What Ketuanan Melayu?Posted: November 4, 2008
A couple of days ago, Zaid Ibrahim made a speech. At the same time, he also announced that he had tendered his resignation as Senator. Zaid’s speech can be found in full HERE. The StarOnline wrote an article on the speech, and decided to highlight one of the many points brought out in the speech, which they titled “Zaid: Malay Supremacy concept has failed”
His speech, it appears, has ruffled some feathers. From Berita Harian:
KUALA LUMPUR: Selain meminta maaf kepada seluruh umat Melayu, kalangan pakar dan pejuang Melayu mahu bekas Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim yang mengatakan konsep ketuanan Melayu gagal di negara ini diberi pendidikan politik.
Other than apologise to the entire Malay community, experts and Malay fighters(?) want the ex-Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who said that the concept of Malay Supremacy has failed in this country, to be given political education.
Selain itu, mereka juga menggesa Zaid keluar dari Kelantan dan Malaysia yang ditadbir raja-raja Melayu seiring konsep ketuanan Melayu yang diamalkan di negara ini.
Other than that, they also demand that Zaid leave Kelantan and Malaysia which come under the Malay Rulers in tune with the concept of Malay Supremacy, which is practiced in this country.
Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, berkata semua pihak mesti menerima dan mengakui hak ketuanan Melayu yang termaktub dalam sejarah negara sejak dulu lagi.
Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said that all parties must accept and admit the right of Malay Supremacy which is written out in the history of this country since a long time ago.
Katanya, bekas pemimpin Umno itu mesti sedar bahawa beliau tidak boleh menyentuh dan menyinggung perasaan orang Melayu kerana ia akan menimbulkan masalah lain.
He said, the former UMNO leader must realise that he cannot touch on and offend the feelings of the Malays as this could bring other problems.
Ketua Umum, Barisan Bertindak Perpaduan Melayu, Osman Abu Bakar, berkata kenyataan Zaid menunjukkan beliau seorang yang bukan saja tidak berjiwa Melayu tetapi sanggup menghina bangsanya sendiri, dan keadaan itu adalah lebih jahat daripada tindakan penjajah.
Osman Abu Bakar (General Leader?), Barisan Bertindak Perpaduan Melayu, said that Zaid’s statement shows that he is not only someone who is not “Malay-spirited”, but also insults his own race, and this is more evil than the actions of colonizers.
“Kami mengutuk keras kenyataannya itu dan akan menulis surat kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan raja-raja Melayu,” katanya.
“We strongly condemn his statement and will write a letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers,” he said.
Bernama reports more:
Perlis Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has slammed former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim over his remarks on “ketuanan Melayu” (Malay supremacy) which Shahidan regards as extreme.
“Zaid should repent. Otherwise, he should get out of the ‘rumpun Melayu’ (Malay grouping),” said the former Perlis Menteri Besar, here today.
Shahidan, who is also Arau Umno division chief, said Zaid “is a Malay and should be behaving like a Malay”.
“He should have the Malay spirit and not question ‘ketuanan Melayu’ openly,” Shahidan said when met at the closing of the Perlis Open Cycling Championship 2008 and the Women’s Cycling Championship for the President’s Cup, here.
He said if Zaid continued to question the Malay supremacy concept, then he should no longer be a Malay because as a Malay he should be defending the Malays and not running them down.
In Zaid’s speech, the words “Ketuanan Melayu” only appear 4 times.
I have a difficulty in understanding whether they are actually talking about the same “Ketuanan Melayu” at all. The couple of times that “Malay Rulers” came up in Zaid’s speech, he said nothing but good things and praises. Why then, do these people feel compelled to link Ketuanan Melayu to the Malay Rulers?
It appears to me that the Ketuanan Melayu that Zaid was referring to is actually not the same one that the ‘Malay leaders’ are referring to.
And why do we have people who seem to have this compulsion to ask people to “leave the country if you don’t like it”? Since when did Malaysia become this country that is exclusive for people who ‘think alike’? I thought we celebrate our diversity. Shouldn’t diversity include diversity in thinking as well?
While we’re at it, I’m also having a difficulty in understanding what Shahidan has said. He said Zaid should “behave like a Malay”. And pray tell, how is that supposed to be? Is there a specific way to behave as a Malay? In the same way, me being Chinese and all, is there a specific way for me to behave? I don’t believe so. And if there really IS a specific way to behave as a Malay, I don’t think there should.
Another thing that Shahidan said was that if Zaid continues to question Ketuanan Melayu, then he should “no longer be a Malay”. This is equally nuts. How in the world does anyone stop being a person of a particular race?
If Ketuanan Melayu is about the sovereignity of the Malay Rulers and the YDPA, I say Daulat Tuanku. If Ketuanan Melayu is about keeping and strengthening the Malay language as our National language, I say daulat Bahasa Melayu.
But if Ketuanan Melayu is about shutting up and keeping quiet simply because your thought is not in line with the other leaders of the day (who happen to be Malay), I say it NEEDS to be questioned.
Ketuanan Melayu has been bandied about ever since the General Elections earlier this year. In all honesty, I have never heard of this Ketuanan Melayu thing before. Perhaps I was just not savvy.
My opinion is that Ketuanan Melayu in itself is a controversy of sorts. No one seems to be able to agree on the exact meaning of ketuanan Melayu. Some people say that it is because the Malays are the ‘tuan’ of Tanah Melayu. Some say it’s the Raja-raja Melayu. Some say it’s the keris. Some say it’s the special position given to the Malays in the Constitution. Some say it’s because the Malays are first-class citizens. Some say it’s because the Malays have rights that non-Malays don’t.
So, really, what Ketuanan Melayu?