Malaysia is a multi-racial society. Of the 27.5 million population, 53.3% are Malays, 26.0% Chinese, 7.7% Indians, 11.8% Other Bumiputeras and 1.2% others. We are also a multi-religious society, with 60.4% Muslims, 19.2% Buddhists, 9.1% Christians, 6.3% Hindus and 5.0% others. (Source: Web)
The above statistics itself is very telling. Although all Malays are by definition Muslims, there are people of other ethnicity who are also Muslims. On the other hand, not all Indians are Hindus. In fact, almost 20% of Malaysian Indians are either Muslims or Christians.
Lately there have been plenty of debates in which the non-Malays tend to indicate that the Malays are the racist lot. I beg to differ.
Historically, the Malay Peninsula population comprise of mainly Malays. During the British occupation, by design and using their divide and conquer doctrine, the British allowed influx of immigrants from China and India to settle in the Peninsula. Unfortunately, nobody keeps track of the actual number these immigrants whose descendants now ended up as Malaysian citizens. Maybe, if we were to conduct an actual and detailed census, almost all of Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians would have less than 200 years of ancestry history in what is now known as Malaysia. During the occupation, the British occupiers had managed to shrink the Malay population to less than 60%. (In fact Singapore, which was previously part of the Johor Sultanate, the Malay population has shrunk to 13.6%, with the Chinese dominating at 75.2%. They have also changed the history to now state that it was Stamford Raffles who founded Singapore, and not Sang Nila Utama).
Fortunately the Malays have the political control of the country. It is a known fact that the economy is mostly controlled by the Chinese. It was even worse before the New Economic Policy. The NEP had a beneficial impact in that the Malays (53.3% of the population) now have 18% of the Malaysian economic cake.
If we look at the Federal and State Government agencies, I would say that the Malays, Chinese and Indians are fairly represented. However, it is noted that the Chinese are largely reluctant to work with the Government or with the Government agencies as they would prefer to work with the private sector.
In the private sector, almost all of the Malay-controlled organisations would have Chinese and/or Indians in the top management level. Just look at DRB-HICOM, MMC, AmInvestment, Syabas, Ranhill, Scomi and many others. The same goes to Government-linked companies such as Tenaga, Telekom, Khazanah, Sime Darby, Proton, MAS, UEM, UMW, Maybank, MISC, CIMB, RHB, Petronas and others. Chinese and Indians would have their people occupying top level posts in those Malay-controlled organisations.
Even in Malaysia’s top regulatory agencies such as Bank Negara and Securities Commission, the Chinese and Indians are well represented in the top management as well as the middle management. Other agencies, Bursa Malaysia, MIDA, for example would also have good level of non-Malay representations.
On the other hand, we hardly see Malays being given meaningful top level posts in Chinese or Indian-controlled companies and organisations. Not Public Bank, not IOI, not YTL, not Berjaya, not Resorts World, not Star, not Selangor Pewter, not Oriental, not Hong Leong, not Multi-Purpose, not TA. And the list goes on. In fact, MCA is reluctant to make public the figures on racial composition in top level management position of Chinese-controlled companies. The statistics would surely put them in a bad light.
Indian-controlled companies are not spared. Look at Petra, for example. Another example would be Westport, controlled by Gnanalingam. You would see a significant number of the employees in Westport to be Indians. In fact, the Indians tend to be more racist, in the sense that they would have their kind to control almost everything in any Indian controlled organisation.
If we look further and examine the vendors who are servicing the Chinese and Indian controlled companies, you will hardly see any Malays. The Chinese controlled companies will give business to Chinese vendors with almost zero Malay top management level employees. The Indian controlled companies will support their Indian vendors with almost 100% Indian employees.
In most of the Chinese and Indian-controlled companies, the Malays are there as mere “Government-liaison officers”. The Malays are to ensure that the company operations which would require approval and/or communications with the Government agencies run smoothly. These liaison personnel are generally well paid, and given high post, and introduced as top level management personnel.
In Multi-National Companies, the Chinese would thrive. The Chinese would tend to clique with themselves and bad mouth about the Malays. The Malays would generally end up as being marginalised in MNCs, not because of their poor performance, but because the mostly non-Malay top level personnel would overlook their potential.
The Chinese would only look up to the Malay if the he is in approval-authority position. Otherwise, they would not give a damn. (Unless, may be, if you are rich enough to get their attention. Then again, they may want some business from you).
So, when Khalid Ibrahim appointed a Chinese to helm PKNS, I really wondered whether he was cognisant of the facts on the ground. As a former CEO of PNB and Guthrie, Khalid Ibrahim should know the game well. Once you appoint Chinese in the top helm, they will ensure that a lot of Chinese vendors would be cannibalising procurements from the Malay Bumiputera entrepreneurs. This happened even in GLCs where the procurement officers are Chinese.
The Chinese and the Indians are crying for a Bangsa Malaysia. In order for us to achieve that, we should firstly abandon the Chinese and Indian schools, and settle with National school in which all the major languages are taught.
Most Chinese who are educated at Chinese schools tend to be racist. They will clique with themselves in the office, and speak Chinese in front of other races. We also need some hard statistics on the percentage of Chinese students enrolled in Chinese schools. The numbers would be alarming. The way Penang DAP is controlling the information (by giving them out only to Chinese newspapers), the Chinese would become more racist and anti-Malay.
The Indians, on the other hand, are racist by culture and upbringing. The Hindus have their own castes. Indians who are Christians tend to behave as if they are better being than the other Indians. The Ceylonese tends to behave like they are better being than the continental Indians. The Sikhs from Punjabi would not want to be associated with those originating from Bengal. And the list goes on.
The Hindraf is violently racist. They are only 6.3% of the Malaysian population, but they acted as if they are the Bumiputera in this country. As the name suggests, Hindraf objective is to fight for the rights for the Indians, they are prepared to take the necessary action (including force) to secure the rights. I will never forget their vile memorandum to the Queen. And they dare say that the Malays as the ones who are racists. They, inter alia, made an absurd claim that the Malays committed genocide against the Malaysian Indians.
The Hindraf modus operandi was to use their strength in numbers. They would only organise something with a large number of their supporters. They will not organise something with less than five persons. And they will ensure that their fellow Indian reporters would be there to cover the stories.
You may have noticed that the Hindraf stories and other issues against the Malays were very well covered by the newspapers and popular online news websites. You may also notice that most of the stories were written by Indian journalists who are inclined to support this movement. And look at the senior journalists in mainstream newspapers: We have Gunasegaram at The Star, we previously had Brendan at NST (Brendan used NST to bash Mahathir, and Mahathir’s policies in strengthening the Malays economic position), Shanmugam at The Edge and Financial Daily (he wrote about dismantling 30% Bumiputera requirement recently), Baradan Kuppusamy at Malaysian Insider, Jayasankaran at Business Times Singapore, senior writers at The Star, The Edge, Sun, Financial Daily, Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insider and others. When they write, they think of themselves as Indian first, and Malaysian second.
They also have prominent supporters such as Ambiga, President of the Bar Council, Ramon Navarantam and others, who will echo and make louder calls for “racial indiscrimination”. Some Indian judges have now started to make judgements that were leaning towards “the other party”.
Unfortunately too, the Chinese and Indians who reside overseas to work would more often than not be fierce critiques of Malaysia. Those residing in Singapore would condemn Malaysia to the maximum. Journalists working for Singapore Straits Times, Singapore Business Times, AP, Reuters etc would use their journalistic skills to belittle Malaysia (or Malays) at the slightest opportunity. Just see how far they will try to mock and ridicule the latest Fatwa on yoga. Just see how much they were “hurt” by the latest ruling which is only applicable to Muslims.
In the meantime, the Malays are in defensive mode. No thanks to Pak Lah, who cannot even handle internal bickering in his own party. No thanks to Anwar, whose main aim is to be the Prime Minister, no matter what damage he has done to the Malays (with his rhetoric of Ketuanan Rakyat vs Ketuanan Melayu). No thanks to Hadi Awang, who would prefer to work with vocally anti-Islam DAP and the Hindraf sympathisers rather than UMNO.
The Malays should reclaim prominent positions as senior journalists in mainstream media. The Malays should reclaim prominent positions in the Bar Council. The Malays should also articulate their position clearly in alternative media such as the internet.
This is not because of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy). But this more of upholding the Malay dignity (maruah) and spirit enshrined the Constitution.
So, let us face the fact: The Malays are the least racist of them all. Because on average, the Chinese are actually racist. Because by and large, most Indians are more racist then the Chinese. And because most Malays are, by culture and religion, very tolerant against the other races. The Malaysian racial harmony exists because the majority Malay population embrace a culture of give and take. I hope that this culture of tolerance will continue. But the Chinese and Indians should not continue to take advantage of the tolerance any longer.