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.
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.