Malay Dignity Congress – Response To Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

The following write up is taken from a Twitter thread written by Giovanni.

  1. The implication that the Malay race is under threat is nothing short of laughable. If anything, Malays are the most privileged majority to ever live off this land.
  2. The Malay, according to our Constitution, does not even have an ethnic definition. Malays are people who “profess the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom, and was born in the Federation of Malaya prior to independence”.
  3. Speaking on the subject of indigenous and non-indigenous, the Malays are *not* an indigenous people. If they were, we wouldn’t be referring to anyone as “orang asli”. The term would be redundant.
  4. The Malay Dignity Congress, emphasis on “Malay”, was definitely not a council of indigenous people discussing their rights. It was of people who identified as Malay, a race deemed SO SACRED that they were given special rights in Article 153 and our National Economic Policy.
  5. The Malay race is so sacred that by definition, a person who renounces Islam, stops speaking Malay, and/or doesn’t practice Malay culture – can disqualify from being a Bumiputera.
  6. If we look at the ethnic definition of Malay, it includes anyone native of the Malay Archipelago, Indonesia and Singapore. Malays today cannot 100% say they are natives of the land.
  7. By constitutional definition, an Indian/Chinese can automatically become a Malay by marrying into a Malay family and converting to Islam. He would start speaking Malay and practicing their culture too.
  8. Essentially, the council you attended was not one to safeguard Malays’ position, it was to reinforce the idea of Malay supremacy. Like it’s not bad enough that said supremacy is already embedded in our Constitution.
  9. In your thread, you also mentioned “As usual, there were extreme views”. Does this mean you are excusing the extreme views because overall the views are “moderate”, whatever that may be?
  10. Tun, with all due respect, the fact that your grandfather is a direct immigrant from India, means there are more Chinese/Indian youth in this country with a longer “indigenous” line in Malaysia than your very own parentage.
  11. To be calling Chinese/Indians/lain-lain “non-indigenous” is frankly an insult to the identity we “non-indigenous” people have formed over the last few centuries in this country.
  12. In response to “other multiracial countries”, let’s use the example of America – the epitome of multiculturalism. Sure, racism wasn’t gone in a day. But the very essence of being American simply means being an immigrant who has assimilated into the American culture.
  13. In America, people still identify with their racial origin, of course. However at the end of the day they are all Americans. A little closer to home, let’s look at Indonesia and how well they’ve managed to create a NATIONAL identity instead of a racial one.
  14. Regardless of being native or Chinese, they all identify as Indonesians and speak a national language. It might take centuries to become like America, but with some effort and a little less ego, we at least could start with being more like Indonesia.
  15. Malaysians are obsessed with preserving racial identity, even the non-Malays. The Malays start a congress, the Chinese and Indians follow suit because they feel threatened. The notion of racial congress crumbles under its own logic because it’s not threatened to begin with.
  16. So yes. The fact that a race that’s in a position in power, protected by the constitution, and leading in population… STILL wants to have a congress to reinforce their supremacy – IS racist.
  17. If your council was really discussing indigenous rights, true indigenous people like the Dayaks would be included. Instead they are still living in poverty and being discriminated because they don’t worship the same God.
  18. Oh and Tun, please don’t pretend that giving citizenship to people is a privilege non-Bumis didn’t deserve. Naturalization is a RIGHT. “Kedudukan istimewa”, on the other hand, is a privilege.

About the author

Being born into a mixed race family, Giovanni had the pleasure and displeasure of experiencing both sides of the racism coin – being mistaken for a Malay but not getting the benefits of a Malay because of what it says in his Identity Card. He regularly tweets as @malaysia2stay.