Malay rights and privileges

Raja Petra Kamarudin

In March this year, Malaysian voters gave Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s government a resounding victory in the 11th General Election. The Umno-led Barisan Nasional government secured about 90% of the Parliamentary seats though with only about two-thirds of the votes.

Even if the ruling party had secured only half the votes it could still form the government as, in Malaysia, winning the votes does not necessarily mean you win the seats as well. In 1969, the ruling party then, the Alliance Party, won only about 40% of the votes but it still managed to form the government with a simple majority.

But forming a government with a simple majority is not good enough for Barisan Nasional. Forming a government with a two-thirds majority is also not good enough either. It must be with a landslide win.

In 1969, the ruling party solved this by ‘sponsoring’ the infamous ‘May 13’ race riots. In 1999, the Prime Minister then, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, warned the non-Malays that if, again, like in 1969, the ruling party loses its two-thirds majority, then prepare for another race riot.

A government, explained Dr Mahathir, without a two-thirds majority, will not have the power to prevent another race riot. Therefore, it is necessary for the ruling party to not only win the general election, but to win with a two-thirds majority as well.

How this logic applies was not explained. What if the ruling party wins only 55% of the seats instead of more than 67%? How would this result in race riots exploding? And why would the government be powerless to prevent race riots with only 55% of the seats but will be powerful enough to stop it with 67% of the seats? Is it not the army and police that ensure the peace and security of the government regardless of how many seats in Parliament the government of the day owns?

Well, take Terengganu and Kelantan as examples. In 1999, the ruling party was wiped out in those two states when the state fell to the opposition. Did race riots erupt there? And, if not, then why — since going by Dr Mahathir’s logic there should have been bloodshed in the streets of these two states?

The truth is; race riots have nothing to do with the number of seats the ruling party owns in Parliament. It has everything to do with agent provocateurs. And, in 1999, Umno was the agent provocateur.

Anyway, the Malays want Barisan Nasional to continue in office. Why? Because, according to the Malays, only then can Umno continue to defend the Malays’ special rights and privileges.

Hmm…Barisan Nasional stays in office and Umno can defend the Malays’ special rights and privileges. There are two things wrong with this argument.

First, what special Malay rights and privileges are they talking about? I just cannot see what they are. Do they mean: to ensure Malay students will be guaranteed a place in institutes of higher learning? Only if you support Umno and not if you support the opposition — unless you did not notice that all students suspected of supporting the opposition would have their scholarships withdrawn and they would be thrown out of school.

Second, do special Malay rights and privileges mean anything or is it nothing but a load of bullshit? How do special Malay rights and privileges put food on the table or a roof over your head?

So, Malays have special rights and privileges, do they? Big deal! Why not take a drive around Damansara Utama, Damansara Jaya, Paramount Garden, Subang Jaya, Subang USJ, Bangsar, Jalan Kelang, Jalan Ipoh, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Taman Megah, Bukit Bintang, Pudu, Puchong, Sungai Besi, Cheras, Kepong, Jinjang, Batu Caves, Setapak — okay, let’s cut in short, drive around ALL the urban areas anywhere in Malaysia — and show me how many Malay-owned business premises you can find. Practically the entire economy is dominated by the non-Malays, in particular the Chinese.

The stupid Malays stand on stage in front of the rostrum at the Umno General Assembly year after year shouting and screaming about defending and protecting special Malay rights and privileges! The stupid Malays stand on stage in front of the rostrum at the Umno General Assembly year after year shouting and screaming that only Umno can defend and protect the Malay’s special rights and privileges!

Big deal! While the stupid Malays scream and shout, the non-Malays quietly dominate the economy of this country. The Malays can keep their special rights and privileges. I don’t need it. If this is what having special rights and privileges mean, I would rather be like the non-Malays who have nothing but are laughing all the way to the bank.

By the way, did you know that many of those Umno leaders who won a seat in the Umno Supreme Council recently did so with Chinese money? They of course bought all their votes and the Chinese businessmen paid for it.

Hmm, looks like the Chinese not only own all the businesses in Malaysia, they now own Umno as well. Sigh…I wish I was born a Chinese instead of a stupid Malay. Well, maybe I can pretend I am not Malay then it won’t be too embarrassing.

By the way, the houses in my neighbourhood, an upper-middle class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, are more than 90% Chinese-owned. Down the road, Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh, where the low cost houses are, the ratio of Malay ownership increases to more than 70%.

Guess who owns all the money and who owns the special rights and privileges? No prize for the right guess! Excuse me while I go throw up…sic.