Wither Umno and the Malays?
Affirmative policies that favour one race is no longer tenable and given the excesses of the past and the greed of its present leaders, there’s a dire need for a change in the Umno hierarchy
CT Ali, FMT
For the Malays the next few years before the next general election will be a time for reflection. It has been one hell of a ride since Merdeka. May 13, 1969 jolted the Malays out of their malaise.
It was no longer acceptable that they are disadvantaged socially and economically in their own country and Umno took the bull by the horns with the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971.
It came up with affirmative policies that have since coloured Malaysia’s political, racial, social and economic landscape in the hues of the Malays, the Malays and the Malays!
Education was used, without apologies to the purist, as a means to an end – the same end as envisaged by the NEP. Higher education quotas for non-Malays effectively forced many to go overseas.
Like every other government functionaries under Umno’s control, education was skewered to favour the Malays and this Umno did without fear, for political power was theirs to use for that purpose.
After four decades the Malays have achieved honour and dishonour, fame and infamy, greatness and notoriety in almost everything that they have attempted to do for themselves, with or without Umno.
Today the biggest banks, the largest insurance companies, the most diverse of corporate endeavours, the most successful of business undertakings, the most powerful of political organisation, the most astute of politicians and the most dominant of race are all Malays.
The Malays are also the most arrogant, the most corrupt of civil servants, businessmen and politicians, they have the most horrendous of lost and abused business opportunities, the least honest of leaders, the most adept of practitioners at cronyism, nepotism and money politics.
They are committed to the maxim that the ends justify the means, and their use of race and religion to advance their ethnic interest is legendary – fueled no doubt by the abundance of political power at their disposal.
That is the price the Malays have paid for their dominance of all things Malaysians. For some Malays, that price has been bearable but for some, they think it is too much for any race to bear. So wither the Malays today?
The times we now live in no longer tolerate affirmative policies that favour one race. The NEP is no longer tenable simply because the idea of racial superiority (ketuanan Melayu) went out with Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan and Apartheid.
If Umno does not understand this reality, then the fault lies with its leaders. If the Malays do not accept this reality then four decades of the NEP has failed.
Malay parents in the kampungs did not know then the effect of sending their children to college. Now they do. Their college graduate children no longer want to till the land, fish for a living or live in a house without electricity and running water.
And with the change in their children, the change in their parents’ lives have also started and both parents and siblings have to come to terms with the change and adjust accordingly.
If the parents are not for change then the children will wait for the end of their parents’ generation and make the move to the urban areas anyway. In the meantime trips to and fro from kampung to the urban areas are the order of the day.
Not an Umno problem
Umno finds itself in the same position as the parents of these rural children who have been sent to college. Everything has changed and yet Umno does not. While the parents of these children have a limited life span, Umno does not.
And when those that Umno has changed through the NEP and other attendant legislations ask that Umno change with them, Umno will not! So wither Umno’s direction now?
This is just not Umno’s problem. This is a Malay problem and dare I say it…a Malaysian problem. This is a good time for taking stock of what is happening around us.
Today in Malaysia everyone has one vote each. Mahathir has one vote to cast, Najib one, Anwar one, Hadi one and Kit Siang and Karpal Singh also one. Politically we are equal..are we not? What other manner of political equity do we want or can we have other than one vote each?
There have been no violent revolutions to talk of in Malaysia. No coup, no bloody rampage, no terrorising of one race or religion, no complete economic meltdown – the May 13 racial riot is a school boy fight during recess compared to what Indonesia, Thailand and our neighbours have gone through.
We have been different because Umno leaders are of a different ilk from those of our neighbours. Umno leaders prefer to preside and most times take part in and actively encouraged massive corruption in every facet of government and also indulge in money politics.