Zaid: Indoctrination in schools has led to rigid Malay minds


PETALING JAYA: If the Malays of today resist attempts to liberate their minds, they will continue in a downward spiral of being fascinated by the violence and destruction of Islamic State teachings rather than becoming successful like their non-Malay peers.

Commenting on the present crop of Malays that were rigid and less moderate in their thinking, former minister Zaid Ibrahim blamed it on the indoctrination they receive in the country’s schools and universities today that he said focussed more on politics and religion rather than on promoting the skills of reading, writing and thinking.

He made these comments in his column in The Star today entitled “Liberating the Malay mind”.

He lamented that the culture of having an intellectual and pluralistic approach to understanding the world, including religious tenets, had not taken root in Malaysia, and was in fact frowned upon and considered blasphemous. “The state’s monopoly and control of religion is absolute.”

He said this had resulted in an angry, less tolerant and less moderate generation of young Malays as evidenced by the comments they often left online when discussing any topic even slightly controversial in nature.

“They hurl abuse and make personal comments that have nothing to do with the subject matter in question. Extremism in their thinking is clearly visible.

“They always see problems as if Islam and the Malays are under constant attack.”

Zaid said these attributes did not only threaten the country’s peace and stability but were detrimental to the wellbeing of the Malays themselves.

He said that while the “enemies” of the Malays, i.e. Chinese, Jews and the West in general, achieved success academically, economically and in science and technology, the Malays would continue in a downward spiral, “fascinated with ideas of violence and destruction, like the Islamic State teachings”.

“They will continue to adopt a rigid mindset, which will make living in a multicultural 21st century setting more difficult. They can continue to listen to preachers and motivational speakers about how to defend their rights; but they will continue to be irrelevant because they will not be successful or dominant over things that matter.”

He said he was concerned the frustrations the Malays had over their own irrelevance would push them further toward terror groups like the IS, who were willing to blow themselves up out of their sense of “helplessness, despair and alienation”.

He appealed to young Malays to read the book by Dr Bakri Musa entitled “LIBERATING the Malay Mind” and attend the forum “Merdekakan Minda Melayu” officiated by former minister Rafidah Aziz, so they could learn how to be more resourceful and successful.

“One thing’s for sure though: they can only do that if they are prepared to liberate their minds from the toxic influences of the present.”