Malay Supremacy NOT ‘Ketuanan Melayu’

A newspiece in MALAYSIAN INSIDER yesterday echoed what appears to me a BLATANT misinterpretation of the term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’. Part of the newspiece read like this:

…………..”Their defence of BTN follows a decision by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) governments in Selangor, Kelantan and Penang to bar its civil servants from attending the course. A number of former participants — who are mainly Malay — have also come out to attack the course as racist and suggested that it was used as a propaganda tool to maintain support for Umno’s concept of “Ketuanan Melayu,” or Malay supremacy.”

Now I begin to understand why certain section of non-Malays are not very comfortable with the term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’, when it is interprated as MALAY SUPREMACY. The fact is, ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and MALAY SUPREMACY are not the same. The term ‘supremacy’ means ‘unchallenged power’. So, the term ‘Malay supremacy’ would give the meaning of ‘Malay unchallenged power’. This is NOT what ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ means.

The term ‘ketuanan’ comes from the root word ‘tuan’, meaning owner, as being used in the phrases TUAN TANAH, meaning land owner, TUAN RUMAH, meaning the house owner and TUAN KEDAI, meaning owner of the shop. A TUAN TANAH may not be rich or powerful, but he is the LAND OWNER. This follows that, the term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ is more associated with ‘ownership’ rather than ‘supremacy’.

Deep in the heart of ALL Malays, they hold on strongly to the fact of history that the Malays were the ABSOLUTE OWNERS and RULERS of this part of the world known worldwide as the TANAH MELAYU, which was part of a bigger entity called the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO. To illustrate this, when the British were interested to lease Penang as their outpost, they seeked audience and signed agreements with the Malay Sultan of Kedah. And when the British were interested to lease Singapore(formerly known as Tumasik), they seeked audience and signed agreements with the Malay Sultan of Johore. Meaning, the whole world recognised the SOVEREIGNTY of the Malay Sultans over their respective Malay States. SOVEREIGNTY, in layman’s term is OWNERSHIP.

The term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’  is a re-affirmation that despite the multi-racial composition of our present day Malaysia. the Malays are holding certain SPECIAL POSITION in view of their ancestoral status as the OWNERS and RULERS of the Tanah Melayu. And elements of these are now part and parcel of our Federal Constitution.

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4 Comments on “Malay Supremacy NOT ‘Ketuanan Melayu’”

  1. Iskandar Says:

    What is Ketuanan Melayu? I invite all of you, whether you are the proponent or the opponent of the concept Ketuanan Melayu to express your thoughts here-

    http://riskandar.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-is-ketuanan-melayu.html

    • warisan tmk Says:

      Sdra Iskandar,

      In addition to two of my writings already dispatched to you, let me put it this way.
      Non-Malays will never be happy until the Malays are stripped of their IDENTITY and POWER, just like the Malays in Singapore.

  2. Dr Sinbab Says:

    Yes indeed, when we talk about origin of the Malay surely we are the people originated around this place, and no doubt about the supremacy of ownership of the place we born. Like the British in the UK, or the Indian in India or the Chinese in China.

    So what is ketuanan Melayu? Nothing it has no meaning unless we talk about the origin of the group of people in one area or a place.

    Those who immigrated into these areas are of course the migrants no matter what you called them. Everybody knows that, even if they wanted to lie about it. Deep in their heart, they know it.

    The problem is that when too much political power was given to these group, by force or by nature. They use it as a power factor to own the other group’s supremacy.

    • warisan tmk Says:

      Dr Sinbad,

      Most Malays know deep in their heart the meaning of the commonly used ‘Ketuanan Melayu’. However, when asked to explain the meaning of the term, they tend to vary quite a bit.

      As stated in my initial posting, I do not see ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ from SUPREMACY point of view, or from MASTER-SLAVE points of view, as PROVOCATIVELY floated about by those who are ALLERGIC with the term.

      During the British intervention years, the real SUPREMACY was with the British, yet the ‘Ketuanan’ remained with the Malays, represented by the Malay Sultans. Even when the British were temporarily defeated by the Japanese, the ‘Ketuanan’ still remained with the Malays, with the Japanese regarded as the coloniser.

      From here, we can see that ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ is NEITHER about Malay Supremacy in term of physical/political power NOR about Malay being a master race.

      ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ can only mean ‘Malays exclusive ancestoral rights as the original owners and rulers’ of what were internationally recognised as Tanah Melayu.

      Malays could be victorious or defeated, but their ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ over lands formerly called Tanah Melayu will forever remain, to cherished and defended, to the last drop of their sweat and blood.


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