Malays are both the problem and solution

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Last updated on 30/10/2013 - 09:01
Posted on 29/10/2013 - 09:29



OUTSPOKEN:
In order to have a deeper insight into Malaysian politics, one must first attempt to understand the Malay mind, or more importantly, the Umno Baru Malay mind. If the shutters are down, no progress will be made. If the blinds are half drawn, some development may take place, but if the curtains are fully open, much progress is promised. Until the Umno-Malay mind is liberated, everyone else, from ordinary Malays to non-Malays, will fumble around in the dark.
Despite their differences, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were unanimous in blaming the Chinese for Barisan National’s (BN) poor performance in GE13.

Najib said that the Chinese had been “taken in” by the promises of the opposition coalition, whilst Mahathir blamed the “ungrateful” Chinese for rejecting the “Malay hand of friendship”. Mahathir said Malays were prepared “to sell out their race” for power. How ironic!
Many Malays are envious of the successful Chinese traders but they fail to realise that their success is the result of hard work, frugal living and the contributions of family members. Why is the failure of the NEP to uplift the lives of the Malays, the fault of the Chinese?

The Chinese school dropout is forced, by his father, to be an apprentice mechanic in a garage. He labours for years, learns the skills, makes contacts with motor factors, and later sets up his own garage. Then high quality work attracts a steady flow of clients.

The Malay school dropout may be encouraged by his father to seek a job in the civil service because it is a job for life, a bit like the Umno Baru politicians who refuse to relinquish their jobs as career politicians.

Once the school dropout enters the civil service, it is like Nirvana. He has no sense of self, he has no desire to do anything more, he has no responsibility, no accountabilities and has no other wants. He is provided for in more ways than one. His future, if you can call it that, is charted for him. He has access to medical benefits and loans with favourable terms to buy a car or a house. He wants for nothing more. He is content. The only thrill he gets is when he can extend his already lengthy breakfast break or go on power lunches and make members of the public wait for him, because this is how he wields his power.

Malays must face their inner demons, by first acknowledging their shortcomings and finding ways to resolve these, rather than making scapegoats of the other races.
In the recent Umno Baru elections, Umno Baru Malays seemed unperturbed that candidates like Tan Sri Isa Samad, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil were tainted. If the rumours about Shahrizat becoming a member of the Cabinet are true, then what is the point of having a general election, when people are sneaked into a senior post via the back door?

Would the rakyat have voted for Najib if he had not offered BR1M payments, or parcels of food? When the GST is enforced in April 2015, the rakyat will pay out more money in increased cost of goods, to the government, than they will receive in BR1M. The rich can weather price increases. At worst, they might have to downgrade from a Bugatti to a Lamborghini. The middle-income groups will suffer most.

Malays must censure Najib and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the facetious comments they made to try to justify the increase in the cost of sugar. Najib said a reduction in sugar consumption would be good for the libido, whilst Muhyiddin crossed the lines of decency when he cited the illness of former Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak in the sugar debate.

Muhyiddin is typical of Umno Baru Malays who lose their manners when they gain political power. Azizan’s family deserve a public apology.

The Umno Baru member is entitled to a 12% discount for new homes, but the ordinary Malay does not enjoy this hefty discount. The Umno Baru Malay is rewarded with “small” contracts worth a few million ringgit, or taxi-permit allocations as gratitude for his support. The child of the well-connected Umno Baru Malay need not worry about scholarships to study overseas, or a job upon graduation, whereas other Malays go through the normal grind usually reserved for non-Malays.

The four traits: Meritocracy, Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (MATI) are feared in Umno Baru. Their politicians have no integrity and they do not believe in meritocracy or transparency when allocating contracts. When things go wrong, no one is held accountable. Is it any wonder Malaysia is in a mess?

If ordinary Malays are afraid to speak up because they fear that they might be jailed, or find that opportunities are denied to them, they must ask themselves if this is the sort of government they wish to have. If you fear your government, you should replace that government!


The future direction of Malaysia lies in the hands of the ordinary Malays. The real challenge is to shift control from the power grabbing, self-enriched Umno Baru Malays to the ordinary Malays and ordinary Malaysians.


Mariam Mokhtar is "a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth."