08 Februari 2011

A Discussion On The Malay Special Position In Malaysia

This is an excerp of a Facebook disscussion on the matter above. I am publishing it so that the contents can be shared and analyzed by others. In no way, it is to intended to create any social controversy. This is a sensitive issue, hence, care should be taken. This discussion is aimed to make people understand more about the Special Position of the Malays in Malaysia, from an objective point of view.


Azree Ariffin Yup, benar. Tidak ada pihak yang mengatakan perkara demikian. Hairan perkara ini boleh jadi isu.

Azlin Ahmad So what's all this with Bumi and Malay rights ... obviously unIslamic, but those who benefit don't want to admit it ...

Azree Ariffin There is no such thing as Malay Rights. The constitution only provides the special position of the Malays/Bumiputras as the first settlers that build a sovereign government.
Putting it in a positive way, it is an implied way to protect Islam and it's interest as Malays should be Muslims as enshrined under the Federal Constitution. The stability of the Malays in Malaysia is the foundation of the Muslims' in this region.

Azlin Ahmad I follow the reasoning, but unfortunately those same rights are not extended to non Malay Muslims. It's quite sad to see the double standards. Don't want to create a controversy, but that's just the way things are.

Azree Ariffin That is truly a sad thing. But, as it seems, the definition of Malays in the Federal Constitution is rather loose to the extend that anyone can be considered as a Malay as long as they are a Muslim, habitually speaks Malay, and practice the Malay culture.
I guess I have no problem with 3 of the conditions. Speaks Malay; fine, every Malaysian must speak Malay. Practice Malay culture; this is still very vague. Even Malays don't practice it that much.
Probably if an example of the double standards can be adduced, we can analyze the root of the problem. For me, we can't change the law (well, not individually), but we can take a positive approach to it, for the betterment of our ummah.

Azlin Ahmad Well said, Azree. I have benefited from Bumi rights etc ... the policies have worked for me ... but I'm feeling quite guilty cos I don't agree with them on principle. Double standards at work again!

Azree Ariffin I agree. We do have benefited from the special position of the Malays. That is what has been fought by our forefathers to ensure their children's will get their deserved rights, as an exchange for citizenship granted to the non-Malays.
As I see it, granting citizenship to the Non-Malays is a very big sacrifice that is made by them, on the name of humanity. Why I'm naming it as a big "sacrifice", because eventually, it will effect the population of Muslims, and the status of Islam in Malaysia.
Not that I am complaining, we welcome our Non-Malay friends. They are once once our guess, and the we invite them to become apart of our family.
But, in defending the spirit of Islam in Malaysia, Malays do have a bigger interest in question. This is the only place we call home. This land is where the whole of our blood splash from. If we loose it, we can't go anywhere.
Plus, the Malays being a very generous and tolerant race; there are times that we become a little bit too tolerant. Giving all of the piece of the cake, until we forget to reserve some for our children. For me, the Special Positions is not a protection for the Malays, but against the Malays - from their social-logically culture.
Just some of my thoughts. :)

Azlin Ahmad I know. It's tough. Yes, tanah tumpah darah kita, our forefather fought to defend this country. But that was generations ago. The current generation of non Malays who have been born here don't have a choice, Malaysia is their only home. I agree, Malays are accommodating, pasal tu in many instances, memang sampai kena pijak kepala. When we speak to Chinese or Indians, we are the ones adopting their loghat, not the other way round!!! And I can't say I'm too impressed by the lack of effort made by the 2nd - 3rd generation to assimilate ... many of them think that BM is a second class language and have not even bothered to learn it properly.
I am also mindful at what happened to Singapore - Malays are now the 10% minority, and generally consigned to office boy and tea lady duties. I don't want that to happen in Malaysia, but we can't go the other extreme either. Defending Islam is a beautiful thing, because if applied correctly, Islam can ensure harmony between Muslims and non Muslims, whatever the race. But therein lies the problem. Islam=Melayu, it's hard to separate between the religion, the culture and the history. It's not just one issue, but so many.

Azree Ariffin There it is. This is not only a legal problem, but goes beyond that. It started out as a sociologically problem that then turned out to be somewhat political. There many layers of it if we were to study it thoroughly.
As what you said, yeah it is a general presumption in Malaysia that Islam = Melayu, which is obviously wrong. A Malay must be constitutionally Muslim, and a Muslim does not necessarily must be a Malay.
I also agree, that the attitude of the 2nd-3rd generation of Non-Malays doesn't help either. We haven't attain a successful assimilation of culture like what has been achieved in Indonesia or Thailand. Why does this happen? Why after 50 years of independence, some of our Non-Malay friends have yet to even speak in a proper Malay Language?
In my opinion, the major influence of this problem is due to our education system. Could you imagine, we have separated our children to different vernacular schools since they are young. Why should there be 3 different school streams, when we are living in 1 country? Couldn't we just set up one stream school, and teach everything including mother tongue languages under one roof? Again, who's demand is this? I bet you can answer that.
My point is that, we can withdraw the Special Position of Bumiputras, to provide similar opportunities for Malaysians of all races. But are we still ready for that, looking at our low percentage of assimilation and integration? How are we going to give equal rights if we among ourselves still do not know how to respect other people's culture and way of life. In fact, the 30% Bumiputras equities are not met yet.
In alternative, will the attempt to withdraw the rights be successful in the Parliament? It is there for a reason, either historically, or practically, whatever reason it maybe.

For me, the root of the problem is not the law (as yet), but the mindset of our people. We change that, and the law may follow suit. The question is; how do we do that?




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