Dr M Nurtures The System He Uses To Insult The Malays With

“If a man is convinced that he is safe only as long as he uses his power to give others a sense of insecurity, then the measure of their security is in his hands. If security or insecurity is at the mercy of a single individual or group, then control of behaviour becomes routine. All imperialism functions in this way.”― Howard ThurmanSometimes I wonder about the far-right and the Islamists in this country. It must be difficult throwing their support behind someone like the Bersatu grand poobah, all in the hopes of dismantling the Pakatan Harapan coalition

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s latest salvo against the Malay community with a blog post decrying their culture of "tak bekerja” is the kind of post-colonial gobbledygook which was fashionable at one time and passed off as hard truths that some thought the Malay community needed to hear
If a non-Malay had said something like this, the far-right and their proxies would be up in arms. Maybe the young boy minister who leads Bersatu Youth would have made a police report and organisations like Isma (Malaysian Muslim Solidarity) and their factotums would be calling for god-knows-what
Instead, all these defenders of race and religion have to keep quiet while the old maverick continues to play from his greatest hits, which means blaming the community which forms his base and at the same time furthering narratives that there is something wrong with "Malay” culture instead of the system which nurtures such characteristics that he claims to deplore
I mean take this line from the blog post for instance – “Yang tidak dapat dinafi ialah British membawa sistem Pemerintahan yang lebih baik dan Negeri-Negeri mengalami sedikit sebanyak pembangunan.”Really? If Mahathir really believed this, then why didn’t he build on this legacy instead of tearing it down? Why does he continue his anti-Western narratives while supporting religious and racial narratives that enable racist policies which are detrimental to the community he has no problem lecturing when it comes to their economic viability as compared to the non-Malay community
The Malays are not the problem, but rather the racial and religious system that he helped create. Calling the Malays “lazy” and commending the ingenuity and work ethic of “foreigners” is just the kind of reverse psychology which detracts from the systemic failures of the "Malay” system - the system which enables the Malay political structure to continue with their policies and which at the same time makes scapegoats of the non-Malays
Political diatribeMahathir ends his political diatribe with this – “Nasib kita di tangan kita. Memarahi orang lain tak akan menyelesai masalah kita. Bilangan kita dikatakan bertambah. Tetapi jumlah besar orang yang miskin tidak dapat bersaing dengan jumlah kecil orang yang kaya.”Now I want you to think about this. The "jumlah kecil orang yang kaya" is most certainly the non-Malays, most probably the Chinese
If this was really a radical piece of work by a political operative, the “jumlah kecil orang yang kaya” would be the Malay political elite and the plutocrat class - which should be distinguished from the Malay gentry class - that Mahathir created. This kind of rage against the Malay plutocratic machine is the dialectic that is coming from the PSM, specifically Malay members whose work does not get the kind of attention that is needed in this country for obvious reasons. Why
Because we can’t have Malays questioning the economic system which purports to make them “masters” of the land through racial and religious policies, but which in reality maintains a system of serfdom. We can’t have the Malays - especially the much maligned “rural Malays” - questioning the economic success of a specific class of Malay created by a system of patronage which they are told they could be a part of if they are lucky enough to have the right connections
We can’t have the Malays questioning the huge budgets of the religious bureaucracy which they are told is needed to defend the sanctity of Islam and which hampers the entrepreneurial culture of the Malay community through religious edicts and political meddling for the benefit of whichever Malay political structure is in power
We can’t have the Malays questioning the system which encourages them to reject ideas of smaller families but instead encourages them to propagate for religious and racial reasons, and then when their “bilangan bertambah banyak”, they are blamed for not wanting to do jobs which would require a level of time and resource management which they are not even educated on through the education system
We can’t have the Malays questioning why, if their community is under threat, things have not changed after decades of Malay rule and perhaps the appointments of non-Malays into positions of power could be the kind of change that benefits their community, like it did when a colonial power established a system of governance which the old maverick claims had some merit
We can’t have the Malay community separating itself from those public institutions which are deemed “Malay” because to do so, to align with their fellow Malaysians and pass judgement on ineptitude, corruption and declining standards – in other words, to speak as a diverse community – would change the discourse from that of race to that of policy
The ‘ketuanan cudgel’With this blog post, Mahathir is playing victim and aggressor. The Malay community are blamed for their predicament they find themselves in and told not to blame others, while at the same time, the system enables feelings of victimhood and suspicion of the economic motives of the non-Malays
Some Harapan partisans have written to me, reassuring me that things will change when Mahathir steps down. Does anyone really believe this? Which Malay leader has the charisma and the political will to dismantle the system which is used to “oppress” the Malays? This is a system which political leaders like Mahathir conveniently use to lecture the Malay community but at the same continues to enable because it is an easy method to sustain power
Mahathir has lamented that the Malays are lazy, untrustworthy and that he failed to change the culture of the Malays. He has claimed that he has tried to “teach, scolded, cried and even prayed” to change this culture
Now some people may fall for these words. Some people – especially non-Malays who are used to being on the receiving end of the ‘ketuanan’ cudgel – will point to the Malays and think they are receiving some much-needed words of the truth
The truth is that Malay power structures have never ever wanted to reform the system. Instead they have enabled it, nurtured it and made use of it to bamboozle the Malay polity. And when they see the failure of their endeavours, they blame the very community they claim they want to protect
As far as I am concerned, they are a bunch of mendacious thugs, who cannot even accept responsibility for their failures and are in no position to lecture anyone
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan. - Mkini

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