I really wonder if the inability of some Malaysians to differentiate between Hak-hak Keistimewaan orang Melayu, Ketuanan Melayu and Dasar Ekonomi Baru, is intentional, or are they honestly confused?
I write this in response to the protest by an NGO, against DAP MP M. Kulasegaran. Yes, he's from the DAP, I'm from the MIC. We may be on different sides of the political divide, but I think the man deserves a little breathing space, rather than the unjust hounding he is receiving of late with regards to his questioning the Ketuanan Melayu slogan. The NGO has promised to 'look for him no matter which corner of the world he is in, unless he apologizes'. Why apologize?
First, let us look at the three issues. Hak-hak Keistimewaan orang Melayu, or the Special Rights of the Malay community, as enshrined in the constitution, states that Islam is the official religion of the state, but non-Muslims are allowed to practise their religion without fear or favour. It also states that Malay is the official language of the state. THAT is it. Religion, language. THAT is also what our forefathers agreed during the Social Contract.
Ketuanan Melayu on the other hand, is a slogan. It has no official bearing on the nation. It is more of a battle cry, something without a proper legal definition. Instead, it literally means Malay Supremacy, which as its name suggest, is inherently racist. It is NOT something in the constitution, neither is it anywhere in the policy of the nation or government. In fact, it is well against the concept of 1Malaysia, which is exactly what YB Kula has said. So what is there to apologize?
Dasar Ekonomi Baru or New Economic Policy, is a national economic framework, espousing economic benefits, originally meant to give a helping hand to the Malay community to get a slice of the economic pie. It originally came with an expiry date, which is now conveniently forgotten, and has since been extended with every 5-year Malaysia Plan. Again, it is NOT something in the constitution. It is just an economic plan, which by the admission of no less than our Second Finance Minister himself, is crippling the nation's competitive edge.
Nowhere in the constitution does it say that a Bumiputera must receive a discount when he buys a house. It is just something part of a governmental policy, and again, it need not be forever, and is certainly not beyond question or review. Nowhere does it say, also, Bumiputera students should get an easier ride into places of higher education, or should be given priority for scholarship. All that is government policy, done for a certain reason, good or bad, and is certainly not beyond question or review. It is certainly wrong for me, or anyone else, to ask that these policies be reviewed to better suit current times, and a globally changing competitive climate.
The non-Bumiputeras, the majority at least, have no problems with the Special Rights of the Malays, as enshrined by the constitution. That's the Social Contract. We respect that. No problem. Let Islam be the official religion. But don't force it upon us. Because THAT violates OUR constitutional rights. Let Malay be the official language of the Federation. But don't rob us of our rights to speak, read, write and be educated in our mother languages. Because THAT is our constitutional right.
What we ARE asking, and questioning, is merely the OTHER two. Get rid of Ketuanan Melayu. It's racist. Instead, let us embrace 1Malaysia. Get rid of DEB. It has outlived its usefullness. Replace it instead with a system that helps the poor across all race and religious boundaries. Again, that is 1Malaysia.
Just because someone questions something well within their rights to question, doesn't mean you can claim that the person 'should not say anything that can jeopardize the harmony among the races'. In the first place, if I, or anyone else, asks a LEGITIMATE question, and someone gets upset unnecessarily, arrest him instead! Of course, if someone DOES question the Special Rights of the Malays as enshrined in the constitution, then one can at least justify condemning him. But to confuse Ketuanan Melayu and DEB with the Special Rights, is not only wrong, it is downright cunning.
So the next time you want to come out on the streets and protest, and ask for our blood, get your facts right first!