Dr M: Malay rights are here to stayPosted: June 16, 2008
TELUK INTAN, June 15 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told non-Malays that they should stop questioning the special rights of the Malays and count themselves privileged, having been given citizenship and other rights in this country.
He urged them to understand history and realise that an agreement was reached before independence in 1957 when the Malays were willing to accept other races as people who could “share the wealth of this land“. Part of the formula saw Umno allow MCA and MIC to administer the country.
“Finally, with the agreement of all parties, immigrants were accepted as citizens of Tanah Melayu and people of other races accepted the reality that Malays had special rights as indigenous people of this land. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra willingly gave one million citizenships to Chinese and Indians. Which country in the world has given immigrants equal rights?
“If the Malays were willing to accept the immigrants we should not let other people now question our rights,” he said, drawing applause from a Malay majority audience, at a resthouse in Teluk Intan on Saturday. The speaking engagement was organised by a non-governmental organisation.
He noted that every time Malays discuss matters related to their own race, they were accused of being racist or chauvinistic. “There appears to be an attempt to stop Malays from speaking about our rights. If we speak about our rights, we are called racists. If they speak about their rights, then it’s alright,” said Dr Mahathir.
Full article here.
BigDog has a longer post on the other issues that Dr Mahathir touched on during the same speech here.
I have come to believe that Dr M is not as senile as some paint him out to be. His blog posts, and the speeches he makes locally and overseas, all seem to make some sense to me. I don’t agree with most of what he says, especially this talk about not questioning Malay special rights, but he does bring up some very interesting points.
It is outrageous to think that we are a privileged group because we were given citizenship, and we should not ask for equal standing. I was BORN in Malaysia. I proudly call myself a Malaysian. So why should I, or anyone else for that matter, be put in second-class citizenship?
Just to quote an example, I am now a Permanent Resident in New Zealand. So of course, I wouldn’t have the same rights as those who were born Kiwis, or those of the indigenous people, the Maoris. But other than a few scholarship funds that are provided specifically for the Maoris, I don’t feel deprived of any other treatment in NZ. They treat each and every one of us almost equally. I say almost, because invariably there will be individuals who are racists, and label me “Asian”, but other than that, everything is shared fair and square.
You could say that the Pakehas, or the white people in NZ, came from Europe, and were actually immigrants in Maori land. But they struck an agreement, with the Pakeha promising to keep the Maori right of land intact, and to have special provisions for the Maori. As times changed, more people came to NZ, all “immigrants”. And yet, there is no problem of these “immigrants” who have become citizens, being sidelined.
To return to Tanah Melayu, can we say that it is fair?
There are a few scholarship funds in Malaysia that only consider Bumi students. Fair enough. But why is it that even the govt funding should have a quota? Shouldn’t the govt funding be equally distributed to those who are most qualified, instead of being based on race? You cannot say that the Malays will lose out, because they have funds that are there specifically for them.
To ask that companies have 30% (or was it 50%) Bumi shareholder is also quite ridiculous. I know of a man who was in the construction business, and had gotten construction works from Petronas. But after one or two, Petronas demanded that this man made his company 50% Bumi, otherwise there would be no more work for him. Now, I ask if this is fair to that man, who had single-handedly started his company from nothing, and now worked to make his company recognised, to “give away” or “sell” half his company to another man who did nothing?
In BigDog’s page, there have been comments about the DEB. I am of the opinion that the DEB is a noble attempt to eradicate poverty. But with the many years it had to succeed in its initial aim, it has not in the least. Certainly, there have been several quarters that benefitted from the DEB. But the larger majority has seen no improvement under its implementation. Like the phrase, “Money makes more money”, the DEB seems to have gravitated itself to those who had money to spare.
Dr M said, If we speak about our rights, we are called racists. If they speak about their rights, then it’s alright. This, unfortunately, is true. Especially after the GE2008, Malay rights seems to have degraded to become another one of those taboo topics, never to be touched on unless you want to be branded a racist.
Hence why I don’t want to question Malay rights, the way Dr M is asking us not to. I don’t agree with his reasoning as to why we shouldn’t question it, but I believe that the Constitution allows Malay rights to stay, while respecting the rights of the other Malaysians. Yes, it is a privilege that I can now call myself a Malaysian. It is a privilege for me not because I was given citizenship even as an immigrant, but because I love my country. Malaysia is the only home I know, and no one can tell me otherwise.