New Malay dilemma, rich Malays and politicians

11 Jul 2022 05:50pm
Politicians want positions and power, not to serve the race, religion and country but for lucrative returns, says Saleh Mohammed
Politicians want positions and power, not to serve the race, religion and country but for lucrative returns, says Saleh Mohammed

SHAH ALAM - Islam calls for Allah’s abundance to be shared in a fair and equitable manner. Those bestowed with wealth are required to help the poor and needy.

In 1970, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote a controversial book, the Malay Dilemma.

It claimed, among others, that the Malays fell under the dominion of other races because of their tolerant and non-confrontational nature.

Some says it is eugenics, required to correct Malaysian Chinese hegemony in business.

He justified the primordial differences with evolution of the genes that degraded intellectual capability in the race.

It is his thinking on what needs to be done.

It has been the basis for a wide range of racially-skewed political, socio-economic and educational public policies under the New Economic Policy.

It made some racial generalisations like describing "Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry".
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Some said it nurtures toxic racial and victimhood discourse.

Half a century later, the contents are still applicable. The Jews are still making news and many Malays are still in the B40 category. Why?

In the constitution, Malays are supposed to be the specially privileged people.

However, it is only the rich Malays who have the opportunity to enjoy these privileges. Especially those with political connections and politicians themselves.

Dr Syed Hussein Ali argues that it is the policy of the government to create a class of wealthy Malays but there is a tendency for the leader-brokers to become wealthier.

They have less time for the poor and cronies are preferred. He said poverty is really a class not a racial problem, corruption has become a way of living and problems of landlessness and homelessness are due to unbalanced development.

Most rich people are interested in maximising profits at the expense of others. In fact, in any community, there exists class conflicts.

Look at the Malay political parties today. Among them, they have split into so many parties and we are in the dark as to what are their real objectives.

The Malay Dilemma was to share the nation’s wealth with others, but this sharing does not filter down to the lowest strata and they are crying the Malays have lost power.

If it is true, who made it possible?

How about greed? The politicians want positions and power, not to serve the race, religion and country but for lucrative returns.

There are those who want to be prime ministers, ministers and deputy ministers.

There were noisy expressions of frustrations from non-Malays on the awards of government scholarships, business opportunities and other top positions mainly reserved for the Bumiputeras.

Look at it from another perspective. With all the assistance given, who benefitted?

It seems the Bumiputeras or government setup Bumiputera organisations are controlling the banks but not commerce and businesses.

I took the free MRT ride a few days ago and observed the KL skyline. How many of the hundreds of high-rise buildings and costly housing development projects belong to Malays? Also, as in other major cities and towns.

Political leaders cry foul of non-Malays but as can be seen in the two on-going high-profile court cases, big donations came from non-Malays.

They also blamed the British for giving economic advantages to the non-Malays but how do we explain after six decades of independence and rule and billions spent, more than 70% are still in the B40 group. They have failed.

The new Malay Dilemma is, how can the Malays get more competitive without risking their humble and harmony-seeking character and belief in the present political leaders?

Many are still in their comfort zone and still think that government should spoon-feed them.

Many still long to ‘balik kampung’ when Hari Raya comes.

Is the "Ali Baba" system still acceptable? It is made worse when the Ali and the Baba get together to manipulate the social and political system to gain unfair advantage.

With all the efforts and assistance given, it all depends on how the community capitalises on the privileges as stated in the Constitution.

Worst still, the law seems to be applicable to the rakyat only and not to some at high places.

Since it is a concern from two sides, can we build bridges and both agree on some sacrifices? We know each side’s likes and dislikes.

In this Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), it shows the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Old Testament – Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

A certain amount of assimilation and understanding is needed. Malaysians want racial and religious harmony to move forward together and enough of diversions.

Can we now have new thinking to replace the old Malay Dilemma?

Can someone or somebody come forward to offer to mediate between the races?

What say you...

Saleh Mohammed is from Kuala Lumpur. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.