Monday, April 14, 2008

UMNO's Raison d'etre

No mention of "Ketuanan Melayu" was heard during the period leading to 8th March. Maybe then, it was necessary not to frighten off the already frightened non-Malay voters.

But in the last few days from the Kelantan Prince to UMNO leaders the loud wailing of a perceived threat to "Ketuanan Melayu" is repeated. Threat to the Malay agenda. Malays to remain the privileged community into perpertuity. UMNO the protector of the Malay hegemony and the ones to ensure Malays dominate the political and administrative sphere of the country.

But Malays, all Malays, should remember, the Ketuanan Melayu emotion is one that can only be usurped and sensed in an environment where non-Malays also exist making a claim to the very space Malays exist in. Fair enough, Malays find themselves having to "share their space" with those who don't look like Malays. The obvious ones here will of course be the Chinese and the Indians.

But really, is it this sharing of space with others the real bone of contention?

I don't think so. Malays have been "sharing " with the Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the English for several hundred years already. Despite that it is only the religion that was brought over by the Indians that they let themselves to be consumed by. And that religion, Islam, now in fact defines for the Malay, their race even.

"Ketuanan Melayu" as the words conjure is not something that was even thought of in its present context, when we achieved Merdeka. Sure there was the privilege accorded by the constitution to the Malay race. But from a strict reading of it, it would be seen that it suggests that the privileges were something that was bargained for, then enforced upon. It was privileges that the MIC and MCA representatives felt necessary to accede to and grant as a need may have been identified and acknowledged. The privileges were not something that were imposed upon as any attempts to have them imposed upon may have led to delays in gaining independence. I cannot somehow see where in those times "Ketuanan Melayu" was usurped or in operation in gaining for the Malays their special privileges.

Perceived Threat Necessary to Sustain Pointless Leadership

One has to wonder, why then "Ketuanan Melayu" is being propagated and now being showered on the Malays?

"Ketuanan Melayu" as a concept means nothing to the ordinary Malay living within a Malay society. If it was a homogeneous race living as a society that governs itself "Ketuanan Melayu' or any attitude of "Ketuanan Melayu" would be redundant. That would also be the case even if from within them there were two politically opposed parties vying for their support.

But if it is possible to show that there are threats to the Malay from those not of the same race, there may now be a purpose for uniting the Malays.

UMNO party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in calling for Premier Abdullah Badawi to vacate his position immediately attributes it to " it can eventually lead to disaster for the Malays and Umno,” . Yes UMNO maybe, but how so, the Malays? Wonder how the Malays survived hundreds of years before UMNO came to being in 1946! Muhiddin is certainly rubbishing all the Malays and their leadership before 1946.

"Muhyiddin said the election results showed the domination of Malay politics through Umno which was long regarded as beyond challenge had become a myth"

But why the need for domination? Why on earth should the Malays dominate the political landscape in Malaysia? Cannot they trust fellow Malaysians to do the necessary to ensure all Malaysians benefit and have equal opportunities under the Malaysian sun? Why is there the need for UMNO to continue spreading the religion of suspicion and hate of the other races? Why does UMNO operate on the premise that its constituents need protection? Protection from whom?

Has there not been enough evidence to show that the Malays indeed need protection? But the protection they need is from UMNO and its leaders themselves more than anyone else. But very cleverly they have bluffed the Malays into believing that the Chinese and the other non-Malays who are out to dominate them and, therefore, UMNO is best equipped to protect them.

They use words like betrayal and traitors to label any Malay who may not jive with their cause. So that voting for DAP was equated by many as eating pork. But this failed this time around. The bluff is obviously not working. Many Malays, both urban and rural have called the UMNO bluff of the non-Malay demon.

In trying to resuscitate UMNO and gaining back the Malay support Mingguan Melayu and other Malay presses are going to town with the "Ketuanan Melayu" reminder. As Raja Petra put it, amongst the royalty there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of them. All you need is one bad apple from amongst them to once again talk of Ketuanan Melayu and the Malay presses and the MSM will make it sound like as if the entire royalty is asking for it.

Next will, I suppose, be Islam that will be brought into the fray when "Ketuanan Melayu" stops being effective.

Yes "Ketuanan Melayu" is needed. UMNO needs it desperately. The Malays don't. Take away "Ketuanan Melayu" and UMNO finds itself, by their very admission, redundant. There will be no role to play for them.

The GE 2008 has not robbed the Malays of anything. But it certainly has robbed off many rent seekers amongst the UMNOPutras their gravy train. The Malays at large have no access to this gravy train. Obviously all who have tasted the wonders of the gravy train want it continued for the benefit of their generation and the next. Well, at least that is what they say, when what they mean is themselves and their families.

The question is who amongst the Malays will stand up and put a stop to the reference to "Ketuanan Melayu" and whatever that represents? Anwar Ibrahim has referenced the benefits intended by "Ketuanan Melayu" as extending to the rakyat. Maybe he still finds in "Ketuanan Melayu" an assurance to leadership and power even though he may not be in UMNO.



At April 26, 2008 at 11:24 PM, Blogger kinfook said...

Such an extensive analysis of the concept.

At May 2, 2008 at 12:08 AM, Anonymous Justin Choo said...

Hey Old Fart,

Good on you on your comment on Tun's blog. His blog is providing "good advert" for the "obscure bloggers". Did you notice one comment was deleted? Hope you have read that before the deletion. I did. No profanity except direct confrontation on Tun's record. As for me my comment, if care to know :
Tun Che Det,
Aiyoh, I thought blogging was just for us lallang by the filthy drains! I don't think you have the time to read and filter the hundreds of comments that come your way. You must have assistants to do this job. I don't think this Blogger Blog programme can handle the volume of traffic that Tun will attract in another few days. I thought Blogger was just for people like me walking the streets with T-shirt and shorts hoping to make a few US$ through Adsense!
Welcome to blogosphere, Tun!
May 1, 2008 3:45 PM

I am a newbee @

At May 12, 2008 at 9:45 PM, Blogger 20 Cent said...

Nice points, as usual OldFart. Man, it's been some time since I last come in here, and it's good to see that you've been putting your two cents in with your usual flair.

While there is much debate about Ketuanan Melayu, but much of that debate revolves around its effects on other races, rather than on the Malays.

Personally, Ketuanan Melayu as propagated is a self destructive concept that should be done away with.

Indeed, many of my Malay friends believe that the long term effects of this concept would be to regress the Malays, rather than to protect them.

An excellent example would be the automobile farce that is Proton. Like the Malays, it is protected, and as such has been ineffective in competing within the nation, much less outside it.

If UMNO truly wishes to champion the rights of the Malays, they should not do so by limiting the Malays to shallow concepts, but by expanding their ability to compete on a level playing field in the global market.

At May 16, 2008 at 12:24 PM, Blogger anaifaNIM said...

interesting tot frm u.. but correction, islam was not brough by the indians, but traders who came to melaka ie the arabs (who of course islam), the indians(some islam n some hindus), the chinese ..who came to Melaka.. the Sultan long before practice the indian's culture actually, but when the traders came n preach about islam, so they decided to embrace n so.. u can read the history book.. so till now we malays r islam n tt's y our constitution provides it wrong w u??

but, i agree on ur opinion bout the issue of 'ketuanan melayu'..4 me tis shul not b an isu .. we multiracial country, so wen this issu is raised by those stupid politician, then another issue will rise from many people.. me as a malay i belive tt tis privillg shul be maintained coz whethe u lik it or not this is the land where my greatgreatgreatgrandpasss were borned since the era of Kesultanan Melaka.. i rili hope u understand.. 4 me tis isu s raised only 4 political purpose..

but i always have respect to chinese n indians.. u know how muc i hate it when my frenz say dia cina or dia india..we'r malaysian..yup u mb don like the word bumiputra kuota, but this is somthin we nid to preserve.. it's truem somtimes i tot to mself y do we nid it? aren't we shul be ashamed to u guyz cos still berjaya even w/o it?? but i realize tt some malays are still in nid of it.. but sadly those above have misused it..but i beliv other races also do not face any prob with tt.. we do not mind u being long as u respect us.. luk in Bosnia, the Serbs killed the bosnians coz the bosnians were more successful n rich.. here, tou we know tt most of the chinese people r rich we stil can accep it, y? coz we respect u!

equality does not always mean justice u know?? put urself in our shoes.. we came to china, we'r more succesful, then we want the same treatment.. wul u give?? i rili hate to say somthin bout racial isu.. but wen i read bout ur comment..

walau apapun, seronok baca blog anda.. harap anda x kisah.. apapun, isu ketuanan melayu memang tidak patut diperbesarkan dan diperkatakan dengan lantang di tv atau di suratkhabar..

At May 16, 2008 at 12:33 PM, Blogger Old Fart said...


Thanks for your comments. I stand corrected if Arabs traders introduced Islam. But that really does not matter now. The question I pose is really "Ketuanan Melayu", who needs it more? The Malays generally or UMNO?

At May 16, 2008 at 7:16 PM, Blogger rhazen959 said...

Dear old fart,
I do respect your views, and perhaps, "ketuanan melayu" has been misused by some. But still, as anaifanim said, some do still need it (not the corrupted ones of course).

Not being a racist, but one question i have been wondering...some of the job opportunities in the market specifically requires candidates able to converse in cantonese or mandarin. This has limit and "eliminate" chances of other to get the job advertised. why is that so? english as universal language and malay as national toungue aren't good enough? We learn both language from small, yet when comes to job, additional requirement being added up (and certainly the language barrier is not put by other races).

In indirectly way, some have not given fair share ,if equality and justice have been the main issue behind "ketuanan melayu".

and maybe that's why, "ketuanan melayu" or DEB is still needed to protect those who have the talents but not given the opportunities...(bumi or non-bumi)

At May 16, 2008 at 9:37 PM, Blogger Old Fart said...


Sadly "Ketuanan Melayu" presupposes either, an attitude you ought to take for any reason whatsoever because you can or that you actualy believe in the inferiority of yourself but becaue you have political as well as a number advantage you use it to insubordinate everyone who is not of you.

Either way it is far from my personal expereices with the Malays I know and am friends with. they do not need to be a "tuan" because they are mightier than me nor do they need to be tuan so that I can be subservient to them.

Ketuanan is a crutch that you don't need because you can stand on your own without it. Crutches are needed by everyone, if you were to ask me, or no one at all.

At May 16, 2008 at 9:40 PM, Blogger Old Fart said...

As for job opportunities. Well it is sad. But fact of the matter is, when your clients and customers are Chinese you will rather have Chinese speaking people with you. My good friend in New Zealand, a Malaysian Indian, who owns his own Accounting firm only has Chinese employees. I believe all from China as well. Why? Because most of his clients are Chinese. The local western clients he handles himself. That is the reality of it.

At May 17, 2008 at 4:24 PM, Blogger rhazen959 said...

As an individual, I have respect for other race and I can learn a lot from. As well as u, I have also friends from different races which I respect for what they achieved.

I believe this "ketuanan melayu" issue arises when there's too many requests and demands to the current government from organizations which sometimes questioning Malays and bumiputeras.

As for your reply on job market, thank you, but still, I wonder, is majority companies, firms deal with companies from China? Why have not I can see lots of job advertisement put other language as requirement (e.g company dealing with India puts Urdu or Tamil as requirement, or company delaing with Arabs requires arabic)?


At May 17, 2008 at 4:39 PM, Blogger Old Fart said...

With the Chinese the problem with them is they don't seem to think anything about switching from English to Chinese in your presence even though they know you don't understand them. Its frustrating, even in my present organisation my subordinates switch to Chinese so easily and automatically. Well, I put it to, they will never learn. Anyway, I can be critical about the Chinese quite openly and happily and they can't accuse me of being racist as the mother of my two lovely kids is Chinese after all. Not all are like that...but sadly a large majority are like that.

As for employments, fact is a lot of decision makers are Chinese educated and you got to deal with them whether you like it or not. And when it comes to money and business you communicate in the language you are comfortable with. I cannot fault the "Chinese" requirement when spoken or written Chinese is required in the business you operate in. And if you want to work in China, better damn well know Chinese.

As for India, English is what you need. Not Tamil unless you want to be a Tamil actor or movie star. Hey, India has the second largest English speaking population and the economy there is basically English and so is the legal system.

AS for the Arabs, they already speak English in order to deal with the west, so why on earth do you want to learn Arab for when you already know English? I am sure when you go to Saudi for your Umrah, English would be the second language used generally. Not Malay!! sorry!

But really I wouldn't dwell too much on this language issue. Just as water finds its own level whatever the hurdles we all find our own levels too, so be happy with it.

At August 19, 2008 at 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

old fart ar, i think u have been over indirect to our frens here lar

DEB is very good! but if it's apply to ALL the disable or stupid fella of ALL races lar

how can u say some malay still need DEB...then wat abt those equally stupid chinese n indian n bumi ?? they dun need it ke?

u know WHY u got such advertisement say 'chinese only'? bcoz many bosses r chinese! y many bosses r chinese? bcoz lesser malay is boss! y malay not so many boss? bcoz many dun have the boss kualiti. y dun have boss kualiti? bcoz they already got DEB to give them money, y susah susah nak acquire boss kualiti

if u can stand on non-malay shoes, u wont b stuck into tat "V r tuan rumah u r no tuan rumah" thinking

equality ke justice ke who care wat it is, as long as sumua msian sama sama rasa dirinya anak manja msia, bukan long yg selalu dapat kasih mak bongsu yg selalu kena rotan mak


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