Everyone was involved in this race, religion, language and royalty battle -- including Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Anwar Ibrahim -- with everyone claiming to represent the voice of the Malays. So all this actually started in 1988 and not 2008 -- 20 years before the Great Political Tsunami of March 2008. Most people look at 2008 as the ‘turning point’. 2008 may have been when it ‘broke’. But 20 years earlier in 1988 was when the cancer started. It is just that not many people noticed the cancer until it reached 'stage four' 20 years later in 2008.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
‘Non-Muslims are insulting our religion’
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Muslims "do not insult" other religions.
(Bernama) - Action that touch Muslim sensitivities must stop or else it will create tension just like what is happening in other Muslim countries.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the action by certain quarters should not happen in a country that is enjoying the peace.
“This shows that there is no deep understanding within society.”
“Muslims do not insult the religion of non-Muslims such as Christianity and Hinduism.”
“But non-Muslims are insulting our religion,” he said at the breaking of fast with orphans of Rumah Amal Kasih Bestari here last night.
The Deputy Prime Minister called for stern action to be taken against the culprits for tarnishing the image and sanctity of Islam.
“The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Home Ministry must act fast to prevent a recurrence.”
Years ago if I was to insert a caption below the above photo of Iranians at prayer that said “Iranians helping to look for Ayatollah Khomeini’s contact lenses” most, Muslims included, would have taken that as a joke. Today, Muslims would consider that as an insult to Islam if it were done by a non-Muslim and blasphemy if done by a Muslim.
How times have changed. We have lost our sense of humour. Everything, even if done in jest, is now seen as an act of provocation and an insult (or blasphemy). What has happened to our country?
Nothing happens overnight. Cancer takes years to reach the terminal stage. Rust takes years to eat into metal. Rot takes years to destroy wood. Hate takes a generation to divide society.
And now that time has come when Malaysian society has become divided, as it never has before -- even worse than in 1969, which is touted as the blackest day in post-Merdeka Malaysian history.
How did we reach this stage where intolerance, suspicion, hate, and more, have pitted Malaysians against one another? We need to take a walk down memory lane to understand what is happening in Malaysia and to recognise how politicians -- as what has happened in many other countries all over the world as well -- have pushed Malaysia to the brink of a civil war.
Yes, it is easy to blame Umno for the current state of affairs in Malaysia. But it takes two hands to clap. It takes two to tango. It takes two sides to go to war. So no one is exempted in this hate campaign that is currently threatening to engulf Malaysia in one of its worst crisis in history.
I have said this before, many times, and I will say it again. Malaysian politics is about the 3Rs: race, religion and royalty. The acknowledgment of the existence of the 3Rs was the foundation of Merdeka. It was how Malaya gained Merdeka. Without the agreement regarding the 3Rs Merdeka would have been almost impossible.
Malaysians of all races took 12 years to negotiate the Merdeka Agreement to resolve the issue of the 3Rs. Most Malays uphold and hold dear the 3Rs. Most non-Malays oppose and detest the 3Rs.
That one issue alone almost derailed the negotiations for Merdeka. Neither the Malays nor the non-Malays could agree on the matter. Finally they had to meet in the middle somewhere and both sides had to compromise in the interest of gaining Merdeka.
But the Malays were not entirely happy with the Agreement. And neither were the non-Malays. But that is what compromises are all about. It is not about making one side happy. It is about both sides sacrificing something for the sake of coming to an agreement that would otherwise not have been possible.
The four things that the Malays would not let go were, first, the acknowledgment that the Malays are the original people of the country. And that was why the Federation of Malaya of 1948 was translated into Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Hence Malaya meant Melayu to the Malays.
As a trade-off (compromise) the Malays agreed to give the non-Malays citizenship although this meant the large majority Malays would now be reduced to a smaller majority of the population of post-Merdeka Malaya.
Next was the issue of religion. Islam would be acknowledged as the religion of the Federation but all the non-Islam religions would be free to be practiced as long as the non-Muslims do not propagate their religion to the Muslims or ‘interfere’ with Islam.
Third, the Malay Language would be acknowledged as the official language of the Federation -- Bahasa Kebangsaan -- while the non-Malays would be allowed their vernacular schools to educate their children in their mother tongue.
Finally, the Monarchies would be maintained, although reduced to a mere Constitutional Monarchy, who would be head of Islam in the states as well as at federal level (the Agong).
And it would be considered sedition and punishable by law to question or dispute these four points in the Merdeka Agreement.
Furthermore, the fact that we refer to Malaysians of different races and religious persuasions as Malays and non-Malays or Muslims and non-Muslims demonstrates that Malays and Muslims come first and all ‘others’ are called nons -- non-Malays and non-Muslims.
This is a sort of ‘psychological’ divide that was planted into the minds of all pre-Merdeka Malaysians. Malaya is ‘Tanah Melayu’. Malays are the ‘owners’ of the country. Malay is the language of the country. Islam is the religion of the country. And the monarchs are the rulers of the Malays -- the Raja-Raja Melayu, as the Malays would call them.
This was all agreed during the time of my grandfather. I, too, am now a grandfather of five grandchildren. Hence we are talking about five generations ago or more than 100 years of Malaysians if we take 25 years to represent one generation.
As I said, this was planted into the minds of the Malays five generations ago. So how do we erase that from the minds of the Malays after five generations of regarding that as being ‘The Agreement’? To question any one of those four points would be seen as a breach of agreement. And if you want to terminate that ‘Agreement’ then you will also need to terminate the other ‘compromises’ that came with that ‘Agreement’.
That is how the minds of the Malays work. The Malays think they have sacrificed (gave) certain things to gain certain things. Hence if you take back what they gained they too would want to take back what they gave. And how do you make the Malays understand that what they ‘gave’ was to the immigrants (China- and India-born Malayans) whereas the present generation of non-Malays are not immigrants but Malaysian-born?
This would be the duty of the leaders and politicians to educate the Malays so that they can understand that the ‘Agreement’ was made with the Chinese and Indians from China and India. Today, most of these people are no longer alive (they came to Malaya between the mid-1800s to about 1920). Those Chinese and Indians in Malaysia still alive did not come from China or India (unless they are 100 years old or older). They were born in Malaysia.
Hence that would make them Malaysians and not Chinese or Indians.
A sensible or thinking person would understand this. But when the leaders and politicians keep playing up the issue of the 3Rs and constantly remind the Malays of their ‘special rights’ and that the non-Malays do not have these same rights -- plus the ‘other side’ keeps questioning these ‘rights’ and push the Malays into a ‘siege mentality’ -- we will get what we are seeing in Malaysia today: a great divide based on race and religion.
As I said earlier: it is easy to blame Umno for the current state of affairs in Malaysia. But it takes two hands to clap. It takes two to tango. It takes two sides to go to war. So no one is exempted in this hate campaign that is currently threatening to engulf Malaysia in one of its worst crisis in history.
The government side ‘fights’ to uphold these four points plus the ‘special position’ of the Malays. Hence the Malays believe in these things while the non-Malays become bitterly opposed to them.
The opposition, on the other hand, questions and opposes these four points plus the ‘special position’ of the Malays. Hence the Malays believe they are under siege while the non-Malays believe they are subjected to a great injustice.And it will be a never-ending story for many generations more to come.
Negotiating Merdeka was not easy. It would have been easy had it been the Malays versus the British with the non-Malays being less than 10% of the population.
But the non-Malays were not less than 10% of the population. They were almost half the population. Hence it cannot be the Malays versus the British. It had to be the Malays, Chinese and Indians versus the British.
And this was the difficult part about the negotiations for Merdeka. You had to balance the needs and aspirations of all the three races and not just that of the Malays -- which would have been much simpler.
It is time that we, the rakyat, take the politicians from both sides of the political divide to task for what Malaysia has become. This is all their fault. They should teach Malaysians of all races proper Malayan history. The 3Rs should no longer be a political weapon in the pursuit of power.
Leave the 3Rs alone. No need to argue about it. This matter was agreed before Malaya gained Merdeka. The government does not need to ‘fight’ to uphold it because sensible Malaysians do not want to remove Islam as the religion of the Federation, remove Malay as the language of the Federation, or abolish the Monarchy and turn Malaysia into a Republic.
The non-Malays, in turn, should not whack Islam and call it an outdated and primitive religion, or whack Bahasa Malaysia and call it a low-class language, or propagate the abolishing of the monarchy on grounds that it is a total waste of money.
We know these are ‘sore points’. So why do we want to play up these sore points knowing it is just going to rub people the wrong way? The Malays will never compromise on these issues. So let us see how we can navigate around it rather than meet it head-on in a confrontation.
As I said earlier, this problem did not develop overnight. Just like cancer, rust and rot, it took a long time to come to what it is now. And both sides of the political divide contributed to this.
Let us go back to the story of Merdeka. As I have explained, Merdeka was gained against the backdrop of a compromise on the 3Rs. No one race gained everything it wanted. Everyone had to sacrifice something to gain something else.
In 1957, after 12 years of ‘bickering’, Malaya gained Merdeka. And that was because the British only agreed to talk to the liberals and not to the extremists or conservatives.
Then, slowly, over another 12 years, the extremists strengthened their hold on Umno and ousted the liberals. And that was basically what ‘May 13’ was all about -- the catalyst to oust the liberals.
Then, for the next 12 years, Malaysia rebuilt itself from the ashes of ‘May 13’. Tun Razak created the multi-racial Barisan Nasional and Hussein Onn -- a.k.a Bapa Perpaduan or Father of Unity -- rebuilt national unity.
Then, in 1981, Dr Mahathir Mohammad took over and he focused on trying to turn Malaysia into another Japan, Korea or Taiwan. It was all about the economy and he was obsessed with beating Singapore even if he had to take shortcuts that were less than kosher and at times immoral if not illegal.
Then, six years later, Umno split into two. And, for the next ten years or so, the Malays (meaning Umno and the other Malay parties such as PAS and Semangat 46) were embroiled in the politics of the 3Rs with each side trying to present itself as the true fighters (perjuang) of their race, religion, language and the royalty (Raja-Raja Melayu).
Everyone was involved in this race, religion, language and royalty battle -- including Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Anwar Ibrahim -- with everyone claiming to represent the voice of the Malays.
So all this actually started in 1988 and not 2008 -- 20 years before the Great Political Tsunami of March 2008.
Most people look at 2008 as the ‘turning point’. 2008 may have been when it ‘broke’. But 20 years earlier in 1988 was when the cancer started. It is just that not many people noticed the cancer until it reached 'stage four' 20 years later in 2008.
And now the cancer is terminal.
Many of those who were in Umno back in 1988 are now in the opposition. But they too contributed to the problem when they were still bickering in Umno and fighting for power within Umno.
Today, they wash their hands of the problem and blame Umno for it. Yes, if seen from 2008 that may appear like it is true. But then 1988 was when the cancer first started. It took 20 years from 1988 to 2008 to become a problem.
So now they need to take responsibility and do something about it. Don’t just shout at Umno to stop this 3Rs politicking. The opposition too must do the same. And as long as the 3Rs politics is a proven recipe for Umno to retain power don’t expect Umno to stop using it.
No, I am not saying Unno is innocent. I am saying we are not innocent as well. And as long as we continue doing what Umno is doing then we lose the moral high ground to whack Umno for using the 3Rs politics.
In short, a whore cannot call another woman a prostitute.