Malay Nationalism versus Malaysian Nationalism

By batsman 

Apparently the PR lost Tenang to Malay nationalism, Johore after all being the birth place of Malay nationalism. What then are the consequences for both BN and PR and by extension for the whole of Malaysia?

The BN has tacitly acknowledged that Malaysia must become a full nation with its One Malaysia advertising campaign. This campaign has worked well in Johore, but the consequence is a strengthening of Malay nationalism – not quite what the 1 Malaysia advertising campaign intends but very much what UMNO intends. 

The intentions of UMNO therefore seem to be at odds with the 1 Malaysia campaign, but with this contradiction will Malaysia therefore be doomed never to be a complete and full nation, enjoying the benefits of 100% nationhood instead of domination by just Malay nationalism and Ketuanan Melayu? 

PKR’s Ketuanan Rakyat slogan does not seem to be able to get off the ground. The reasons for this is still unclear, but I suspect it is because in spite of the slogan, the rakyat still do not feel very much empowered and prefer instead to retreat back into the security of their respective communities. 

The gulf between the middle class leadership of the reform movement and the masses of poor and marginalized need to be closed in order that Malaysia can progress from being a nation dominated by Malay nationalism to full nationhood comprising citizens with full equal rights and mutual respect. 

This is where the concept of full equal rights come into play. Are full equal rights just equality of legal rights between the races or real practical rights without any discrimination as per service provided by an impartial and neutral public service and government institutions? Are full equal rights just equal rights between the races or between classes? OR are equal rights dependant on the prejudices and bias of the public service and government institutions? 

Obviously full equal rights between races do not involve economic disparities between rich and poor since all races have both rich and poor. But full equal rights between classes assume equality of economic rights as well. This means that the gap between rich and poor regardless of race must be bridged. This means that the poor must be empowered and must be upgraded in skills and maturity so that they are respected and deserving of being empowered. 

PAS in contrast has embraced the universality of Islam. This is the intention and the target. The achievements and the practical results however are less than this and PAS apparently has only achieved the support and respect of the less chauvinistically inclined and less bigoted non-Muslims. A great number of bigots of the nationalistic kind as well as the funny liberal kind of all races still remain suspicious of PAS. 

The reasons for this is also still unclear and may have something to do with the medieval roots of Islam. This contrasts with the universality of its appeal, so PAS’s message also has difficulties of coincidence suffering misunderstanding and pre-conception especially from fanatical funny liberals and fanatical nationalists. 

I have promised to keep what I write short and sweet, so let me just jump to the idea that Johore being the hotbed of Malay nationalism is no coincidence. It is next to Singapore. The contrast between cosmopolitan Chinese dominated Singapore and the Malay rural character is most acute in Johore. In fact one could also say that there is an element of Ketuanan Johore involved in the confusing journey of Malaysia towards full nationhood. 

It is generally understood that Malay workers forced to work in Singapore because of lack of opportunities in Malaysia mostly hail from Kelantan, not from Johore in spite of Johore’s proximity to Singapore. This means UMNO’s message that Malays will be swallowed up by the aggressive Chinese rings closer to the truth in Johore than anywhere else in Malaysia. There is it appears a natural resistance in Johore against full Malaysian nationhood. What do you guys think?