The mark of proud and principled Malays

The bottom line is, Malays are the ones disgracing their race. This makes a mockery of the so-called dignity and pride of Malays. How can Malays continue talking about dignity and pride when those of their own kind are acting disgracefully?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Malays know the word amok, said Umno during its annual general assembly. Don’t push the Malays too far, warned Umno. Push the Malays too far and watch the keris come out of its sheath, screamed Umno. “Now that the keris has been unsheathed when are you going to use it?” Umno challenged its Youth Leader.

No, this is not mere rhetoric. These are not idle threats. They meant what they said. But why do they talk like that? Why are the Malays giving an impression that they are so confrontational and constantly on ‘war alert’?

It all has to do with maruah (dignity) and Malay pride. They do not like to be criticised. Criticism is seen as a challenge. Pantang Melayu di cabar, Malays would say. This could probably be translated to mean: It is taboo to challenge the Malays. Pantang could also mean prohibited or something to be avoided.

So, if you say anything not nice about the Malays, this would be perceived as a challenge or an invitation to a fight. That is why Malays go berserk when criticised. And they would not hesitate to run amok and take out their keris in defence of their dignity and pride.

I have no problems with that. After all, I too am what the Chinese would call a fighter-cock. And if anyone were to mock me I too would retaliate. Many readers have commented that I too am not open to criticism, just like any ‘normal’ Malay. Actually I can take criticism. It is mocking that I detest. And if you mock me then I hit back hard. You mock me at your own peril. And there has been many an occasion when he who mocked me suffered my fist on his face.

Okay, call me violent if you wish. Even label me uncivilised if that pleases you. But no one mocks me and gets away with it. Criticism is acceptable. But when you mock me be prepared for a violent and physical reaction. And my response is exactly how any Malay would respond when mocked.

As I said, Malays place dignity and pride about all else, sometimes even above religion. Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat. Better the child dies than tradition dies. Malays would rather see the death of an offspring than the death of their traditions. This is the Malay psyche and there is very little you can do to change this. Malays are born this way. And they will die this way if necessary.

I am not making excuses for the conduct of Malays. And I even accept the fact that this is what it means to be Malay. Take it or leave it. You don’t have to love Malays. Just stay clear of them if you do not, that is all. Avoid Malays if you feel that they are irrational creatures. But never mock them to their face. They will never walk away from such an episode. And they will never allow you to walk away either.

Okay, after saying all that, what I can’t understand about Malays is how they can tolerate their own kind disgracing their race. How come they do not demonstrate outrage that their race is being disgraced by their own kind? Why is it when you mock them to their face they go ballistic but when their own kind bring shame to their race they keep their silence?

I mean, when we hear about a detainee being killed in custody it would most likely be Malays who are behind the act. When we hear about a government officer being arrested and charged for corruption it is most times Malays who are the culprits. When someone upholds racism and asks that it be institutionalised chances are this someone would be a Malay. And the list goes one.

The bottom line is, Malays are the ones disgracing their race. This makes a mockery of the so-called dignity and pride of Malays. How can Malays continue talking about dignity and pride when those of their own kind are acting disgracefully? Why do Malays not retaliate against fellow Malays who are disgracing their race? Should not Malays rise in anger and lynch fellow Malays who are giving their race a bad name?

It appears like Malays only become outraged when non-Malays criticise them. And they will take this criticism as a challenge to their dignity and pride. And don’t even begin to mock them. Mocking will be met with bloodshed. But when their own kind bring shame to the Malay race they remain tight-lipped.

I have been labelled as a Chinese ass-kisser because I criticise the Malays. If, on the other hand, I criticise the non-Malays then I would be called a patriot and a Malay nationalist. That is how they think. But they would never say that Malays who disgrace their race are traitors to their race. I mean, just see who wins the Umno party elections. Most are corrupt to the core. But the Malays love these people. The Malays choose these people as their leaders. But people like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who refuses to bribe the delegates or buy their votes can’t even get one nomination other than from his own division.

The sad thing about the Tengku Razaleigh episode is that it proves corruption calls the shots and those who refuse to indulge in corruption can’t even get near the starting line of the race. Is this what Malay dignity and pride is all about? You mean to tell me that Malay dignity and pride is only important when it comes to the non-Malays but when it comes to their own race they can put aside dignity and pride in exchange for money?

And we are talking about so-called proud and principled Malays.