The Malaysian Malay (UPDATED with Chinese And BM Translation)


Zul Nordin has made a police report against the PAS Member of Parliament for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad. But Khalid is not alone is his views. Khalid’s views are shared by many other top PAS leaders, Tok Guru Nik Aziz included. Will Zul now also make a police report against Tok Guru?


Raja Petra Kamarudin


by  Dr Syed Alwi of Singapore

As you know, I am an avid watcher of Malaysian affairs. I must confess that, lately, Malaysia appears to be failing. Not a day passes by without more events that clearly highlight Malaysia’s race-religion fault-line. If things keep going this way, I fear for Malaysia’s future.

Today, schools in Singapore celebrate Racial Harmony Day. I can visibly see the joy in the children’s faces as they wear their ethnic costumes and have fun together at school. But in Malaysia – even the right to choose a religion has become a sensitive, national issue. No doubt, there are many in Malaysia who hate my liberal views on Islam; my family included. But I will say what I must say openly. I have come to the conclusion that Malaysia cannot progress any further without first addressing fundamental questions regarding its identity and soul.

I remember the days when we can laugh at Lat’s cartoons on every day Malaysian life. But sadly the Islamic tide has polarised Malaysians.

Some people ask why I should bother about Malaysian affairs since I am a Singaporean. May I remind Malaysians that it was Tan Siew Sin who once said that Singapore and Malaysia are like Siamese Twins. Should Malaysia go down – it would hurt the region tremendously; especially Singapore.

Where do you think Malay apostates would head for if Lina Joy loses her case? Singapore of course! I find the Malaysian Malay to be very under-exposed. For them, it’s all Islam and the NEP and everything else under the sun would sort itself out. I am sorry to say this – but Islam and the NEP may be the cause of the doing of the Malaysian Malay.

There is nothing wrong with religion or affirmative action. But, like everything else in life, they must be taken in moderation and with a pinch of salt. A little doubt is good. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, emotions over Islam have overcome reason. What we see today is the result of the NEP and Islamisation policies of the past thirty years or so.

No one owes Malaysian Malays a living. Let me assure you that should Malaysia fail – the Malaysian Malay will suffer enormously. And rightly so. After all, they have been pampered with all sorts of goodies over the years.

They cannot now expect more goodies. Perhaps the day of reckoning for them is near. Whatever it is, Malaysia had better wake up to the realities around her. The globalised world of the 21st century has no NEP to offer the Malaysian Malay. And humans cannot live by religion alone.


The above ‘letter to the editor’ was e-mailed to me by a dear friend. I did not receive it directly from Dr Syed Alwi. However, knowing the way he writes and knowing his views on the subject, this is clearly Dr Syed Alwi’s ‘trademark’.

I remember, about ten years or so ago, back in 1999 soon after Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN) was launched, I suggested that the party invite the media representatives to tea at its headquarters for a meet-the-leaders session. Since I suggested the idea I was asked to compile a list of those to invite. The secretariat would make the other arrangements like food and so on.

That was the first time I met another dear friend face-to-face, the late Mr. MGG Pillai. Although I ‘knew’ him from reading his postings in Sang Kancil, his chat group, I had yet been able to sit down to talk to him ‘in the flesh’.

Mr. Pillai made a very valid observation. All the food we had prepared is ‘non-halal’, he said. Well, non-halal from the Hindu or vegetarian point of view. Everything had beef in it, even the vegetables. Since PKN is supposed to be a multi-racial party, why did it not cater for the non-meat eaters as well? Maybe some vegetarian food, or better still, a vegetarian table, so that Hindus or vegetarians could enjoy their food. None of the food being served is suitable for Hindus or vegetarians.

It suddenly dawned on me that Mr. Pillai was right. We invited people of various ethnicities and religious persuasions to our function. Yet we are not sensitive to their dietary requirements. When DAP organises a lunch or dinner, they always make sure that at least a couple of tables would be laid out with halal food. Not only the food was halal, but the caterers were also Muslims to offer that additional comfort to their Muslim guests that the food is absolutely kosher in all ways.

I apologised to Mr. Pillai and agreed that he is absolutely right. I then offered to make arrangements for one of the staff to quickly run down the road to look for a Hindu restaurant and buy some food. We could probably get a ‘halal’ section set up within 30 minutes or so.

Mr. Pillai said that that was not necessary. He was not complaining that he is not able to eat the ‘non-halal’ food that we had laid out for our guests from the media community. He was just bringing to my attention the principle of the whole thing — in that as a multi-racial party we should be sensitive to and conscious of the needs of all communities.

Mr. Pillai then attacked the buffet table and filled his plate with chicken. So clearly he had no problems with the ‘non-halal’ food and clearly he was not upset about the matter, as I had first imagined, but was speaking merely on point of principle.

The following day, I brought this matter to the attention of the secretariat staff — invariably who were all Malays and therefore Muslims. I suggested that next time we follow the example of DAP and make sure that we cater at least one table for Hindus and vegetarians — like DAP normally does for its Muslim guests. Maybe the next time when we send invitations out we should ask the guests to indicate if they need a special diet arrangement so that we know the numbers we need to cater for.

The reply I received was that the food is halal as far as Muslims are concerned and that is all that matters.

Maybe so, I responded, but what is halal for Muslims may not be halal for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, vegetarians and whatnot. So we need to consider their needs and sensitivities as well.

This is a Muslim country, came back the reply, so they will have to learn how to live with it.

I was stunned and did not know how to respond further. I realised it was futile to prolong this conversation with people who could not look beyond their very narrow selfish minds.

Malays whack the non-Malays for not being ‘sensitive’ to the feelings of Muslims. But does not being sensitive work both ways? Non-Malays are expected to be sensitive to the feeling of the Muslims. But Malays need not be sensitive to the feelings of non-Malays because this is a Muslim country. That is the ‘logic’ put forward.

And what is more frightening is that this is not the view of the minority. Many Malays think like this. But how do we impress upon the Malays that others will be sensitive to your feelings only when you are sensitive to theirs?

And this is why we have people like the Member of Parliament for Kulim, Zul Nordin, acting the way he does. This is because he only thinks of himself and the needs of the Muslims. He does not care a damn about the non-Muslims. To people like Zul Nordin, only Muslims count. Non-Muslims do not matter. Muslims can say what they like about the other religions — even whack them to kingdom come. But if the people of the other faiths ‘slander’ or ‘insult’ Islam (and ‘slandering’ and ‘insulting’ would be according to how the Muslims perceive it in their minds; even if it is not true), then expect retaliation.

Malays would say, as Muslims, and since Islam is a religion of peace, they would tolerate other religions to co-exist, but only as long as the non-Muslims do not ‘trespass’ into Islam.

This may sound very accommodating to the Muslim mind. This demonstrates tolerance. But why, in the first place, do Muslims even imagine that they have to ‘tolerate’ other religions? Do Muslims not realise that by uttering a statement saying that you tolerate other religions that is already an insult?

Why tolerate? Would not tolerating something means you consider that particular issue as something bothersome? If your neighbour owns a dog and that dog strays into your garden to shit, but since it is your neighbour and you do not wish to make an issue out of it, you tolerate it.

So you tolerate the shit your neighbour’s dog left in your garden for the sake of maintaining a cordial relationship with that neighbour. But to also tolerate your neighbour’s non-Islamic religion means you equate his religion to dog shit.

But Malays will continuously say that Islam tolerates other religions without realising that the very use of the word ‘tolerate’ demonstrates what is in your very narrow and selfish mind.

Zul Nordin has made a police report against the PAS Member of Parliament for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad. But Khalid is not alone is his views. Khalid’s views are shared by many other top PAS leaders, Tok Guru Nik Aziz included. Will Zul now also make a police report against Tok Guru?

Tok Guru has invited about 200 religious leaders of all faiths for a meal and to sit down for what can be considered an inter-faith get-together. I know Zul is against inter-faith dialogues. He led the demonstration outside the Malaysian Bar Council office to oppose inter-faith dialogues. In fact, he gatecrashed the gathering and uttered very threatening and seditious remarks.

Well, Tok Guru has taken steps to improve inter-faith understanding, something Zul is opposed to. Should not Zul now make another police report and organise a demonstration in front of Tok Guru’s venue and gatecrash the event and shout and scream threats at Tok Guru?

Tok Guru is the man Umno labels an extremist, outdated, ‘Taliban’, and whatnot. But Tok Guru has demonstrated more maturity than Zul could ever do in 100 years.

Malays need to reflect on all this. In fact, they need to do a huge load of reflecting. Most times Malays make statements without even thinking. But these statements they make are ‘sincere’, in that this is really the way they think and they are just being ‘honest’ about what is in their mind.

What would the Malays do if we ban the use of the word ‘tolerate’? What if you are no longer permitted to say that ‘Islam tolerates other religions’? How would you now rephrase that statement minus the word ‘tolerate’?

Yes, and with that I will leave you and allow you to ponder on this ‘problem’.


Translated into Chinese at:

Translated into BM by Tan KY:

(Dr. Syed Alwi’s letter is not translated)
Surat pengarang di atas dikirim untuk saya oleh seorang kawan. Saya tidak menerimanya terus daripada Dr Syed Alwi. Tetapi, daripada cara tulisan beliau dan mengetahui pandangannya secara umum, saya tahu bahawa inilah stail tulisan beliau. 

Saya ingat, kira-kira 10 tahun yang lalu, selepas Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN) ditubuhkan, saya mencadangkan agar parti tersebut menjemput wakil media untuk minum teh dan bersuai kenal dengan pemimpin di ibu pejabatnya. Oleh kerana itu idea saya, saya ditanggungjawabkan menyediakan senarai tetamu. Selebihnya akan diuruskan oleh jawatankuasa parti, seperti makanan dan sebagainya. 

Itu kali pertama saya bertemu dengan kawan saya, mendiang MGG Pillai. Walaupunn saya kenal beliau daripada tulisannya di laman chatting-nya, Sang Kancil, saya belum pernah bersua muka dengan beliau. 

Encik Pillai memberikan komen yang semua makanan yang disediakan adalah “tidak halal”. Bermaksud, “tidak halal” daripada pandangan seorang Hindu atau pemakan sayur (vegetarian). Segalanya ada daging lembu, termasuklah lauk sayuran. Oleh kerana PKN sepatutnya menjadi sebuah parti berbilang kaum, mengapa makanan yang lebih sesuai tidak dihidangkan? Sebagai contoh, makanan sayuran tanpa daging, atau lebih baik lagi, sebuah meja untuk santapan sayur sahaja, untuk membolehkan tetamu Hindu atau vegetarian menikmati makanan mereka. 

Pandangan beliau membuatkan saya tersentak. Beliau betul. Kami mempelawa tetamu daripada pelbagai kaum tetapi tidak mempedulikan sensitiviti mereka. Apabila parti DAP menganjurkan makan tengah hari atau makan malam, mereka mempastikan bahawa beberapa buah meja hanya menghidangkan makanan yang halal di sisi Islam. Bukan sahaja demikian, tetapi yang menyediakan makanan juga beragama Islam, untuk membolehkan tetamu makan tanpa was-was. 

Saya meminta maaf kepada Encik Pillai dan memberitahu beliau yang beliau memang betul. Saya mencadangkan agar salah seorang pekerja pergi ke restoran Hindu berdekatan untuk membeli makanan dan satu sudut “ halal” boleh disediakan dalam masa 30 minit.  

Encik Pillai berkata itu tidak perlu. Beliau tiada masalah dengan kegagalan kami untuk menyediakan makanan yang bersesuaian. Beliau berkata yang beliau hanya membangkitkan perkara tersebut untuk mengingatkan kami bahawa sebagai sebuah parti berbilang kaum, kami harus lebih sensitif dengan keperluan setiap kaum. Encik Pillai kemudian pergi ke barisan “buffet” dan mengisi pinggannya dengan masakan ayam.  

Hari keesokannya, saya membawa isu ini untuk perhatian ahli jawatankuasa – yang kebetulannya semua Melayu. Saya mencadangkan agar mengikut contoh DAP dan menyediakan lauk “vegetarian” untuk kaum Hindu dan mereka yang tidak makan daging.  Mungkin lain kali apabila kad jemputan dikirimkan, tetamu boleh diminta menyatakan sama ada mereka memerlukan sebarang aturan khas. 

Jawapan mereka, makanan tersebut halal dari sudut pandangan Islam, dan itu sudah cukup. 

Saya jawab, apa yang halal di sisi Islam tidak semestinya halal kepada Hindu, Buddha, Jain, Vegetarian dan sebagainya. Jadi kita perlu mengambil kira keperluan mereka juga. 

Ini negara Islam, kata mereka, dan yang bukan Islam harus memahami perkara ini. 

Saya tergamam seketika. Saya sedar bahawa hanya sia sia untuk meneruskan perbincangan ini dengan golongan yang berfikiran sempit ini. 

Orang Melayu sering memarahi bukan Melayu kerana tidak sensitif kepada perasaan umat Islam. Tetapi, adakah Melayu juga sensitif akan perasaan bukan Islam? Mengikut logik mereka, bukan Melayu perlu sensitif terhadap Melayu, tetapi Melayu tidak perlu sensitif terhadap perasaan bukan Melayu. 

Dan apa yang lebih menakutkan ialah ini bukan pandangan segelintir Melayu. Ramai Melayu yang berfikiran demikian. Bagaimana harus kita membuatkan Melayu sedar yang orang lain hanya akan sensitif terhadap mereka jika mereka turut sensitif terhadap orang lain? 

Ini sebabnya ada yang berperangai seperti ahli parlimen Kulim, Zulkifli Noordin. Beliau hanya berfikir tentang dirinya sendiri dan umat Islam. Yang bukan Islam tidak diendahkannya. Kepada orang seperti Zulkifli, orang bukan Islam tidak penting. Orang Islam boleh berkata sesuka hati mereka tentang agama lain – termasuk mengutuk agama lain. Tetapi jika orang beragama lain “menyindir”,  “menghina”, “memperlekehkan Islam”, walaupun apa yang ditafsirkan sebagai “menghina” atau “memperlekehkan” suatu perkara yang subjektif, orang Islam mahu tindakan tegas diambil. 

Melayu sering berkata, sebagai Islam, dan kerana Islam ialah agama yang cintakan keamanan, mereka bertoleransi terhadap agama lain, selagi yang bukan Islam jangan mengganggu Islam. 

Kepada yang beragama Islam, ini mungkin sifat yang terpuji. Tetapi, tanya diri anda, mengapa yang beragama Islam terpaksa bertoleransi dengan agama lain? Tidakkah mereka sedar bahawa berkata demikian merupakan sesuatu penghinaan terhadap agama lain? 

Mengapa bertoleransi? Bertoleransi bermaksud anda menganggap sesuatu isu itu menimbulkan masalah. Jika jiran anda membela anjing, dan anjingnya membuang tahi di laman anda, tetapi kerana itu jiran anda dan anda tidak mahu bergaduh, anda bertoleransi terhadap isu itu.  

Tetapi Melayu sering berkata yang Islam bertoleransi terhadap agama lain tanpa menyedari itu satu pandangan yang sempit dan jumud. 

Zulkifli Noordin membuat laporan polis terhadap ahli parlimen PAS Shah Alam, Khalid Samad. Tetapi pandangan Khalid bukan pandangan beliau seorang sahaja. Ramai lagi pemimpin PAS termasuk Tok Guru Nik Aziz turut berpendapat demikian. Adakah Zulkifli Noordin juga akan membuat laporan polis terhadap Tok Guru? 

Tok Guru telah menjemput lebit 200 pemimpin agama daripada pelbagai agama untuk makan bersama dalam apa yang boleh disifatkan sebagai sidang antara agama. Saya tahu Zulkifli Noordin menentang sidang antara agama. Beliau terlibat dalam demonstrasi di luar pejabat Majlis Peguam untuk membantah dialog di antara agama. Lebih lagi, beliau merempuh ke dalam perhimpunan itu dan mengeluarkan kata-kata berbentuk ancaman. 

Tok Guru telah mengambil langkah ke arah perbincangan di antara agama, sesuatu yang dibantah Zulkifli Noordin. Adakah Zulkifli Noordin akan membuat laporan polis dan berdemonstrasi di hadapan rumah Tok Guru? 

Tok Guru ialah seorang yang dilabel oleh Umno sebagai ketinggalan zaman, “Taliban”, ekstremis. Tetapi Tok Guru telah mempamerkan jauh lebih kematangan berbanding Zulkifli Noordin. 

Melayu perlu merenungkan fakta ini. Sering kali, Melayu meluahkan kata-kata tanpa berfikir. Adakah apa yang diluahkan selama ini benar benar apa yang dalam fikiran mereka?

Apa yang akan Melayu lakukan jika kita mengharamkan penggunaan perkataan toleransi? Apa yang berlaku jika anda tidak boleh lagi berkata Islam bertoleransi terhadap agama lain?. Bagaimana anda meluahkan ayat tersebut tanpa menggunakan perkataan toleransi? 

Fikir fikirkanlah.