The real Malay dilemma

Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysiakini

The Malay dilemma affects the future of all Malaysians.

How is this for a mega dilemma? After six decades of being told that the DAP and the Chinese are the enemies of the Malays and have made their lives miserable, taken their jobs, and stolen their land, can the Malays honestly claim that the predominantly Malay (97 percent) Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration, has managed to raise their standard of living over this past year?

Who does the Malay blame? There is no DAP in the government now. Or should they blame the few token pro-PN Chinese for the mess this country is in?

Ebit Lew outperformed Jakim and the Water Board. He provided water and fed thousands of starving Malaysians. You don’t have to be a Chinese convert to display acts of kindness.

DAP’s Teresa Kok helped a former MAS stewardess with food and money. She has now been inundated with job offers after Kok publicised her plight. Weren’t Malaysians warned by Umno-Baru, PAS and PN, that the Chinese and DAP are our enemies?

Up north, the Mentri Besar of Kedah Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor wanted to show his power and punish the people of Penang by warning that he would divert Sungei Muda. The Chinese appear to show more compassion than some Malay leaders.

There is another perplexing dilemma. Some Malays want to expel the Chinese from Malaysia because they claim that the Chinese refuse to assimilate into Malaysian society. So, how does one explain the huge numbers of Malays who think they are Arabs?

For the past five decades, Umno (the original party), Umno-Baru, PAS and now PN, have corrupted our morals – Malays and non-Malays.

Malay politicians in 21st Century Malaysia have unimaginable power and control. They are also in charge of huge amounts of money and the potent combination of all three is like a junkie in ganja heaven.

The all-powerful Malay is so full of himself that he thinks anyone who disagrees with him poses a problem. So what does he do?

Instead of allowing a debate on the issues, he passes new laws to curb dissent, like the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No 2) Ordinance 2021. Those found guilty of spreading “fake news” via writing, videos, audio recordings or any other forms that may convey “words or ideas” may be fined RM100,000 or sentenced to three years in jail.

These dictatorial Malays probably wish they were back in the middle ages, when anyone who criticised them could have been banished from the district, executed, or divested of his property and assets, and the members of his family could be enslaved.

Then, there is the dilemma of having daughters. Malay parents want their children to have an education because they and their forefathers have seen how poverty wrecked their lives; but when their daughters are motivated to go abroad or embark on a career which the parents do not consider normal, some parents end up regretting sending their daughters to school.

They claim that education has made their daughters independent and they see this as a bad thing. Instead of advancing their careers overseas, some parents would prefer that their daughters enter the civil service, or become teachers or stay in a local job.

The Malay is quick to criticise the founder of Sugarbook, a sugar daddy dating platform, but many keep quiet about perempuan simpanan – a term for kept women of rich older Malay men. A friend said that one does not need an app to become a sugar baby because 20 years ago, some of her course mates at a local public university would source their sugar daddy by going clubbing. The perempuan simpanan were given cars, lived in nice apartments and enjoyed foreign holidays. They also owned luxury accessories for services rendered.

The Malay woman who is a politician faces several dilemmas. Does she uphold the rights of the ordinary woman and child, or does she become a yes-man to her male peers, to maintain her popularity?

Take for example, the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Rina Harun.

Rina claimed that the PN government was committed to addressing the problem of child marriages. What actually has she done over the past year about banning child marriages? What policy changes did she initiate? She merely pays lip service to the banning of child marriages.

Has Rina addressed the suffering of many Malay single mothers, who were failed by the syariah courts, and were unable to get a settlement from their husbands, after the men had abandoned them for younger women? The syariah courts do not treat the problem of single mothers as a priority.

Will Rina also address the ease with which Malay men can enter into a polygamous relationship? On Feb 22, Mukhriz Mahathir criticised a government website that encouraged Muslim men who had an “incredible sense of sexual desire” to have multiple wives. After his criticism, the remarks vanished from the website.

Is PN promoting polygamy for the wrong reason? What is Rina’s take on this? Will she dare confront her PAS counterparts or tell Muslim men the conditions attached to polygamy?

This is the dilemma faced by many Muslim women. They suffer because of the inaction of Malay women politicians to address their problems.

On the other hand, the non-Malay politician’s dilemma is that if he were to criticise child marriages, which affect the Malay Muslim community more than the other communities, he would be accused of insulting Islam.

The Malay has many dilemmas and most of them are not of his own making. Most of his dilemmas are a consequence of the politicians who have manipulated his life with the three Rs (race, religion and royalty).

The Malay has a choice. Either he learns to separate the rice from the husk, and recognise the selfish motives of these ugly politicians. Or, he can be led by the nose, because it is far simpler to allow someone else to think and decide for him. Our lives are determined by the path the Malay takes.

The Malay dilemma affects the future of all Malaysians.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).