I forecast that by 2029 both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat would no longer exist. Both would have imploded or disintegrated by then. The Constitutional Monarchy would still exist but it would be a greatly watered-down version of the Constitutional Monarchy we see today. The Rulers would by then be mere figureheads.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

When I talk about Malaysian politics I always break it down into 30-year segments — 1909, 1939, 1969 and 1999. Actually I do not really have any good reason for doing this other than it looks good when I can show a 30-year pattern or cycle. After all, most things have a pattern or work in cycles, especially the ups and downs of the economy or the stock market.

Anyway, 1909 was the time when the British focused on preparing the Malay states for independence. Earlier, the British had introduced English public school education to Malayans, in particular to the Malay sons of the elite. They even set up an elite school for that purpose, the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCCK), which was set up after consultation with and the approval of four of the Federated Malay States Rulers — Sultan Ahmad of Pahang, Sultan Idris of Perak, Sultan Sulaiman of Selangor and Yang di-Pertuan Besar Mohd Shah of Negeri Sembilan.

My grandfather was one of the beneficiaries of that education, as were many of the sons and family members of the Rulers at that time. My father and all my uncles also went to MCKK followed by me in 1963. I have, of course, written about this subject many times before so I am not going to go into too many details here. Suffice to say that the purpose was to mould the Malays into ‘Brown Englishmen’.

Now, why did the British do this? Well, the British knew that one day they would have to go home so they might as well educated and train the Malays on how to run the country when they finally needed to go home and hand the country over to the locals. Of course, at that time, the British never thought that an independent Malaya would not be just a Malay Malaya but a Malaya of Malays, Chinese and Indians.

By 1920, the British realised that Malaya was no longer a Malay Malaya because since the mid-1800s so many Chinese and Indians had come into the country. So, in 1920, the British stopped the immigration of Chinese and Indians. The Chinese and Indians over those less than 100 years had shot up to about 30% or so of the country’s population and this would become a problem later if there was no control regarding immigration.

In 1939, World War II broke out and in 1941 the Japanese arrived on Malaya’s shores. Some Malay nationalists actually supported the Japanese because they saw the Japanese as the liberators. The Japanese were liberating Malaya from British colonialism. Those Malays seen as pro-British suffered, though, my grandfather being one of them.

My grandfather was just seconds away from being beheaded at what is now called Carcosa Seri Negara when the Sultan of Selangor arrived and went down on his knees and begged the Japanese to pardon my grandfather. This shocked the Japanese because Rulers were considered almost like Gods and for a Sultan to go down on his knees took the Japanese aback.

Anyway, my grandfather was spared and in 1949 he became the Second (and Fourth) Menteri Besar of Selangor. He took over from Hamzah Abdullah who was the First Menteri Besar, but for only a few months. When Malaya got its independence from Britain in 1957, my grandfather was appointed the First Governor of Penang.

At that time, the Menteri Besar was an administrative post, not a political post, so my grandfather was not an Umno member although he was very close to Tunku Abdul Rahman (the Prime Minister) and Tun Abdul Razak Hussein (the Deputy Prime Minister). Let it be placed on record that my grandfather and father never became Umno members. In fact, in 1969, my father voted for Gerakan, at that time an opposition party — and he was proud of it and told everyone who cared to listen.

Now, I have not even started talking about what I want to talk about today. Thus far this is only the preamble or mukadimah. But then you know how cheong hei I can be. My foreplay can take longer than…well, you know what I mean. Anyway, let me now come to the point I wish to make.

In 1909, the British were seriously educating the Malays so that some time in the future they could take over the administration of the country. Soon after that, the British stopped the immigration of Chinese and Indians because if this continued the Malays would be outnumbered and reduced to a minority.

In 1939, war broke out and soon after that the Japanese arrived to ‘liberate’ the country. Many Malay nationalists supported the Japanese (and were later killed by the Chinese Bintang Tiga in the two weeks after the Japanese surrendered, one of my uncles being one of them). This started giving the Malays ideas of independence or Merdeka (ideas the Japanese had planted in their heads).

The rest I am sure you have read in your school history books — Merdeka in 1957, the creation of Malaysia in 1963, and so on. Then we come to 1969 when the country was rocked by race riots, the third segment of my 30-year cycle.

Let us not talk about 1969 too much because we have talked about it too many times and I have written numerous articles about this black period in Malaysian history. Suffice to say that this was when Malaysians ‘realised’ that they are not Malaysians but Malays, Chinese, Indians and ‘others’. That was when Malaysian politics became driven or divided by race and was no longer about a common perjuangan or struggle for Merdeka or self-rule.

Then Barisan Nasional was formed and for a while some sort of ‘unity’ prevailed after the opposition and the ruling government formed a coalition. No doubt it was not real ‘unity’ but more like ‘tolerance’ to avoid any further racial strife. And Malaysia also had a detention without trial law called the Internal Security Act (ISA) where those who raise ‘sensitive’ matters (whatever that may mean) are detained. Hence the ISA was no longer just a law to combat Communist Terrorism but can and was used against anyone, even non-Communists, who threatened the peace and stability of the country, real plus imagined.

And now we come to 1999, the final segment of my 30-year political cycle. And this was when Malaysians finally rose up, starting with the Malays in 1999 followed, nine years later, by the non-Malays in 2008. Yes, the non-Malays continued sleeping for another nine years before waking up — and as the non-Malays say, we must blame Umno and the mainstream media for this. ‘They’ kept the non-Malays sleeping until 2008.

Okay, assuming my 30-year cycles are correct — 1909, 1939, 1969, and 1999. So the next and fifth 30-year cycle would be 2029, nine years after Wawasan 2020 when Malaysia is supposed to be a fully developed nation. What are we going to see in 2029, 15 years from now?

If I am still alive in 2029, I would be 79 by then. Chances are I might be gone before then but for those of you who may still be alive in 2029 I just ask one thing from you. Please remember this article and write something in 2029 about what I am saying today.

I forecast that by 2029 both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat would no longer exist. Both would have imploded or disintegrated by then. The Constitutional Monarchy would still exist but it would be a greatly watered-down version of the Constitutional Monarchy we see today. The Rulers would by then be mere figureheads.

Malaysia would no longer be politically divided by ideology or race like now. It would be divided into liberals and conservatives. And the liberals and conservatives would be further divided into religious liberals/conservatives with some Muslims in support of an Islamic system of government and some opposed to it. But the conservative Muslims would be a very small minority with the majority Muslims being liberals.

The main concern of most Malaysians in 2029 would be the economy and not about race, language or religion, like now. Hence Malaysians would be divided into the haves and the haves-not. There will be great resentment against the rich, especially those rich Malays, Chinese, Indians, and ‘others’ who got rich through nepotism, cronyism, monopolies, abuse of power, corruption, and whatnot.

Those who got rich the wrong way would be regarded as the pariahs of Malaysian society and will be seen as the enemies of the people and traitors to the country. Hence it will not be politics or the MACC or strict government action that will eliminate or reduce nepotism, cronyism, monopolies, abuse of power, corruption, etc., but the pressure from society that takes the fun out of being crooked.

There will be less emphasis on Tamil/Chinese schools and education. This will no longer be a political issue because the type of education you choose will be up to you. Most Malaysians, however, will choose an English-based education, which will help them in their careers in what would by then be a very globalised and borderless world.

Many Malaysians, Malays included, will choose Mandarin as their second or third language because China would by then be the new economic power and those who speak Mandarin would be better placed in the job market. Mandarin may even be part of Malaysia’s education system as the government realises that Malays who do not speak Mandarin may lose out in the job market, especially in the private sector.

Basically, it will be a changing world and changing values within Malaysia that will shape the country in 2029. Legislation cannot determine how people behave and what values people adopt. Peer pressure or pressure from society can.

You will not smoke in a restaurant not because the law says so but because you will be considered a pariah if you do. You will not throw rubbish out of your car window not because it is the law but because you will be seen as an idiot if you do. You will not make racist statements not out of fear of getting arrested but because everyone will look at you as if you are an imbecile if you do. And you will not be a religious nut and try to impose your religious values on others because you will be considered a lunatic if you do.

And so on and so forth for all the other issues as well. Malaysians will change not because the politicians say so. Malaysians will change because they will be too ashamed of what people will think about them if they do not. Peer pressure is a very powerful thing. And peer pressure is what will decide how Malaysians behave in 2029.

Today, you need to scold Malaysians who park their cars in parking bays meant for the handicapped. And even when you do scold them they do not understand why you are scolding them and will look at you as if you are mad. In the UK, only an idiot will park his/her car in parking bays meant for the handicapped. You just do not do these kinds of things in the UK. In 2029, 15 years from now, Malaysians will automatically not park in parking bays meant for the handicapped because you just do not do that kind of thing in Malaysia by then.

That will be the Malaysia of 2029. And if I am still around and if I am wrong feel free to send me a message telling me that I was wrong back in 2014.