FRANCIS PAUL SIAH
COMMENT | For obvious reasons, I have refrained from obtaining feedback from non-Malay friends in Sarawak on the Malay Dignity Congress that was held in Shah Alam on Sunday, Oct 6.
I have heard enough from Chinese and Indian leaders here in Malaya and I do not expect my non-Malay friends to say anything different from what have already been said.
I can expect the same bashing and roasting of the organisers, particularly those who made racially-charged speeches; those who made demands deemed ludicrous and out of line and even against Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had willingly allowed himself to be caught in the crossfire.
I sent this question, “What are your views on the Malay Congress and its aftermath? Share your thoughts”, to several Malay friends in Sarawak yesterday.
Seven of them responded and this is the gist of their replies:
1) The early warning signs that it would be a controversial event were not heeded by the organisers. The trouble with Malays in Malaya is that in whatever they do, they do not take the Malays in Sabah and Sarawak into consideration. Everything they do is for themselves. We, Sarawak Malays, are already a dignified race. We would never ever dream of organising a Malay Dignity Congress. In fact, all the races in Sarawak are as dignified as we are right now. We can never agree with the statement that “Malaysia belongs to the Malays”. I consider that a hate speech.
2) It was a totally unnecessary exercise with nothing to prove. Am sure Sabah and Sarawak are worried that such an event took place. Why hold a Malay Dignity event? Totally unnecessary!
3) Talking about Malay dignity, we Malays must be dignified and there is no need to point fingers at anybody. It must come from the inside, each and every one of us must improve ourselves in all aspects.
4) I didn’t follow the event and I didn’t listen to the speeches, Mahathir’s included. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have it because of the already polarising situation in the country.
5) I heard from both Malay and non-Malay friends. Malay said: Same old story. Mahathir delivered same message 20 years ago. Malays angry for being labelled as lazy and never change. Prof Zainal Kling talks like he is still in the ’60s. No impact to the nation, just a platform to bash non-Malay ministers. Non-Malay commented: Racist speakers. A platform just to condemn other races. Not helping the rakyat to improve themselves. My conclusion: It was possibly organised to prove that Malays are with the government and to counter the Umno/PAS rally. No economic impact at all. Instead, Malays will become more backward, worrying about what’s in store for them. Not what we should do for our nation.
6) To me, the Malay Congress was a joke. I was invited by UM to discuss the Malay political agenda at the university level. Even the resolutions were “hijacked” by Umno frogs who tried to influence Mahathir and they were good at it. Hopefully, Mahathir secures the Malay support. But, whatever positive outcome Pakatan Harapan and Umno had expected from the congress was destroyed by Mahathir with his repetitive bashings of the Malays.
7) Melayu di Malaya syiok sendiri!
Of my seven friends who responded, two are serving Members of Parliament, three are active politicians in GPS and Harapan parties in Sarawak while two others are civil servants.
They represent a wide cross-section of Malays in Sarawak.
All have given permission to be quoted but wish to remain anonymous.
Of Sarawak’s population of 2.8 million, 32 percent are Malays/Muslims. This means that 896,000 Sarawakians are Malays/Muslims.
I will not partake in commenting further on the congress but I have this message for Zainal Kling (photo) and his ilk.
Your so-called Malay Dignity Congress does not include 896,000 Malays/Muslims in Sarawak. They want no part of it.
You do not speak on their behalf even though they are also Malays and Malaysians.
When you declared that “Malaysia belongs to the Malays”, it is clear that 896,000 Malays/Muslims in Sarawak do not agree with you. They want to tell you that Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.
Neither did they give their consent to the race-based demands made at the congress. They do not wish to have anything to do with Malay racists and extremists in Malaya.
Count the Malays in Sabah and many more Zaid Ibrahim and Syed Husin Ali in Malaya, you and your undignified group are probably left with representing only the few thousands who turned up at the congress.
In case Zainal Kling has not heard, even Isma president Aminuddin Yahaya has described Sunday’s congress as a worthless event which failed to achieve its objective.
To the academicians from the four universities who initiated the event, it might be worth your while to learn from your fellow Malays in Sarawak.
Simple folks they might be from Borneo, but they are already a dignified race. Sarawak Malays must have been riding on the right track of race relations all along.
Surely, something must be wrong somewhere if a section of Malays in Malaya feel that they have no dignity left or that their dignity has been threatened.
Perhaps, they need to search deeper into their hearts and soul to find out where they had gone wrong.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org