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Mandela's passing brings renewed focus on insidious apartheid system in Malaysia
by Joe Fernandez
2013-12-12 11:55:40
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COMMENT: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, the NGO on human rights, ironically plans a tribute on Dec 12 in Kuala Lumpur to Nelson Mandela who brought down the racist white minority apartheid regime in South Africa. This is somewhat a contradiction in terms since Hindraf signed a RM 4.5 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Umno-led and controlled Barisan Nasional (BN) on the eve of the May 5 General Election this year. The BN forms the Federal Government in Malaysia.

malay02It’s an open secret that Umno is controlled by a tiny minority which has foisted an apartheid-like system on Malaysians, with shades of the caste system, under the guise of looking out for the Malay Nation in Malaya – 50.4 of the population in Malaysia – and the Orang Asal (original people) who form some 12 per cent of the population. These Orang Asal also include Dusun Muslims -- Orang Sungei, Bisaya, and Ranau – and Dayak Muslims, generally Iban, Bidayuh, categorized as Sarawak Malays and other Dayak Muslims like the Melanau and Kedayan. 

Umno has further, in the wake of the British departure on 16 Sept, 1963 from Borneo, imposed a colonialist political structure controlled by its proxies, stooges and rogue elements – three castes -- in Sabah and Sarawak.

Umno Government in Putrajaya needs to be audited for crime of Apartheid

The existence of the colonialist structure has meant that the Federal Government in Putrajaya – the Malayan Government masquerading as the Malaysian Government – has been in non-compliance on the 1963 Malaysian Agreement (MA63). MA63 is the basis, on which the British and the Malayan Government dragged Sabah and Sarawak on 16 Sept, 1963 into the so-called Federation of Malaysia within weeks of their independence i.e. Sabah on 31 Aug, 1963 and Sarawak on 22 July, 1963. There was no Referendum on Malaysia in Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.

The crime of Apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."

On November 30, 1973, the United Nations General Assembly opened for signature and ratification the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. It defined the crime of apartheid as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."

Patently, the Federal Constitution – the codified Malayan Constitution now masquerading as the Malaysian Constitution – had some discriminatory features from the very beginning on behalf of the Orang Asal and the Malays in Malaya. These so-called Malays are drawn from Bugis, Javanese, Minang, Acehnese – Muslims from the Archipelago -- and other Muslims in Malaya who spoke in Malay to communicate with each other. Article 160, Interpretation, of the Federal Constitution defines the Malays as “people who profess the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom, was born before 31 Aug 1957 in Malaya or Singapore, was born of parents one of whom was born before 31 Aug 1957 in Malaya or Singapore, or is the issue of such a person”.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Malayan Prime Minister, coined the political term Bumiputera – son of the soil – to conveniently include the Malay speakers in the same category as the Orang Asal. It further enabled Umno to beat the drums of war on the fictitious theme that Malaya, by extension Malaysia, was the only homeland that the Malays had unlike the pendatang (outsiders) – Indians, Chinese and others – who had India, China etc.  

Malaya, the southern half of the Kra Peninsula, of course was not named after a non-existent Malay race but the Malay language, created from a Cambodian dialect by Hindus and Buddhists from India to be the lingua franca of the Archipelago . . . (a fact reflected today in Malay being the basis of the national languages in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia).

Hence, the term Malay Archipelago came into usage.

None of this matters to the racist propagandists in Umno who continue to keep up their self-serving myths.

Insidious nature of Article 153, NEP, implemented in all its deviations, distortions

Their latest temerity is to self-servingly claim the existence of a Malay Civilisation, conveniently forgetting the basis of a civilization: the invention of a script and contribution to the development of human thought. This is civilization claim something that no self-respecting professional, academician and scientist will dignify with any comment.

The British hacked away the southern half of the Kra Peninsula, Malaya, to plant rubber and mine tin. They herded the Malay squatters into reservations to get them out of the way but also employed them as peons in the administration, mid-level administrators, drivers, and gardeners, policemen and soldiers.

The discrimination institutionalized in the Federal Constitution stems from Article 153 which reserves a reasonable proportion of the opportunities in four specific areas viz. intake into the civil service, intake into institutions of higher learning owned by the government, government scholarships and opportunities from the government to do business, for the Orang Asal and Malays.

In reality, the non-Muslim Orang Asal have been given the short end of the stick on Article 153 and the Umno Government has usurped the power of the King over it to make it a sapu bersih (clean sweep) brush affecting every sector of life in Malaysia.

These deviations and distortions have been further magnified by adopting of the New Economic Policy (1970-1990) whose lifespan has now been indefinitely extended.

The NEP, ostensibly, provides for the eradication of poverty irrespective of race and creed; eliminations the identification of race with economic function and place of residence; and set a target of the Orang Asal and Malays – collectively the Bumiputera – owning, controlling and managing 30 per cent of the corporate wealth of the nation by 1990.

1990 has come and gone, the Orang Asal have nothing but the proverbial shirts on their backs – having been reduced to being an outcaste community of heavers of wood and drawers of water for others – and the Malays have more than 30 per cent of the corporate wealth. Yet, the NEP continues, having been institutionalized in government policies and administration.

The insidious nature of Article 153 and the NEP, being implemented in all its deviations and distortions, has been confirmed by Hindraf itself since the 25 Nov, 2007 uprising of 100,000 Indians on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Local authorities, for example, deny Indians the opportunity to obtain licences to deal in scrap metal, run cendol – a local coconut milk delicacy introduced from Kerala, India --  stalls, and various petty businesses, leave alone bigger businesses. The Umno Government is determined to push the Indian community to the bottom of the dung heap in Malaya. Hence, the RM 4.5 billion MOU ploy this May to deny votes to the Opposition Alliance will continue to be a non-starter.

Christians, Singapore, Opposition seen as threats to Malays and Islam

To add insult to injury, the Indians like other non-Malays have been particularly hard hit by the Umno Government fiddling with public examination marks, under state secrecy laws, to keep out the deserving from Government-run universities and fill them with Malay students, not all of whom deserve to get in. This fiddling even extends to the critical disciplines.

The Indians in particular, long known to dominate the legal and medical professions, have been hit by the Government arbitrarily withdrawing the recognition for degrees in these disciplines from foreign university where the number of Malaysians of Indian origin are unusually high for the Government’s comfort. A case in point is the withdrawal of recognition for medical degrees awarded by the Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) in the Ukraine. Even an appeal by the Ukrainian President failed to persuade the Umno Government to rescind its withdrawal of recognition for the CSMU medical degree.

The list of atrocities perpetrated by Umno under the guise of protecting the Malays and sanctity of Islam goes on and on . . . ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy and dominance), creeping Islamisation, Bumiputeraism, Mahathirism, the colonial occupation of Sabah and Sarawak, the internal colonization of the Indian Nation in Malaya (temple demolishing etc), extra-judicial killings by the police and openly admitted in the media not so long ago by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi whose people came from Java, Indonesia.

The politics of distraction and disruption practised by Umno in cahoots with the government-controlled mainstream media has allowed the ruling elite to put its hands in the National Cookie Jar under the guise of so-called Bumiputeraism and bringing development to the people. Government contracts go for anything from twice to three times to ten times what it should actually cost the tax payer. Every issue in Malaysia is being twisted and turned into a religious and racial issue to scare the Malays into circling the wagons and gathering under the Umno platform. The Malays have degenerated into a community who vote for a living while non-Malays work hard for a living and pay taxes.

The latest from Umno, in the wake of its annual general assembly, is that the country must be helmed by Umno. It’s even being proposed that the 1Malaysia slogan of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration should be substituted with 1Melayu! Najib is a descendent of immigrants from Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Perkasa, Umno’s poodle NGO, has identified the Christians as of the main threats facing “the Malays”. The other threats are Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the Opposition Alliance which won the popular vote but failed to get a majority in Parliament; NGOs; neighbouring Singapore a threat to the Malay-Islam struggle; and liberal neo-Malays “lacking in religion, patriotism and national pride”. These Malays have conflicting loyalties and have the selfish attitude of putting themselves first, according to Perkasa, “idolize the west, hiding behind a democratic system, freedom of expression and human rights”.

Is it stated in the Constitution that this country must be helmed by Umno and the Malays?

Is it stated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963?

The only majority that matters in law is the majority in the legislature -- the state assemblies and Parliament -- not in the streets. While the majority (that in the legislature) has a right to rule, the minority (the losing votes in the General Election under the first past the post system) has the right to be heard. That's the essence of democracy. Malays will never solely comprise the majority in the legislature even if they form 90 per cent of the population. At present, Malays form 50.4 per cent of the population.

High time Malaysia was referred to the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court

The Malays in the streets, Umno, Perkasa its poodle in the lunatic fringe, and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad – the son of immigrants from Kerala, India -- should stop talking about the Malays this, and the Malays that, the Malays should do this and that, towering Malays, the creation of more Malay millionaires to protect the Malays and the sanctity of Islam etc. etc It’s the supreme insult to the memory of Mandela for Najib to equate the so-called struggle of Umno with that of the former’s for human rights and dignity.

There’s some suspicion that Mahathir was in fact born in Kerala – not part of the British Empire -- since his birth was only registered on Dec 20, 1925 in Malaya although he, in his own words, was born on July 20, 1925, also in Malaya according to him. Mahathir had previously claimed, in a politically expedient statement, that he doesn’t know from which part of India his people came and that he has “only one drop of Indian blood”.

The Umno Government also wants to ban Shiite Islam in the country in favour of Sunni Islam under the guise of protecting the sanctity of Islam, whatever it means. Protecting the sanctity of Islam has already since meant the Government declaring that only Muslims can use the term Allah for God, thus prohibiting Christians and Sikhs. The issue is up for Appeal in the Federal Court later this month after the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling and ruled in favour of the Government.

Any move to qualify Islam in Article 3 of the Constitution would be unconstitutional. Sunnah wal Jamaah (Sunni) cannot be considered, notwithstanding the propaganda barrage, to be the only form of Islam in the country. That's contrary to the freedom of worship guaranteed in the Constitution. Article 3(1) read together with 3(4), 4, 11 and 12 clearly shows that Malaysia is a secular nation.

It’s high time that Malaysia, helmed by the Umno Government since 1957, was referred to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court for the unresolved issue of decolonization in Sabah and Sarawak and alleged inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity.

Joe Fernandez is a longtime Borneo watcher who also takes a keen interest in the state of the Indian Nation in Malaya. He has yet to get over his disappointment with Hindraf Makkal Sakthi which signed a non-starter Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Umno-led and controlled Barisan Nasional (BN) which forms the Federal Government . . . http://fernandezjoe.blogspot.com/


Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez is a graduate mature student of law and an educationist, among others, who loves to write especially Submissions for Clients wishing to Act in Person. He also tutors at local institutions and privately. He subscribes to Dr Stephen Hawking’s “re-discovery” of the ancient Indian theory that “the only predictable property of the universe is chaos”. He feels compelled, as a semi-retired journalist, to put pen to paper -- or rather the fingers to the computer keyboard -- whenever something doesn't quite jell with his weltanschauung (worldview) or to give a Hearing to All. He shuttles between points in the Golden Heart of Borneo formed by the Sabah west coast, Labuan, Brunei, northern Sarawak and the watershed region in Borneo where three nations meet. He inspired the creation of the UK-based NGO, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM), and gave it the name. He’s half-way through a semi-autobiographical travelogue, A World with a View... http://fernandezjoe.blogspot.com/


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