Growing Discontent Across Malay Society – Analysis

The Malay polity who are ruling the country are apathetic to rising poverty, a financially stressed middle class, and economic malaise within rural heartlands. Keluarga Malaysia, the NEP, Ketuanan Melayu, and dividing society racially, are useless narratives when people need economic assistance to survive.

Murray Hunter, Eurasia Review

The Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s declaration during the opening of The Johor State Parliament, declared Johor may choose to secede from Malaysia if the federal government fails to fulfil its rights as written within the Federation of Malaya Agreement.

This statement has a number of layers of meaning.

Outwardly, this is a demand for more funding. The Sultan is claiming Johor has been neglected and this needs to change. Deeper down, there is a message concerning disenchantment between a state and the federal government. At an even deeper level, the message indicates friction between different groups within the Malay polity.

This is already beginning to have a ripple effect across other peninsula states.

The Malay-centric parties have neglected their support base 

The federal government has taken the Malay population for granted. It has failed to look after the very stakeholders which are keeping it in power.

Malay society expected the Malay-centric government coalition would staunchly defend Malay rights, the monarch, and Islam.

Malays (and the rest of Keluarga Malaysia) are suffering from the effects of rising prices, diminishing spending power, and food shortages. Incomes are not keeping pace with living expenses, where families are slipping into poverty in large numbers. This is hardly spoken about by cabinet level leaders, who appear oblivious to the Rakyat’s or peoples’ plight. The negative symbolism of prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob wearing a RM 5,000 Burberry shirt sparked outrage from his insensitivity.

The PAS leadership has clearly shown disrespect for the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. PAS Selangor Commissioner Ahmad Yunus Hairi even lied about what was discussed, receiving a Royal rebuke, after being summoned to the Istana by Sultan Sharafuddin.

Nowhere have Malaysia’s Malay leaders stood up in support of the monarch.

Islam has been made a sham with JAKIM long denying breaches in halal protocols in Australia, rendering much of Malaysia’s meat supply non-halal and even haram. Politicians and Islamic leaders have been silent on the issue of halal integrity, a major pillar of Islam, except for the Mufti of Negri Sembilan, Mohd Yusof Ahmad.

The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM), along with Pekemas and Sahabat 99, brought the above issue to public attention, due to the apathy and lack of willingness of JAKIM to act.

Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) veterans, usually very closely aligned with UMNO and the monarchy, have been very critical of the government over the last couple of months because of lack of rising cost of living assistance. This spilled over to criticism of corruption within the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), where some veterans even called for the formation of a new political party.

The veterans threatened to call a protest march on the birthday of the Agong or king, on 6th June. This forced the defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein to intervene by offering concessions and assistance to satisfy the group.

A Malay NGO, Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) complained about state sponsored discrimination against ethnic minorities of different faiths through laws and fatwas, which project institutional intolerance.

KMU further complained politicians and state officials have given tacit approval to vigilante groups to enforce compliance by Muslims to shariah laws, in an extrajudicial manner. Organizations like Skuad Badar in Kedah would raid budget hotels looking for Muslim couples who are committing Khalwat, without any legal authority.

Growing criticism from the Malay community

Ever since the ‘white flag movement’ that was quickly suppressed by authorities last year, there has been growing criticism the Malay-centric parties governing the country are not the protecting Bumiputeras. Many are scorning government hypocrisy through social media.

Pictures in the media of former prime minister Najib Razak as a guest of the king at the Istana, led to outcries that Najib, who has been sentenced to a jail term, is exempted from serving his time immediately because of his special privilege.

The hypocrisy of giving Najib a stay of sentence is considered unfair as many citizens are jailed on much lessor convictions, not being treated the same under the law as Najib. The failure to immediately jail Najib and allow him to make his appeal from prison has allowed him to make destabilizing power plays within UMNO.

The Najib situation is symbolic of the loss of ethics in society.

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