Many pro-government NGOs and politicians who keep talking about uniting the Malays lack political maturity and leadership qualities. They call for such unity by using scare tactics. They talk of a government takeover by non-Malays and invasions by foreign powers, and they decry some Malays’ alleged treachery and ingratitude to institutions like Mara.
The common thread is the emotional blackmail of the Malays. The idea is to make them think that their community is under threat and that it is incumbent upon every Malay to preserve racial unity.
In 2012, at a meeting with the then Deputy PM, Muhyiddin Yassin, some foreign visitors were reported to have praised Malaysia for being an exemplary Muslim country. They apparently were eager to put into practice in their countries what they had seen in Malaysia.
Did these foreigners accept corrupt Muslim leaders who use ingenious methods to cling to power? Were they not told about the teachers who were racist towards their pupils and who warned students not to interact with people of different faiths? Did they not know that our women are treated shabbily?
All became clear when it was revealed that the visitors were from war-torn nations like Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia. By their standards, Malaysia is marvelous. Would they have been as full of praise if they had come from Muslim countries like Indonesia or Turkey?
Before GE13, the film “Tanda Putera” was frequently used as a tool to incite hatred of the Chinese and at the same time frighten the Malays. The screening was restricted to Malay audiences and the message was clear. The viewers were frightened into thinking that an opposition victory in the election would pave the way for the Chinese, Christians and communists to overrun Malaysia.
Instead of using “Tanda Putera” to foment hatred of the Chinese, the government should take up a suggestion made by Suaram Adviser Kua Kia Soong and make public the details of the May 13 incident.
Kua alleges that the racial violence of May 1969 was orchestrated. His allegations are based on declassified documents kept in the British Public Record Office.
In 2012, the Perkasa chief, Ibrahim Ali, warned the late Karpal Singh to respect the Muslims’ right to have hudud laws introduced in the country. Despite his rhetoric of hatred and his fear-mongering, Ibrahim was not censured by the authorities.
He said that opposing hudud was like “stepping on the heads of Muslims”. According to him, it is the Malays’ democratic right to have whatever they want because they form the majority of the Malaysian population.
He also attacked those he considered as “liberal Muslims”, saying, “When other races insult Islam, they don’t speak out against them. Why didn’t they say something when pig heads were hurled into a mosque? But when paint is splashed onto a church, they make a lot of noise.”
Calling people traitors is a tactic frequently used to control the Malays. NGOs like Perkasa like to pick on Malays who criticise fellow Muslims who attack people of other faiths. They label the critical Malays as people who have “gone against Islam” and are ungrateful for the opportunities the government has given them to improve their lives.
Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.
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