A “True Malaysian”? What does it mean?

7 07 2010

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We have talked about liberal Malays, “unliberal Malays” and conservative Malays. We have also talked about the good, the bad and the “ugly Malaysians”. Following the publication of an article in the Star using the words “true Malaysian”, let us now discuss what is a “true Malaysian”.

This is again in line with the efforts of promoting understanding among Malaysians so that in the process, we all can try to become good Malaysians, or true Malaysians if there is a consensus on what the terminology means.

The Star editorial entitled, “No way for any true Malaysian to act or talk”, implies that Datuk Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa (the Malay rights Non-Governmental Organization), calling for Datuk Wee Ka Siong of MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) Youth to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), is not quite a true Malaysian.

But an article by “A Junior Editor of a Chinese newspaper” published by Sin Chew Daily, another Chinese-owned organ of mass media, congratulates Ibrahim, albeit with cynicism, for the first issue of Suara Perkasa in which he made the call – see the article below it, here. The Editor acknowledges that “Suara Perkasa is published with the objective of promoting the rights of the Malays and Muslims”.

Interesting, this thing about what is a “True Malaysian”. Owned by the political party, MCA, whose members are descended from those who came to this country mainly from the 19th Century onwards, the Star implies that the Perkasa President, who is descended from the original inhabitants of this country, is not a “true Malaysian”.

It was earlier reported that, when questioning the Government’s plan to do away with overseas scholarships offered by the Public Services Department, Wee had asked if Mara scholarships would also be scrapped. Suara Perkasa headlined a call for Wee to be arrested over those remarks.

Suara Perkasa Chief Editor was called in to explain but was let off by the authorities. He explained, “The Home Ministry officials said the headline did not help the cause of national unity, and warned me not to make the same mistake” – http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/136415.

To us in this portal, a Malaysian is a citizen who respects, abides by and lives with the Constitution of the country in its entirety. But what constitutes a “true Malaysian” – let’s talk about it here.

Clearly, one ingredient of being a true Malaysian is respect for the law, the legal system and the judiciary in place. In this regard, see the article “Raising the Bar”, below, which says, “A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge”. What the writer pens down in that article shows a lot about the situation as far as legal matters are concerned in the country now.

Then there is the so-called liberal academician who talks about feudalistic minds and democracy but had not put out opinions based on research and serious studies one would have expected an academician to do. He has not quoted any research or study findings in the article published by the Star below. Perhaps Malaysians would have loved an academic dissertation on what is a “True Malaysian” from him. Stating the generalities about feudalistic minds and about rights of citizens in a democracy does not require academic standing and can be done by the average Malaysian.

Let’s discuss it in the usual manner, in the hope that the discussion will bring some benefit for understanding and harmony among Malaysians.

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Sunday July 4, 2010

No way for any true Malaysian to act or talk

THE STAR SAYS…

FOR many, the plight of Suara Perkasa newsletter over its demand that MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong be held under the ISA is voluntary and deserved.

The editor concerned had reportedly met Home Ministry officials on Friday to try to explain away his decision to publish the commentary. He is scheduled to report to the ministry again tomorrow for more explanations.

It does not matter who the Perkasa NGO or any of its derivations happens to target at any particular time. What does matter, however, is the inflammatory manner in which they choose to pursue their particular agenda.

In a modern multi-racial, multi-cultural Malaysia, their chauvinistic style cannot be accepted or condoned. To make this clear to all, as well as to deter other wanton attempts at undermining the 1Malaysia concept, a firm official response is warranted.
It is all too evident that their typically callous and contentious approach to Malaysia’s nation-building project amounts to rejecting, opposing and attacking it. In the process, such champions of impudence seem oblivious to the harm they invariably foist upon our nation.

The very nature of the Malaysian nation depends, sometimes precariously, on a sensitive and advised approach to treating issues of inter-community relations. Using ill will to accuse others of bad intent is to set a sorry example for all decent, well-meaning Malaysians.

The claim that championing one’s own community interests need not diminish another community’s interests is blatantly hollow in the Perkasa “model”. If only that were true, some of its adherents would not be in the mess they are in now.

The essential subtleties and implications of harmony and unity in diversity may escape the comprehension of chauvinists. But what is inescapable is the fact that theirs is an anti-social attitude that is particularly dangerous in our society.

Is it too much to expect Perkasa and its ilk to be more mature and considerate? Their words and actions will tell us.

In the past, the authorities have used the very instrument at issue, the ISA, to clamp down on these incendiary provocations. As before, it is for the authorities to decide how they should handle this matter today.

http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=thestarsays&file=/2010/7/4/columnists/thestarsays/6602859&sec=The%20Star%20Says

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Congratulatory message

2010-07-02 15:45
By TAY TIAN YAN, Sin Chew Daily
Translated by DOMINIC LOH

Dear Encik Ibrahim Ali,

First of all, I must congratulate you on the publication of your Suara Perkasa.

With this newspaper, all Perkasa’s activities, along with your great statements, will now travel across the nation so that Malaysian citizens can have the privileged opportunity to learn from you. Isn’t that a blessing to our beloved nation?

Suara Perkasa is published with the objective of promoting the rights of the Malays and Muslims, and unlike other newspapers in this world, it carries a truly momentous mission that has placed it a notch above its peers which are fighting for nothing realistic but democracy, freedom and justice.

If Suara Perkasa could go into publication 50 years or 100 years earlier, its influences could have been even much more phenomenal. It could have even transformed the socio-political fabric of Malaysia!

Perkasa has already positioned itself as a truly amazing organisation, and with its own newspaper now added to this stature, I can see that it will be further empowered for the bigger things to come.

With Suara Perkasa, a lot of hypes will soon flood Malaysia’s political scene. Sensitive topics will keep gushing out, and readers will be pampered with a multitude of readable materials.

Suara Perkasa will also lead in the country’s “right” tilt, charging ahead towards conservatism and extremism. Many politicians will likely pour in their generous support. Who knows, their political future will lie very much in the hands of Suara Perkasa or you.

The publication of Suara Perkasa will also attest to the fact that press freedom is very much alive in Malaysia.

Can you argue that the country is stripped of press freedom if even Perkasa can get a publishing permit?

As for PKR’s Suara Keadilan, no one knows whether their licence will eventually be renewed, but then this is at the sole discretion of the home ministry.

The editorial style of Suara Perkasa is also an attestation to press freedom.

On the front page, you’ve demanded that the government detain Wee Ka Siong under ISA, complete with a picture of the MCA youth chief.

Normally on an inaugural issue, the front page is reserved for the newspaper’s boss to deliver his speech.

And this has shown the humble side of you, Encik Ibrahim Ali.

You probably have worried that your face on the cover would hamper the newspaper’s sale.

As a matter of fact, this should not be of least concern to you.

You have been so generous to offer this privilege to Wee Ka Siong, and the MCA Youth should indeed feel deeply honoured.

Suara Perkasa has protruded its fearless spirit by asking the government to arrest someone already in the government under ISA.

The home ministry has reiterated that ISA would only be cited against extremely dangerous individuals such as terrorists.

I ran through the records, Wee Ka Siong did think that the PSD scholarships should not have been abolished, leaving only Mara to dish out scholarships to bumi students, as this would not reflect the 1Malaysia spirit.

And you have been courageous enough to point out that Wee had gone against Article 153 of the Constitution, challenging the special privileges accorded to the Malays.

Under your leadership, both Perkasa and Suara Perkasa will flourish for sure, and I believe there are areas we can work together for our mutual benefits.

A junior editor of a Chinese newspaper

MySinchew 2010.07.02
http://www.mysinchew.com/node/41182?tid=12

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Thursday June 24, 2010

Raising the Bar

PUTIK LADA
By KENNETH WONG POH LIM

What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.

When I was asked to write an article for this column, I thought a long time for a topic I should give my views on.

Several came to mind: Should I be promoting my legal knowledge (albeit limited) on corporate matters, or should I write about something more serious and heavy like the RM1.6bil to be spent on the new Parliament building and Istana Negara?

After much deliberation, I decided that before I criticise others, I should ensure that I, or more importantly the profession from where I hail, am beyond reproach or criticism. I therefore decided to write about my legal profession – the Bar.

#1 – Be professional in dispensing our duty

Firstly, but most importantly, we need to remember that we are professionals who have heavy responsibilities placed on our shoulders and understand that the public in general would not have the perception that lawyers are expensive liars/crooks if we dispense our duty with integrity and professionally.

To me, the problem arises when we are seen as a “hindrance” to the administration of justice – for example, by not being prepared, providing the court with inaccurate statements (mostly due to lack of preparation) and many other reasons which would as a consequence result in justice not being meted out.

Before we react to some of the judgments handed down by the courts (in that they are appalling or unbelievable), we should first ask ourselves whether we had in any way contributed to such judgments being handed down.

After all, the courts rely on the assistance and representation of lawyers in arriving at a conclusion on each set of facts.

#2 – Stop focusing on dollars and cents, start empowering
the public and increasing their awareness of their rights

We should constantly remind ourselves that our tasks as lawyers are not limited to just preparing for trial, defending our clients in court or drafting of commercial agreements.

We are fortunate enough to be legally trained to appreciate and made aware of the rights as well as remedies afforded to citizens in the event such rights are breached.

Instead of just using our knowledge as a tool in earning a living, we should step up and take on the role to spread and educate the public with our knowledge.

Certainly, a good effort by the Bar Council which should be applauded is the recently launched MyConstitution campaign, the first-of-its-kind national campaign to educate the Malaysian public and create greater awareness on the Federal Constitution.
We should work towards dispelling the notion that lawyers are only interested in dollars and cents and we should use our know ledge as a tool to contribute back to society.

#3 – Stop commercialising the profession

For litigation lawyers, a person’s freedom and liberty could be at stake, depending on the arguments put forth by the lawyer in court. For corporate lawyers, a transaction worth millions of dollars could be at stake, depending on the terms penned in the agreements.

The point is, our profession allows us certain privileges but it also comes with very heavy responsibilities.

Needless to say, the legal fees charged should therefore be commensurate to the responsibilities shouldered by us.

As much as we are eager to please our clients, we should not be forced to offer ridiculously low legal fees, which would inevitably result in a compromise on the quality of work.

The public should also be aware of the following. A good lawyer will spend laborious hours researching, focusing and trying his or her very best to offer the best solutions to clients, which would result in quality work.

By reducing legal fees to a ridiculous low, most lawyers would be forced to accept more briefs to maintain his or her earnings (to pay the bills) and naturally, would be forced to spend less time on each brief.

Consequently, quality of work would be compromised.

#4 – Give back to society

“There is a difference between a good person and a great person.

“A good person works hard for himself and his family, providing opportunities for his circle of friends.

“However, a great person, while working towards supporting his family and friends, also strives to make the world a better place to live in.”

The Bar should continue to support and create more avenues, such as charitable events, for members of the Bar to give back to society. The yearly Charity Night, brainchild of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Young Lawyers Committee, is an example. Charity Night is an event where members of the legal fraternity, including pupils in chambers (trainee lawyers) and lawyers, showcase their other talents in the name of charity to raise funds, usually to be given to homes for abandoned children and the elderly.

This year, Charity Night takes place on July 2.

In conclusion, this writer believes that most members of the Bar do practise the above points and as such, the above points are only meant to serve as a reminder. He humbly hopes that the same members of the Bar would indicate their acknowledgement of the same by contributing to Charity Night.

Inquiries can be made by contacting the Kuala Lumpur Bar Secretariat at 03 2693 3585. This writer will constantly be checking the fund box to see if he was right about his brothers and sisters at the Bar.

The writer is a young lawyer. Putik Lada, or pepper buds in Malay, captures the spirit and intention of this column – a platform for young lawyers to articulate their views and aspirations about the law, justice and a civil society. For more information about the young lawyers, please visitwww.malaysianbar.org.my/nylc.

http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=putiklada&file=/2010/6/24/columnists/putiklada/6532971&sec=Putik%20Lada

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Thursday July 1, 2010

It’s democracy and not derhaka

BRAVE NEW WORLD
By AZMI SHAROM

It is one thing to have a populace that does not quite understand the full extent of their democratic rights, it is quite another to have leaders perpetuate a feudalistic atmosphere to keep their grip on power.

After the 2004 general election, the newly chosen MP for Putrajaya was being interviewed on the telly. He was obviously very happy with the result – his chubby face was glowing. The Barisan had won big in that particular constituency.

His happiness was understandable but his explanation for the victory, however, was a little bizarre. He said the reason Barisan won the seat so easily was because Putrajaya was home to mainly civil servants. In other words, it was expected that these people will vote for the “government”.

Two points of clarification should be made here. Firstly, the freedom to choose is the right of every single Malaysian, regardless of job description. And secondly people don’t vote for a “government”, people vote for a party which will then form a government.

It’s all pretty basic Democracy 101 type stuff, but I guess for some it’s a lesson which is a little tough to grasp. Not surprising really, consi dering how terribly feudal our country is.

Why, just today I read that tribal leaders in Sarawak have been warned not to vote for the opposition. The last time I checked, the right to choose belonged to all Malay sians. I didn’t realise there was a tribal clause.

To a certain extent, I can understand why some people may think that once a party is in power then they deserve undying loyalty. It is a throwback to our days of absolute monarchs, chieftains and the like. You had an allegiance to your ruler, whoever that ruler might be and woe betide you if you were to be rebellious, or to use that most heinous of Malay words “derhaka”.

But times have changed and we are a democracy now. Or so we claim to be. If we are, then this thinking is simply not in line with our rights as citizens to choose our leader and to choose whoever we like as our leader. A feudal system is very much top down whereas a democracy moves the other way.

But like I said, I am not too surprised that we ordinary people may fail to understand and appreciate the power that is in our hands. I’m not surprised because the everyday business of governance in this country is infected with the trappings of feudalism.

Look around you – if you are in any public building, chances are you will see several portraits smiling benignly down at you a la Kim Jong Il. Apart from providing income to a bunch or photographers, printers and framers, I really don’t see the point in having these elected mugs smirking down at me. After all, what is important is the office, not the individual holding that office.

And although our national characteristic is one of politeness and respect, I don’t think it should degenerate to base toadying and brown nosing. It is distasteful to see grown men slobbering, bowing and scraping to elected officials who, let’s face it, are our servants and not the other way round.

Again, in a warped kind of way, I understand why people do this. These big shots have power. But then, even here there is a distortion of how things should be. They have power, that is true, but that power must not be in any way unlimited and the use of that power has to be accountable and transparent.

Because our system of governance lacks transparency and accountability, the amount of power wielded by the few is far too great and this merely feeds into the feudalistic thinking of the society we live in as people will prostrate themselves before someone whom they think can give them reward, regardless whether they should have such power to reward or not.

However, back to the Sarawak tribal chiefs. Michael Manyin, who is the Sarawak Infrastructure Development and Communication Minister, said in a speech that “tribal leaders are the government’s agents in developing local communities and are not supposed to go against the government”.

This may be true in the daily life of a tribal leader. He will have duties to carry out and he should not do anything to undermine that. However, during election time, there is no longer a “government”. There are only parties vying to be the next government and in that situation, a tribal leader or any other citizen for that matter can choose who they want.

It is one thing to have a populace that does not quite understand the full extent of their democratic rights, it is quite another thing to have leaders perpetuate a feudalistic atmosphere in order to keep their grip on power.

It is about time we realise that this country belongs to all of us, the citizens. It definitely does not belong to elected officials who are at the very most merely managers entrusted with the running of the nation and managers with no security of tenure because we can fire them.

And that is not “derhaka”, that is democracy.

http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=bravenewworld&file=/2010/7/1/columnists/bravenewworld/6580652&sec=Brave%20New%20World


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27 responses

7 07 2010
Mathematician

Saya tak mampu menerangkan ciri-ciri seorang rakyat Malaysia yang sejati, tetapi apa yang pasti, antara ciri-ciri yang mesti ada pada seorang rakyat Malaysia yang sejati ialah:

1. Rakyat Malaysia yang sejati mesti memahami dan bertindak dalam kehidupan seharian berdasarkan kepada prinsip Rukunegara. Contoh paling mudah,
a) Golongan atheist bukanlah rakyat Malaysia yang sejati kerana telah melanggar prinsip Rukunegara yang pertama – Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan.
b) Golongan yang asyik mempersoalkan artikel 153 juga bukanlah rakyat Malaysia yang sejati kerana telah melanggar prinsip Rukunegara yang ketiga – Keluhuran Perlembagaan.
c) Nizar Jamaludin, Karpal Singh, Nik Aziz dan Anwar Ibrahim bukanlah merupakan a true Malaysian kerana telah melanggar prinsip Rukunegara yang kedua – Kesetiaan Kepada Raja dan Negara.

2. Rakyat Malaysia yang sejati mestilah FASIH (tidak pelat) bertutur dalam bahasa rasmi Malaysia, iaitu bahasa Melayu, yang kedudukannya telahpun dinobatkan dalam perlembagaan negara. (Golongan yang enggan bertutur dalam bahasa Melayu, yang telahpun dinobatkan kedudukannya dalam perlembagaan negara juga termasuk dalam senarai ini.)

Kalau ada yang lain nak tambah, silakanlah…

8 07 2010
SSS Admin

Mathematician,

Kami setuju dengan pendapat Sdr bahawa Perlembagaan dan Rukunegara mesti menjadi dasar bagi menentukan sama ada rakyat Malaysia itu jati, jujur, tulin atau tidak. Kamus Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka mencatitkan makna berikut bagi perkataan tersebut:

jati = asli, murni, tulin, tidak bercampur
jujur = lurus hati, tulus ikhlas
tulin = tidak bercampur (dengan yang lain), bukan tiruan, asli, sa-jati

Dan Kamus Dwibahasa Oxford Fajar (yang tidak begitu lengkap, contohnya, berkenaan perkataan “gejala”) menyatakan

true = betul, benar, sungguh, sahih

Perlambagaan adalah batu asas dan tulang belakang negara; tiada Perlembagaan tiadalah negara, hanya segerombolan maanusia yang simpang siur dan tunggang langgang dengan uandang-undang hutan atau “the law of the jungle”. Atau undang-undang tentera yang dibikin secara proklamasi, mengikut kehendak mereka yang berkuasa, seperti di negara-negara yang mengalami rampasan kuasa dan pemerintahan tentera, tidak ada Parlimen atau Dewan Undangan Negeri dimana wakil-wakil yang dipilih melalui Pilihanraya bersuara dan meluluskan undang-undang yang diderap atau direka oleh pakar undang undang.

Nyatalah mereka yang tidak bertutur dalam Bahasa Kebangsaan selain dari urusan peribadi, tidak mempedulikan Perkara 152 Perlembagaan berkenaan Bahasa Malaysia sebagai Bahasa Kebangsaan, tidak menghormati Perkara 153 Kedudukan Istimewa Melayu yang jadi balasan bagi kerakyatan untuk bukan Melayu, bukan rakyat Malaysia jati, jujur dan ikhlas.

Kita perlu teruskan segala usaha menyedarkan semua rakyat Malaysia kapada pentingnya menjadi rakyat yang jati, jujur dan tulin demi kepentingan salitur rahim, saling menghormati dan bersatu padu dinegara ini.

7 07 2010
Cari Jawab

“all decent, well-meaning Malaysians” of The Star,

How precisely “The claim that championing one’s own community interests need not diminish another community’s interests is blatantly hollow in the Perkasa “model”, pray tell.

9 07 2010
SSS Admin

Cari Jawab,

Perhaps the writer thinks that all communities have an interest in everything in the country. And wants equal share of everything in the country. But he forgets that in wealth, educational advancement and many other aspects of life in Malaysia now, nothing is equal. The Chinese have a vast amount of wealth and the biggest number of people in the professional field. In wanting equality, they are not prepared to have, and have never offered, equal share in those spheres of activities.

More significantly, they forget or do not want to go by the fact that the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak have a Special Position written in the Constitution. That is the unkindest cut of all. The Malay Special Position was in exchange for their citizenship right. They have used that right, are now citizens, but they do not honour their part of the bargain – respect the Malay Special Position and let the Malays and the Bumiputeras be given assistance to catch up a little with the Chinese in wealth and educational advancement. That is unreasonable and unfair.

Now they even criticize Perkasa and other Malay rights groups asking the Government to continue the affirmative action under the New Economic Policy under the New Economic Model. How selfish and unreasonable can that be. After all, the Prime Minister has taken a lot of action favourable to them. This includes liberalisation of various aspects of the economy, treatment of Chinese schools, etc. Even when Chinese schools, which use Mandarin as the medium of instruction, are not in line with the Constitution which states Bahasa Malaysia as the National Language.

Are the writer and the publisher of the article “true Malaysians”? We will let the readers be the judge of that.

8 07 2010
Kenn

Definitely “MCA” cannot be categorized as “Malaysian” at all, far from being “true Malaysian” as they are truly chinese, therefore truly ‘racist’ here in Malaysia.

9 07 2010
SSS Admin

Kenn,

The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is exclusively Chinese in membership like other political parties are exclusively Malay or Indian in composition. They are naturally racist by the common definition of the word “race” and in the sense that they fight for and try to protect and promote the rights and interests of the Chinese. As to whether they have “a tendency to racial feeling, antagonism between different races of men”, it may be discussed, just like what constitutes a “true Malaysian” is being discussed. It is in the interest of understanding one another, learning the good that we can try to emulate and the not so good that we can avoid being, so that we can be better Malaysians.

As the dictionary definition suggests, those who are antagonistic towards Malays asking that the New Economic Policy be continued in the New Economic Model are being racial or racist. Let us hope they will realize that, especially in the light of Article 153 on the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak, protecting and promoting the rights and interests of the Malays need not be to the detriment of the others. The NEP has not been a matter of taking anything from the rich and giving it to the poor. They need to be reasonable and let the huge gap in the economic and educational position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak compared to the Chinese be reduced in the interest of long-term harmony and unity in the country.

8 07 2010
kassim

ya.. setuju dgn rukun negara! nilai negara bangsa ikut 5 tunjang tsebut & falsafah! ciri sbenar warga pertiwi..

9 07 2010
SSS Admin

kassim,

Tidak lain dan tidak bukan, Perlembagaan negara dan Rukunegara mesti dijadikan asas bagi kehidupan setiap rakyat dan digunakan sebagai dasar bagi menilai ta’at setia dan sama ada rakyat itu jati, jujur dan tulin atau tidak.

Perlembagaan negara telah direka berdasarkan berbagai rundingan dan perbincangan diantara kaum diMalaya pada masa itu dan dengan pihak penjajah British. Ia dilakukan bulan demi bulan, tahun demi tahun, sehingga persetujuan dasar dicapai diantara pemimpin-pemimpin kaum diMalaya dan selepas itu bahru pergi berunding dengan British diLondon. Rang Perlembagaan diderap dan dibincangkan lagi berhabis habisan. Dibawa keParlimen Britain oleh Menteri British ynag berkenaan dan dibincang dimasa Bil Kemerdekaan Malaya dibentangkan dan kemudian diluluskan diantara mereka diBritain. Dimasa Merdeka, rang Perlembagaan itu dibentang, dibincangkan dan diluluskan diParlimen Malaya pula. Dimasa penubuhan Malaysia, Perlembagaan itu dan pindaan-pindaan yang berkenaan dibentang, dibincang dan diluluskan sekali lagi diParlimen kita. Maka tidak masuk akal lah bagi sesiapa memperso’alkan atau waswas diatas kematangan, kebijaksanaan dan wajarnya semua perkara perkara yang dimaktubkan didalam Perlembagaan negara kita itu.

Maka wajarlah, malahan mestilah, setiap warga negara Malaysia menghormatinya. Begitu juga Rukunegara. Berbagai falsafah dan nilai-nilai murni terkandong didalamnya. Marilah kita terus mengsyorkan, menarik perhatian dan mewarwarkan pentingnya hormati dan hidup dengan Perlembagaan dan Rukunegara supaya boleh menjadi rakyat Malaysia yang jati, jujur dan tulin.

8 07 2010
Virdon

“fighting for nothing realistic but democracy, freedom and justice.”

I know the Sin Chew article is sarcastic. But we must continue to fight for democracy, freedom and justice. Special Position must not be at the expense of others.

9 07 2010
SSS Admin

Virdon,

The Special Position of the Malays and the Bumipteras of Sabah and Sarawak has never been at the expense of the others in this country. As the British Colonial Secretary had informed the British Parliament when tabling the Malaya Independence Bill in the 1950s, the Malay Special Position has always been there “since day one’, acknowledged and recognized by the British since their first contacts with this country. It was clearly evident then, and history shows it to be so until today, that the British and other foreigners sought to deal with the Malays when they first set foot on our shores.

The New Economic Policy (NEP), that was derived from the Malay Special Position, has also not been at the expense of the others. No one loses anything he or she owns because of the NEP. It is not Robin Hoodism or the taking from one community and giving it to another. It is from the new opportunities. Allocations are made for the benefit of the community that has been left far behind economically and educationally due largely to the British colonial policy. After all, even in mainland China the Manchu Emperors allocated 25% of the Civil Service posts to the southern Chinese who were considered disadvantaged compared to the northern Chinese.

In Malaysia, the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak are deemed the disadvantaged. As they have a Special Position recorded in the Constitution in exchange for citizenship right for the non-Malays, it is only reasonable and fair that the non-Malays not grudge them.

8 07 2010
Kumar

Not all is well in the Bar Council, is it? The lawyer writer has to get members to

#1 – Be professional in dispensing our duty
#2 – Stop focusing on dollars and cents
#3 – Stop commercialising the profession
#4 – Give back to society

10 07 2010
SSS Admin

Kumar,

Nobody is perfect, no profession is without their bad hats and the Bar Council is not spared. The writer’s statement that “A great lawyer knows the judge” has rather strange connotations but credit goes to him for saying that before he criticises others, he should ensure that he or the profession he hails from is beyond reproach or criticism.

There have been lawyers disbarred from practice for a host of reasons and one lawyer-turned-politician did not even declare such a record to his party when standing for a by-election not long ago. Similarly there have been accountants who have failed miserably in their fiduciary duties and doctors not only misdiagnosing but doing so with deliberate intent of making money out of their patients. All told, the moral fabric of our society has been disintegrating quite a bit in recent years, producing such things as Mat Rempitism, Ragutism, proliferation of 24-hour food and other joints, rampant sex and throwing away newborn babies. Some blame it on globalisation, influence of foreign satellite TV programmes, others blame the “flip flopping, auto-piloting and sleepy” administration which did not do sufficiently to check and control such unhappy trends.

The writer has indeed hit the nail on the head when advising on professionalism, not focusing on dollars and cents, avoiding commercialising the profession and giving back to society. Those subscribing to such ideals both in thought and in practice certainly deserve to be called true Malaysians.

8 07 2010
Victor

Is it true that “The home ministry has reiterated that ISA would only be cited against extremely dangerous individuals such as terrorists.”? I thought it also covers subversives. The “Untrue Malaysians”.

10 07 2010
SSS Admin

Victor,

The Home Ministry has said that the Internal Security Act (ISA) is meant for dangerous individuals. It used to be applied to communists who operate incognito and may go about without weapons but believe in or may even have plans to carry out dangerous acts. Such people are usually trailed by the Police, their activities, contacts and even plans known and they are pounced upon after having sufficient reasons to believe they are about to cause significant harm to people and/ or property. Applying ISA is basically a preventive measure and the detention of such people have in many cases in the past made them realise the futility of their cause, they repented, get released and re-joined society.

The decision to apply ISA rests largely with the Police. Credit must be given to them in that they have not used ISA willy nally and certainly not for politicians who merely state their opposition to the Government. If that has been the case, the Kamunting Detention Centre near Taiping would have always been full. Yet the number of detainees can be counted on the fingers. Those advocating the overthrow of the Government by force, those trying to spread religious beliefs by terror certainly deserve treatment at Kamunting. They definitely are “Untrue Malaysians”.

However, those subverting the existing somewhat fragile peace and harmony among Malaysians need to be closely watched always. It is often said that racial polarisation has been on the increase. We cannot afford to have another May 13. We need uninterrupted progress to achieve a developed nation status within reasonably early time. Those who subvert the existing acceptable state of inter-racial relations need to be reigned in. Those who question the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak need to be hauled in under the Sedition Act as Article 153 of the Constitution is protected under that Act. Those who may go to the extent of calling for the abolishment of Article 153 deserve detention under ISA because doing so may spark another May 13. Those calling for the abandonment of the New Economic Policy may also deserve such treatment because the NEP was derived from Article 153.

Let us urge all concerned not to engage in such acts and behave as true Malaysians. Let us all respect the Constitution fully and acknowledge the Social Contract by which the non-Malays get their citizenship right and the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak get their Special Position written into the Constitution.

9 07 2010
mantra

Look no further… uphold Rukun Negara, make it compulsory starting from all schools at every assembly to repeat the pledge… make it compulsory to every Parliment assembly, party assembly and Ministral assembly… i think its long forgotten and Malaysiann must learn to understand, respect and adhere to Rukun Negara…

10 07 2010
SSS Admin

mantra,

Yes, reciting the Rukunegara at as many assemblies and gatherings as possible will help in reminding all citizens of the need to behave in a true Malaysian way. No doubt some will disregard what is being recited and their minds wander elsewhere at such assemblies and gatherings but many would at least be aware that they are being asked to respect and practise the Rukunegara every now and then.

There will always be the recalcitrants who even politically exploit Bureau Tata Negara courses, calling them indoctrination and such. But those people’s accusations should be disregarded because they are the kind that exploit each and every little thing they could find to hit at the Establishment. They accuse the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of responsibility over witness Teoh Beng Hock’s death even before the Police completed their investigation and the cause of death is not yet determined by the Inquest up to this day.

Understanding, respecting and adhering to the principles of Rukunegara may be lacking among those not attending national schools where they may not only be recited at school assemblies but also have the Rukunegara plastered as murals on walls and painted as school works of art hung at the varendahs. These help to make the products of national schools become “True Malaysians”. However, one wonders if such attempts at inculcating the principles of Rukunegara are being done at the vernacular schools and, if so, the extent they are being carried out. The Rukunegara is, in line with the policy on National Language, in Bahasa Malaysia and the standard of BM in vernacular schools is not that high compared to the national schools. The teachers at such schools need to play a proactive role in explaining what is written in the Rukunegara and make the children understand fully what they mean. Let us call upon the authorities to advise them where necessary.

9 07 2010
abda

Is this the PhD fellow who writes that “during election time, there is no longer a “government”. There are only parties vying to be the next government and in that situation, a tribal leader or any other citizen for that matter can choose who they want.”

Is he really PhD? Is this the kind of things that he talks about here and there? That’s so shallow isn’t it? The man in the street can say that.

Yet, doesn’t he think about loyalty and speak about it? I agree with you that he should be writing a dissertation for example on what is the basis for loyalty to the nation, to the people who have appointed (elected?) the tribal leaders, and such. Write something serious along that line, la, befitting a PhD-ness. Do some study, get some quotations, quote the books and the authorities.

If he is the one, no wonder he doesn’t use his PhD in this article.

11 07 2010
SSS Admin

abda,

Yes, we need well qualified Malaysians to write well-researched and fully argued articles that contribute positively towards the development of the country. A positive contribution that is badly needed now is in the realm of togetherness and unity among Malaysians.

It is not enough just lambasting the corrupt and the inefficient. It is also common knowledge that to have change, call for a change of government. But we need a proper and well substantiated discussion where the change will bring us to, whether we’ll get more of the same or the same inefficiency and corruption but in different forms and varying faces. It is known that opposition political parties are also not free from corrupt practices and ineptitudes. Corruption is not the prerogative of just one group of people.

We should have people not having any political agenda writing such articles or dissertation. People who are objective, who see things from a bird’s eye view point, not people who are out to support or promote certain political parties or personalities. The PhD person you referred to is certainly not one of the objective ones. There are people even more qualified and experienced like Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim who is of Chinese ancestry but does not agree on Chinese schools using Mandarin as the medium of instruction for reasons of the need for unity, etc.

10 07 2010
Aysay

Aysay, they are using very big words, Sir –

“To make this clear to all, as well as to deter other wanton attempts at undermining the 1Malaysia concept, a firm official response is warranted. It is all too evident that their typically callous and contentious approach to Malaysia’s nation-building project amounts to rejecting, opposing and attacking it. In the process, such champions of impudence seem oblivious to the harm they invariably foist upon our nation.”

Are they not doing it themselves?

11 07 2010
SSS Admin

Aysay,

This what being one-sided is all about. This is what seeing things from the perspective of your own community is all about. Perkasa speaks for Malay interests and this writer and the newspaper that prints the article speak for Chinese interests. And they have more money, better education, more newspapers and big words to put out their perspectives.

It is natural for this tendency to develop and persist. Let’s call the British colonial legacy bogey. In their desire not to be blamed for bringing in large numbers of Chinese and Indian labourers to help produce income for them to send home to England, the British colonial masters “expected” the Malay leaders to allow the non-Malays to stay and become citizens in this country. After all, the Chinese were mainly “transient” and would move to greener pastures, they argued. Then they allowed the registration of ethnic-based political parties. So, all along until now, Malaysians have been pursuing their rights and interests along ethnic lines.

However, some non-Malays forget that there is the Special Position of the Malays (covering the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak with the formation of Malaysia) written into the Constitution as the quid ppro quo for their citizenship right that the Malay leaders agreed to. A few are simply nasty and do not recognize what has been termed as the Social Contract. The New Economic Policy (NEP) drawn up from that Special Position was questioned. It led to Malay rights groups like Perkasa, Gertak, Melayu Bangkit and over 100 Malay NGOs speaking up for the NEP to be continued and manifested in the New Economic Model (NEM). And the writer of this article uses big words against such moves.

You are right – they are doing themselves what they criticize the Malay rights groups of. In fact, they are the ones doing the “harm they invariably foist upon our nation”. Clearly the Malay rights people are not doing anything wrong by asking that the NEP be continued. But the writer is doing harm by accusing the Malay rights group of “wanton attempts at undermining the 1Malaysia concept”, “callous and contentious approach to Malaysia’s nation-building”, “harm they invariably foist upon our nation.” He belongs to the community that has tremendous wealth and a high level of education; they in fact control practically all aspects of the economy yet are not willing to let the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak catch up with them a little. They appear not to be true Malaysians.

It takes all sorts to make this world. Let’s us call for more of the sorts that are reasonable and willing to become true Malaysians and share the riches of this country more equitably. We need these sorts for continued peace and uninterrupted progress.

12 07 2010
kassim

admin sir, those forgetting their part of bargain need to firmly reminded. being In fact, they are the ones doing the “harm they invariably foist upon our nation” but still in denial! more of them are in illegal act’s, curi pasir, balak & other that harmed d enviroment. underworld related scheme such tonto & d like. how they able 2 massively in control of trade / economy if not kongsi like dong(s) n assoc… d way of double std. which more like apartheid & zionis.. they do whatever just 2 get d way they want! Malays & Bumi ‘s forefather ancestor and since merdeka leader(s) still in menang sorak repeatedly do PAK KAduk & Lebai Malang, tgadai! dapatnya sikit, rugi nya.. ? bak lepaS KAN ANJING, KENA GIGIT LE.. DEPA KATA BYK AMONG DEPA YG SILENT MAJORITY & XKACAU ORG! YELAH TU.. YG MASUK GENG TU ADALAH YG SEKOLAH DEPA, DOK KG DEPA, KLU G PEKAN MACM XPERNAH NEnGOK BANGSA LAIN! YG ngaji tinggi byk gak dan depa ni kurang ajaq sikit je perangai banding ngan hok MELAYU.. yg lupa adat, asal usul, sjarah & xmau nolong kerabat. wassalam.

13 07 2010
SSS Admin

kassim,

We agree that they need to be firmly reminded. Both by us as individuals as well as by the Government which has the major responsibility in ensuring continued peace and stability in the country. We as individuals of all races have a stake in this country. We have our children and grandchildren, and those after them, to think of and must think of them and their future. The Government cannot function well if there is no steady peace and stability. More importantly, the Government of the day will not last long if the peace and stability of the country is disturbed. We learn from the tragedy of 13 May 1969 that the democratically elected government was suspended, the Cabinet was dissolved and Parliament held in abeyance soon after riots broke out and soldiers were called in to control the situation. No responsible Malaysian would want that situation to happen again. Early return to democracy is not assured under those circumstances.

Under the democratic process citizens are allowed to speak their minds within reasonable limits. And have the right to elect leaders of their parties and representatives to Parliament as well as State Legislative Assemblies. The question is: to what extent can they be allowed to have their say in public, and, what happens when they do not choose wisely. The Sedition Act is clearly one distinct limit. There was a time when discussions on the Special Position of the Malays were not allowed at all. It was very fitting because the Special Position under Article 153 of the Constitution is protected under the Sedition Act. There was a time when there were not too many newspapers, radio and TV licenses issued. But since the “flip flopping, auto-piloting and sleepy” administration of Tun Abdullah, things were let as they were, so to speak, and the proliferation of vehicles of mass media, rampant and unfettered criticism came about. Now the same situation has been allowed to continue. In fact, additional licenses were issued including for TV stations. It now seems that almost everybody can say almost whatever they like.

And they do say what they like. In as many languages as they like. No matter Article 152 on Bahasa Malaysia as the National Language. And they say about the New Economic Policy as they like. That which was conceived from the Special Position of the Malays. Almost as if the Sedition Act does not exist. Hence the articles in the Chinese language newspapers that are reproduced here from time to time. Clearly the “unliberal” Chinese viewpoints to the extent of being seditious.

Not choosing wisely has led to the existence of weak governments both at the Federal and, in a few cases, at the Sate levels. There exists Cabinet members who don’t tow the government line. Or the bickering among State Executive Councilors over rules on the sale of liquor. These result in so many unresolved issues – liquor licenses, massage parlour licenses, attempts at diluting Malay Reserve land, football betting licenses are but a few examples. And Dato Seri Najib in his zealousness to win votes in the coming General Elections has appeared to let the situation be as they were since the days of Tun Abdullah. The language issue, the Chinese schools issue, non-valid criticisms of the NEP are examples. Najib, too, has to be reminded about the Social Contract. His part of the bargain is with those who elect him to the Presidency of UMNO. Najib, too, has to play his part of the bargain.

12 07 2010
Sayong

Betui le kata dia, tiap kaum ade rasis nye. Tapi jangan melampau le. Ape melampau nye kalau Pak Berahim cuma nak mintak hak Melayu masuk dalam Model Ekonomi Baru? Jangan ultra kiasu le. (Pssssst, Tuan, ultra kiasu tu “unliberal” ke “conservatib” ke?)

22 07 2010
Kenneth Wong

Hi, stumbled across your website when i was searching for articles about the Bar. I am the author of the article actually, but I think the editing part by the star has misconstrued that phrase ‘A good lawyer knows the law, a great lawyer knows the judges’. After that statement, there’s a next line which says something to the effect that most people can find those jokes on lawyers on the internet, which i hope my article can dispel of.

Thanks.

23 07 2010
SSS Admin

Kenneth,

Thank you for the clarification. We trust it is an honest error of editing on the part of the Star. Without any qualifying statement, that joke may be misinterpreted by people. Especially in this country where there have been all sorts of allegations against everybody and sensitivities have run thin. In many cases the fault lies not in the idea but in the interpretation.

Misinterpretation also occurs as far as the Constitution is concerned. The matter of vernacular schools and the Malay Special Position are cases in point. Now Dato Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa is being accused of racism when all he started out to do was to ask the NEP – which was derived from the Malay Special Position – be continued in the NEM. We have expressed a lot of views on these in this blog. We will discuss them again and again as we go along. We began by speaking for single-stream schooling for the creation of a united and cohesive Bangsa Malaysia. We have widened our scope to include anything about national unity. You are welcomed to participate by giving your views.

6 09 2010
Marc

Interesting reading. Keep up the good work.

9 09 2010
SSS Admin

Marc,

We have published your comment considering that the message you carry in your email address concerns educational opportunities. We wish you luck in your endeavours.

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