Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should resign for questioning the loyalty and patriotism of non-Malays

This article is submitted by a Retired Senior Armed Forces Malaysian who also happens to be a NON-MALAY 

I’m a third generation Malaysian who had served the Malaysian Armed Forces for 38 devoted years. The article in STAR Page N14 recently which carried derogatory remarks by the Malaysian Defence Minister about non-Malays not only jolted me out of my slumber but also infuriated me. The Defence Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that one of the possible reasons for the low intake of non-Malays in the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) is that their “patriotism spirit is not high enough”!

Ironically, if my memory serves right, in 1998 this same Zahid Hamidi spoke out against then Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, calling for an end to cronyism and nepotism in the Malaysian government. Zahid, then seen as an ally of deposed Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was subsequently arrested and held in prison under the Internal Security Act. His oxymoronic statement implies that millions of Malaysians, including Malays, who chose not to join the Armed Forces are also not patriotic.
It must be acknowledged that the UMNO-led Government is promising a lot of reforms and taken initiatives that appear to be commendable but whilst the ‘Gods are willing, the priests are not’. The implementation on the ground, as always, has been an issue to which they conveniently close an eye or even both. The BTN inculcation is another monster that the UMNO Government, under the ‘able’ leadership of our not-so-pendatang PM Dr Mahathir, has created. The evil of BTN must be systemically reversed or we are all doomed and extremists like Zahid Hamidi, who are politically ambitious, who will not hesitate to play the race card again in order to rise within the ranks of UMNO, must be condemned by all right thinking members of the Malaysian society.
Like in most Government Departments, non-Malays are not appointed in certain sections of Departmental Work where it entails transparency. Thus is the case of the MAF Recruiting Division and several other fields purely at the discretion of those placed in power, and this power is abused with the tacit approval of those walking the Corridors of Power.
The MAF Recruiting Division over the years has been hoodwinking the public by manipulating the application figures. There are ample cases where applications by well qualified non-Malay candidates have either ended up in waste paper baskets or rejected with fictitious excuses.
On the other hand, the lesser ones are either called up and rejected as not qualified or a token sum is absorbed in order to just satisfy the political masters and project the multi-racial composition of the MAF. These poor fall guys end up being miserable with no future in their career. They simply mark time and quit service later into oblivion.
What career prospects await the non-Malay today in the Government’s service? All the senior positions held by non-Malays are quickly and promptly replaced by Malays when these non-Malays retire. Non-Malays who are competent, able and well qualified are by-passed and these promotions are then given to Malays who are less qualified, less competent but have the ‘kulit-ifications’.
When compared to the Malays, there is absolutely no career planning for non-Malays and thus stifling their promotion prospects which is further acerbated by the self imposed quota system. This pathetic situation obviously doesn’t augur well for potential candidates to join the MAF. The non-Malays are made to feel that they are there merely as gap-fillers despite their earnest portrayal of professionalism, loyalty and patriotism.
Unfortunately, many of our politicians like Zahid Hamidi, are either too inexperienced or simply too naive to understand the frustration and agony of highly devoted non-Malays who had served and are still serving our beloved nation. You should wake up and spend time amongst service personnel to see the mutual respect and camaraderie that exists regardless of race, creed and colour! You and your Cabinet counterparts, in consultation with the Service Chiefs, should devote your time to address the root cause for this long overdue predicament of the Non-Malays.
By the way, this was never the case in the 60s and 70s. Another product of BTN and Dr Mahathir’s style of helping the handicapped Malays to stay on top despite the odds and the non-Malays are again made scapegoats.

An Officer and Gentleman.