Building a society through defeatism: Malay style
By the Kenyan Nomad
Monday, June 14, 2010
Being a student in Malaysia has been useful to me in many ways. You learn many new things, a new country, a new culture, people, food, etc. A beautiful nation with beautiful people, but probably a nation that has the worst political system. When you look from a far, when you see the dazzling Twin Towers , the sky crappers, the trains, the paved roads, the almost all tarmacked lanes, it is beautiful and satisfying, but beyond that, there is stinking political system, one devoid of decency and human good, a godless politics that thrives in indecency, skullduggery and simply outright demagoguery. I remember Malaysia ’s former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saying in 2006, ‘the Malays will do anything to achieve something in politics (or something like that) and that anything includes vomit inducing rhetoric and actions. He was right! He was booted out disgracefully after being stabbed in the back by some of his Cabinet Ministers.
Malaysia’s story is not new, its racial politics, stifling bureaucracy, bulging and ever increasing civil service, third world politics, controlled society, partisan bodies and unthinking religious entities are issues one reads about almost on daily basis. Malaysia is not a nation that has bright future. I remember as a kid, circa 1995 reading somewhere a robust statement made by Prof. Ali Mazrui, recognized as the one of the 100 most influential intellectuals today where he praised the nation and predicted a bright future. Prof. Mazrui was in particular intrigued by the then Deputy Prime Minister
Anwar Ibrahim. One decade later, you won’t hear the Kenyan-American professor talking of Malaysia .
That was when the economy was strong, institutional rot hidden from the public, social discontent minimal, political demagoguery not widely practiced, and Malaysia was surging. Dr. Mahathir and his then Deputy, Anwar Ibrahim were extremely popular in the Muslim (and non Muslim to a large extent) world. They were where the Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is today. Unchallenged and probably unparalleled when measured against fellow Muslim leaders.
Then came 1998, where Dr Mahathir and Anwar clashed over the 1997/8 Asian Financial Crisis and some internal succession politics. Anwar was sacked, brutally beaten and jailed on fabricated charges of sodomy. Dr. Mahathir, realizing Anwar’s appeal both locally and abroad went overdrive to neutralize him. He did it (at least till he left power in 2003) but at the expense of Malaysia. Malaysia has never recovered from that humiliating experience since then and it will never. Make no mistake about it; neither Dr. Mahathir nor Malaysia will recover from that ugly episode.
Anwar today is facing sodomy charges again. The new allegation would even beat the first one in stupidity. At least, in the first one, Malaysians were innocent enough to be shocked. Now, they aren’t. In fact, they have become accustomed to the brutality of the system that they smile, resigned to that fate. Only Chinua Achebe can describe their resignation and hopelessness like he did in his A Man of the People. Foreign students in Malaysia joke about this immoral politics. ‘Why doesn’t Malaysia introduce Bachelor in Sodomology’ they joke. Then they can shout to the world that they can (boleh) as they say in Malaysia .
This is a nation that’s losing its soul, its spiritual side, its human side. It is becoming concrete, merciless, immoral, godless and utterly ruthless. All the signs that the edifice is to come tumbling down are
there, but the elite are interested in one thing: assassinating Anwar and they refuse to see the imminent danger.
But that’s not the subject here; it is the defeatism culture of the Malay leadership. Being a Somali ethnic myself, I’m in no position to blame others or point out their shortcomings, after all, my people
have nothing to be proud of. May be Islam only, and even that Islam, they have rendered it cruel and tribal.
In Malaysia , there are three main races, the Malays who are the majority, the Chinese and the Indians, then there is motley of other races and tribes but politics revolves around the three main ones.
Malaysia ’s greatest challenge has been how to balance the economic disparity between the native Malays and the migrant communities who have made big (at least many of them) in Malaysia . The racial riots of 1969 define Malaysia till today.
After that deadly rioting, a new economic policy (NEP) was formulated. The target was to alleviate Malay poverty (plus the poverty of others), rearrange the economic imbalance, support Malays to get a foothold and make them have at least 30% equity. Four decades later, it stands at 19%. In those four decades, entire countries were built from scratch, of course others failed, but in Malaysia , they couldn't manage one policy in four decades and worse, many continue to insist that the failed policy should be maintained. Like a drug addict who holds on to his fatal drugs, some Malays have become addicts. It is killing them, killing their souls, killing their humanity, killing their spirit, killing their will, killing their dignity, killing their Islam and killing their country.
The trouble is the Malay leadership. Having seen their people have become addicts, they lack the charisma to tell them that the nation must cross a new frontier and meet today’s challenges with new
policies that are effective, economically sound and free of corruption. You can’t stick to a policy that failed. Four decades is what a nation needs to rise, not for a single policy to be implemented.
Of course there is Anwar Ibrahim, always the rabble rouser who called the policy obsolete and formulated a new policy. But rather than debating on the merits of his new policy, the ruling party, UMNO, and its apparatchiks dismissed Anwar as a traitor, IMF funded rogue who wants to destroy the Malays. To me, Anwar is a great leader and UMNO leaders are leaders. The difference between the two is that a great leader takes his people where they don’t want to be but aught to be and a leader takes his people where they want. And when you listen to what your people like PERKASA's Ibrahim Ali and other Manglish speaking, Utusan consuming hordes want, you fail in your leadership role and that’s what’s happening in Malaysia .
In the four to five years that I have been in Malaysia , I have never heard a single Malay leader apart from Anwar Ibrahim and former Finance Minister and UMNO’s only conscientious member (apart from a blogger called Sakmongkol) Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah say the Malays CAN! I always hear, “The Malays are weak, the Malays can’t compete, the Malays don’t have the Chinese civilization, the Malays are not tough enough to survive on their own, the Malays need help, the Malays are under threat” and etc.
Dr. Mahathir, the former PM and a notoriously racial leader continues to stoke the embers of racism and warned the Malays that that they were losing Malaysia to the non-Malays. He knows they aren't losing but his target is to scare villagers into supporting the ruling party and thus prevent his arch-rivals, Anwar and PAS leaders from coming into power. I have no problem with politics, but destructive politics that destroys the very fabric of your nation and mismanages the destiny of that nation is both immoral and evil.
When I hear UMNO Malay leaders humiliate their own people by saying they are weak, can’t compete and need perpetual crutches, I always ask myself: what’s their intention? When you publicly and before the world camera repeat and repeat that your people are a bunch of hapless people, what do you want the world to do? To issue a Guinness World Records' certificate of collective stupidity to your people?
Why not praise your people instead? Why not say my people can? Why not raise up their spirit? Why not show them the opportunities the world has rather than cocooning them here alone? Why not remind them Islam and Allah’s order to Muslims to seek His bounties on earth and toil? A believer doesn't fail and worse, a believer doesn't engage in defeatism. “Ta-Ha. We have not revealed the Quran to you that you may be unsuccessful.” (20-1-2. Holy Quran, Shakir)
There was a Tab’ie (follower of the Prophet’s Companions) who one day came a long two men fighting. One was being humiliated. So he wanted to raise the spirits of the defeated guy. He reminded him of his faith, of his people’s past glories, of his ability, of grandfathers, of his own, and instantly the man was charged. I can’t recollect the entire story but I remember the Tabi’e also said had the other man being the one humiliated, he would have reminded him of many good things and helped him rise.
The moral of the story? Always remind your people of what’s good! Of their past glories to draw lessons, always point to their future. Remind them about their name and dignity. Tell them of the teachings of their faith. Islam is basically about creating success stories, not a whining society that’s hopeless. You are in a fight, a perpetual fight and this fight can’t be won through simplistic ideas. It needs resilience, patience, innovation, faith, sobriety, thinking, good leadership, honest administrators and just leaders (institutions).
This battle needs sacrifice. This battle needs toil and tears. Allah (sw) didn't see it fit to send even His Prophets free food. There is nothing called free here. All our Prophets worked hard and were herdsmen. Why do you think they had to occupy the lowest of jobs to survive? It's meant to remind us work is what’s important and earning halal income is our destiny. Rent-seeking, corruption, sleaze, cronyism and opportunism destroy a nation.
Mukhtar al Bukhary is not a success story. Which part of meeting a minister in his private sitting room and cutting deals is a success? Can he stand tall and be proud? The world would laugh at him, but UMNO says that’s the success of NEP. Poorah! A successful story inspires generations or even nations. Bill Gates inspired nations. He invented something, promoted it and benefited billions. He continues to inspire billions. Can Bukhary do the same? He can’t. When you give Naza 18,000 APs and they make some easy money, it that a success story that can inspire the future Malays? Which part of it is a success?
But we can have a successful Malay community by sticking to the book, rule of law, Godliness, and meritocracy. You deserve: you get, you don’t deserve: you won’t get it. Period! We need to have some policy to help the Malays, but we need results as well. I want to remind the Malays one thing, if you are unjust, you will lose this nation. That’s how God’s creation order works. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “God upholds the just state even if it is unbelieving, but does not uphold the unjust state even if it is Muslim.”
In other words, God would help and sustain a non-Muslim person/state that’s just than a Muslim person/state that is not. This is simple because the Prophets were sent to bring justice and God’s creation order stands on justice. If you want to have NEP, include the Chinese and Indian orphans and widows and the needy among all races. That way, you will continue to rule and prosper. But if you think voting PERKASA and UMNO will make you safe and sustainable, then you are mistaken. You will drown sooner than you can imagine. It is justice that would maintain you and settle for good leadership.
There can no be 100% successful policy or state, but being righteous and godly, being fair and just, being honest and incorruptible helps. And please, for once, defeat PERKASA and PERKASA minded parties. If you don't look inward, if you don't ask critical questions and examine yourselves, if you believe the hyperbole of PERKASA and its financiers, there will come a time when it is too late to salvage this nation and regret comes later. May Allah (sw) bless u all and guide us! Amin!
“And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right. Holy Quran 29: 69)
Update: An anonymous commentator pointed out to a forum (forum.cari) where some Malays are attacking me. Read their bunkum here. Some are even calling me a nigger. kkkkk! I can assure you that I'm whiter than "Malay" Zambry Abdul Kadir. But even if I were a nigger, that's not a problem. I appreciate God's creation. I being black or white is of no consequence. My humanity is what matters.
Please dear Malay brethren, debate the merits of this post and if you believe I may be wrong in some cases, point out and advise by commenting on it. Engaging in an orgy of tribal bashing devoid of any intellectual input justifies what I have wrote here. I love you and only God knows how Much. My criticism is genuine and from a Muslim brother who feels your pain but believes things have to change because the world is not waiting for you. Wassalam!