Malays, the Original Owners of Tanah Melayu.
Despite the terms of SOCIAL CONTRACT agreed upon by major races prior to the independence of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu in 1957, and the inclusion of the terms of Social Contract into the Federal Constitution, there have been increasing voices of dissent against the MALAY-CENTREDNESS of the Constitution, especially among the opposition-inclined non-Malays. Major points of dissent include the SPECIAL POSITION of Malays and the bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak.
Failing to shake the STRONG FOUNDATIONS of the Federal Constitution, they are now attempting to work their way around, by questioning whether the Malays were truly the original owners of this Tanah Melayu. They are trying hard to create a perception that the Malays are ALL originally from neighbouring Indonesia, and that the original people of Malaysia are only the Orang Asli. Through certain blogs, they are putting up questions like who were the first to arrive in Tanah melayu, the CHINESE, the INDIANS or the INDONESIANS. To them, the landing here of Indonesians is the same as the landing here of Malays. The main problem with this group of people is they tend to shy away from ACCEPTED FACTS OF HISTORY. Its is perhaps to their advantage to leave facts of history as POINTS OF CONTENTION rather than POINTS OF FACTS.
It is not difficult to understand that for some, its PAINFUL to be reminded again and again the facts that their forefathers were brought in by the British to work as coolies in tin mines and rubber estates, at a time when their forefathers’ homelands were not able to provide them decent living, if not unbearable to live in. And it is HURTFUL to them to be reminded that the coming of their forefathers during the British rule was compatible to the coming of Indonesian and Bangladeshi workers to our country today.
Those who are creating the perception that the Malays are ALL from Indonesia are UTTERLY IGNORANT of our regional history. No doubt, Tanah Melayu and other islands of Indonesia were part of larger entity known as the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO. And no doubt, before or after the formation and independence of the Republic of Indonesia from the Dutch in 1945, there were free to-and-fro movements of Malays within various parts of the Archipelago. This explains the fact that certain Malays who settled down in Tanah Melayu were from different parts of present day Indonesia, eg. the Minangs are from western Sumatra, the Javanese are from the island of Java , the Banjars are from Kalimantan and the Bugis were from the Island of Sulawesi.
However, majority of Malays were and are NATIVES of Tanah Melayu. The Malays who were natives of Tanah Melayu established older Malay kingdoms, hundreds of years before the coming of Parameswara, the Malay/Hindu prince from Palembang in Sumatra, the former ‘epi-centre’ of the declining Malay kingdom of Seri Vijaya. The native Malays established their settlements around major river mouths like Pekan(Sungai Pahang), Kuala Trengganu(Sungai Trengganu), Kota Bharu(Sungai Kelantan), Kuala Kangsar(Sungai Perak) and Kuala Selangor(Sungai Selangor).
Whilst the Malay settlements developed into ports and towns, the Orang Asli continued with their normadic life in the jungles of Tanah Melayu. Every year, they would choose different parts of the equatorial jungles, to be burned down and cleared for cultivation of rice and other fruits. After the harvest, they would move to other areas of the jungle, in search for other fertile lands for cultivation. They never settled down in any place, and never registered their territorial rights over any part of the dense jungle.
Based on the above, its not difficult to establish the ORIGINAL OWNERS of this part of the world known as Tanah Melayu, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu and MALAYsia. Between the Malays and the Orang Asli, the Malays were the first to set up POLITICAL STRUCTURE within the region. The Malay Kingdom of Langkasuka, located over an area covering present day Kedah and Patani in southern Thailand, were known to have ruled over the whole of Malay Archipelago between 2nd-5th AD. One of the earliest explorers, the Greek Ptolemy who sailed through the Malacca Straits in 2nd AD, confirmed the existence of Malay settlements governed by Malay chiefs along the east coast of Sumatra and the west cost of Tanah Melayu. The ‘epi-centre’ of Malay rules then shifted to the Malay Kingdom of Seri Vijaya, centred in Palembang, Sumatra which flourished between 5th-12th AD. This was followed by the Majapahit Empire(12th-14th AD) and later by the Malay Sultanate of Malacca(14th-16th AD).
Besides the major ‘epi-centres’ of Malay rule, there were independent Malay kingdoms and sultanates established all over the Malay Archipelago, including the Malay Sultanate of Patani in southern Thailand, Malay Sultanates of Brunei which used to rule the whole the island of Borneo, the Malay Sultanate of Sulu in southern Philipines, the Malay Sultanate of Samudera Pasai in Acheh Sumatra, the Malay Sultanate of Deli in Medan Sumatra, and other Malay Sultanates in Malay lands of Sulawesi, Kalimantan and others.
Malaysians of Chinese and Indian forefathers, most of whom granted citizenship of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu in 1953, not long before the first General Election in 1954, should not try to deny political history of the region in discussing Malaysian politics of today. Malays would uphold firmly the MALAY-CENTREDNESS of our Federal Constitution, which took into consideration the historical, political, religious and cultural backdrop of our region. And they would not tolerate any effort to DISTORT facts of history that the Malays were the ORIGINAL OWNERS of Tanah Melayu, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu and MALAYsia.