Thursday, September 11, 2008


Someone wrote this in the comments section, which I thought deserved our attention:

"Our citizenship was borne out of an agreement, we have reaped the benefits of it and we must carry the responsibilities and burden that comes with it as well. Is it wise to now revisit these foundations or is it more prudent to chart a way forward while respecting the foundations upon which the races found their place at the table".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends

I am quite disturbed by the recent events among the UMNO peoples actions and statements about race and Malaysian history. We actually forgot that to begin with - we ALL are immigrants to Malaysia ; the only difference is who are earlier and who are later. Historically, the Malays are settling in Malaysia circa 1000 to 1300 (ie about 1000 years ago), and the rest of other races came in from 1600 onwards (few hundred years later). The difference in timing (at least in historical sense) is negligible. The jews occupied Palestine for 5000 years (and hence their claim to the Holy Land), the Arabs occupied Arabia for the same period of time, and so on with other races, when comes to claim of racial supremacy over a piece of land being made. These people not only have claims over the land because of ancestral ownerhsip, but also they were the pillars of the civilizations that was once built by their ancestors on these lands.

To say that the Malays have built a great civilization in Malaysia , then we are definitely fooling ourselves; as in actuality the great Malay civilization lies in what is today - the ruins of Angkor Wat! (in Cambodia ) (May be those Malays making much fuss about Chinese returning to China, should also be heading to Cambodia, as that is where he actually belongs - historically). In a real sense, Malaysia was built upon layers and layers of immigration - by Malays on various stages and variety - Champa Malays, Thai Malays, Melayu Laut, Indonesian Malays (batak from Medan, Jawa from Java, Riau - from Riau Islands and province, Minang - from Padang), the Arabs (all the Syed, Saids, Sheikhs etc,), the Malabars (Indian mixed with Arabs), the Indian Muslims (which somehow becomes Malays or Mamaks), and the various mixed marriages that happened between these immigrants. This process happens at the same time when Chinese and Indians (tamils, sikhs, singhalese,
etc) were also migrating to Malaysia and assimilating into the territory.
Therefore, to claim that Malay race (which is already very vaguesly defined if we look at the reality as explained above), has prior and superior claim to this land than other race is totally absurd. What happen was by virtue of Malay Sultanate, this whole thing becomes the issue that needs to be addressed by the British. In another word, the politics was in control of the Malays, and therefore, they want the supremacy of the Malays to continue (politically). When the negotiations took place for the formation of the constitutions (at states and federal levels), the insertion of the Malay race as well as Islam, and the role of the Sultans were enshrined in. That's it. Not because Malays were here earlier than the others.

Now that we have gone so far, and we have lived so far, comes the time for us to adapt to the changes that are taking place (and in fact already took
place): we have now at least third generations immigrants living today. In any society, when the third generations come forth, it is as good as he/she is a truly citizen of that country, assimilated into the culture of that country, etc..etc. I am actually of the inclination to propose that we should just ammend our constitutions and laws to just simply identify that anyone who is third generation Malaysian should just carry an identity as a 'Malaysian Race' (Bangsa Malaysia), and gradually we drop the Malay, Chinese, Indian race from our identity. I honestly can;t imagine 50 years from now (i.e. two generations down the road), that our grand children still talking to each other as Malay,Chinese,Indian etc.
Anyway, the names will continue to reflect the persons origin - because Malays will use Islamic names, Chinese will use mixed Chinese and christian names, and the same for Indians. So there should be no fear of losing your 'identity'.

For a start - let us agree that race based parties are 'finished'. It should be the end of UMNO, MCA, and MIC (and hence BN). I would favor PKR
- because it is truly being built upon a multic racial lines. (Some would comments that PKR is for Anwar - not true. A party will live longer than the person. Anwar may be instrumental in forming it, but its future will be determined by its members). DAP - is also a good choice, except that it need to come to the enter and gets a more balanced representation by various races (it is still overtly Chinese). PAS - is still a Malay party (which in many ways behaves just like the other side of the coin for UMNO).

We also should not condone any stupid actions by any stupid group of people; Be it Malays, Chinese, Indians etc; We should seriously open our medium of expression; the mere supression on racial issues over the years by BN, actually contributes to the current 'lack of tolerance'. (Everyone needs to practice to walk before he can run - racism needs some form of open discussions (through media etc), before it can be a free for all forums). The existing goverment controlled media must be blamed, and freedom of media must be opened. ISA must be abolished (as it is actually used against those who are anti government. racist remarks by UMNO/ruling party has always been condoned - Hishamudin keris case is good example.
UMNO conventions has been full of racial remarks, etc).

Anyway, I have to stop here; Time for Buka Puasa....

Dr. Wan Muhamad Hasni Wan Sulaiman