Malay Mail

It is stupid trying to legislate and license religion.

Wasting public funds aside, we are talking about personal choices.

How can you monitor who watches and reads what on the Internet? How are you going to stop people from preaching their faith?

Keeping tabs on your citizens, trying to work out their faith, then persecuting and prosecuting them is unlawful and unconstitutional.

It is better for the government to remove religion from public spheres.

There is this worrying Arabisation trend in Malaysia. People want to talk, dress and behave like Arabs. Schools, for instance, have become places where students are indoctrinated with what is Arabic and what is not. Worse is when they associate Arabic culture with Islam which cannot be further away from the truth.

Putrajaya's attempt at making Sunni the legal sect in Malaysia is therefore a bad move. The state has no business trying to dictate a citizen's beliefs and faith.

It is enough that Islam is Malaysia's official religion without having to specify which sect. We should not try to become another Arab state and choose sides.

At the end of the day, we should not judge people by the religion they follow. Be it Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, there will be those who are good and those who are not. We must judge them by their deeds and not their skin colour, certainly not what they believe in.

It is time our leaders get back to work instead of coming up with ridiculous and fund wasting ideas like these.

This "us" versus "them" attitude must stop if we want to continue down the path of moderation.


The Malay proletariat

Posted: 08 Dec 2013 11:20 AM PST

To come back to the present, this is why the recent demonisation of communism and socialism as represented by Parti Sosialis Malaysia is not so much about their basic arguments towards a fairer society, but because of them ignoring the racial angle so dear to the current dispensation.

Kapil Sethi, The Malay Mail

For a country where communism, and socialism to a lesser degree, are pretty much equal to the word terrorism, it is not surprising that the head of police feels compelled to threaten a columnist with seditious tendencies for an article that infers that there are double standards in who gets into trouble for being a follower of communism.

But something strange is at work here. To illustrate, take this as a layman's definition of why communism or socialism came about. Society is unjust because the rich will never willingly help the poor, therefore we need to find a way to force the rich to help the poor. Or, in the words of Malcolm X: "You show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a bloodsucker".

Now substitute "rich" and "capitalist" with Chinese, and "poor" with Malay, and you have the whole rationale of official government policy in Malaysia. So, Society is unjust because the Chinese will never willingly help the Malays, therefore we need to find a way to force the Chinese to help the Malays. Or, "You show me a Chinese, and I'll show you a bloodsucker".

In one stroke redistributive justice between economic classes as the cornerstone of socialism is turned into redistributive justice between races as the cornerstone of Malaysian policy. It also justifies affirmative action for the majority by equating the class notion of poor into a racial notion of poor. Poor people are Malays and the rich Chinese, changing what was essentially a definition of economic class into one sweeping racial generalisation.

Half a century ago, there were merits to this argument. By casting the argument in these terms, it allowed the powers that be to disavow the nasty elements of communist dogma such as revolution and the overthrow of religion as a part of the political construct. It also co-opted the basic redistributive aims of socialism into a Malaysianised racial construct under the ambit of official policy allowing for capitalism and a market economy to become the sole preferred option for the country. It allowed the government to go after the communists, appease the capitalist classes and reassure the largely poor Malays to believe that their emancipation would come through a government formulating policy that would be primarily concerned with their uplift.

To come back to the present, this is why the recent demonisation of communism and socialism as represented by Parti Sosialis Malaysia is not so much about their basic arguments towards a fairer society, but because of them ignoring the racial angle so dear to the current dispensation.

Especially after the results of the last general election, there is a marked shift away from 1 Malaysia to a Ketuanan Melayu stance. Even the normally inclusive Youth minister was quoted as asking for the private sector to appoint more Malay CEOs, in the wake of Malay Petronas contractors, Malay advertising agency chiefs and the ever willing Perkasa's calls for all kinds of props for the Malays.

The anachronism is not so much in that these overtly racial preferences are gaining currency among the ruling coalition, but that they are being propagated by and largely for the Malay elites. As always, it is the proletariat or working classes of all races that will have to deal with the post-election round of fuel, electricity and sales tax increases.

In the face of an increasingly complex globalised world, the challenge is not so much as to which race gets what, but whether the economic cake in the future will be big enough for the poor to get any help at all. The current state of the education system and the obsession with quotas of all kinds offers a vision of society that is hell bent on squabbling over the present with scant regard for an increasingly difficult future.

Market Socialism as exemplified by the Chinese experiment in theory offers an elegant combination of redistributive justice in a capitalist context that is worthy of analysis. That going down the path of race-based redistribution has not worked for Malaysia is evident to all but the most ardent Umno supporters. Malays are still the majority of the poor and the least exposed to world-class education, offering an even dimmer picture for their future.

The struggle to becoming an egalitarian developed country living in social harmony can only begin if the focus shifts from racial preferences to breaking down the disparities between economic classes by lowering the GINI co-efficient.

Helping the poor to uplift themselves just because they are poor and not because of their race is not the equivalent of a communist revolution. It is still the majority race that will benefit the most. The greater good needs to be redefined from the Malay good to the good of the economically disadvantaged. A more cohesive society will be the result of an inclusive approach to the welfare of the poor, not because of the formation of a token council on national unity.

Socialism is not the problem defining Malaysia today, official racism is.


Umno’s greater agenda

Posted: 08 Dec 2013 08:24 AM PST

The question Umno needs to address is this: how many Malays are with Umno and how many against? And Umno is now looking at the Malays in PAS and PKR.


"By 2020, we would have increased our population to 29.9 million with Malays and Bumiputera making up 20.7 million (69.2%), Chinese 6.8 million (22.8%), Indians 2.1 million (7%) and others 306,000 (1%)."

This was what Najib Tun Razak said in his keynote address to Umno members in conjunction with Umno's 67th general assembly last week.

If you want the above to be translated into easy speak here it is:

By 2020, Najib declares that Umno will have effectively neutralised any possibility that the Chinese, the Indians and "others" would, in any way, have any meaningful input into the manner by which the politics of this nation is to be decided. Only the Malays matters! Umno has the support of these Malays!

He does not talk about the vision he or Umno has about how our nation will be in 2020. He does not talk about a nation united in diversity. He does not promise that our children will have a life much better than what we now have.

He does not say that Malaysia will be a better place to live in by 2020. He does not mention anything about his government's ability to lower the national public debt below the RM500 billion that it is now at.

He does not tell us that by 2020 our nation will be free of corruption, nepotism, arrogance and money politics!

What does he tells us?

This prime minister tells us that by 2020 there will be 20.7 million Malays and Umno takes credit for this because all the Malay affirmative policies of Ketuanan Melayu, the massive inflow of "Malay" pendatangs, all the massive outflow of our most talented professionals, all these Umno has made possible so that by 2020 the Malays will make up 69.2% (and counting) of Malaysia's population.

And Umno no longer cares if the non-Malays label him and Umno racist. No excuses, no hidden agenda.

The 2020 vision of Mahathir Mohamad is now clear for all to see. By 2020, Malaysia will be for Malays, by the Malays and of the Malays.

The Pakatan union

That is in 2020. What is the political reality today?

Three political parties with widely diverse ideologies had come together as Pakatan Rakyat united by their hatred for Umno.

What do you think will happen to our nation if this Pakatan coalition did take government? Can three political parties with three divergent ideologies converge into a government for the people?

One can speculate and pontificate on that possibility but the only way to find out is to give them government.

Whether Malaysians are prepared to do so in the future is still to be seen but the aftermath of the 13th general election does not auger well for Pakatan for despite winning the popular votes, Pakatan is still very much a work in progress.

But for Umno what matters is if the Malays will vote for Umno.




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