MALAYs Before MALAYsia
Lim Kit Siang, the advicer to DAP, tried to create A STORM OUT OF A TEA CUP recently by inducing Muhyiddin to commit a stand that ‘He is Malay first…. then Malaysian’ . DAP and Pakatan leaders and bloggers are USING Muhyiddin’s answer to claim that his thinking is not in line with the ‘1Malaysia’ concept introduced from DAY ONE of Najib’s premiership. After days, the echoes of the debate is still loud and strong.
The question by Lim Kit Siang, and the answer it induced, attracted certain degree of interest, especially among those who have been seeking to ‘uncover’ the slightest hair-line difference between Najib and his deputy Muhyiddin. After failing to find any after over a year, they finally ‘got’ something, out of nothing though…
All Malaysians, DAP supporters included, are fully aware that after over 50 years of independence, the multi-racial Malaysia HAS NOT blended into a single new MALAYSIAN RACE, its multi-religious population HAS NOT blended into a single MALAYSIAN RELIGION, and its multi-cultural society HAS NOT blended into a single MALAYSIAN CULTURE.
Despite that, Malaysians have been living together in PEACE and HARMONY, and until quite RECENT PAST, had seldom raised questions with regards to what had been agreed among the forefathers of major races in the run up to FULL INDEPENDENCE of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, or the Federation of Malaya, in 1957. They have been working together for themselves, and indirectly for the country, and together they built Malaysia into one of ECONOMIC TIGERS OF ASIA, catapulting it into one of TOP 20 TRADING NATIONS on earth, and by mid-1990s, became HOME to the tallest TWIN-TOWERS in the world.
All were possible due to the prolonged PEACE, STABILITY and PROSPERITY. Malaysia has been a showcase of UNITY DESPITE DIVERSITY. However, Malaysian approach in achieving UNITY DESPITE DIVERSITY is much more liberal compared to other Southeast-asia neighbours. In Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, their citizens from among DESCENDENTS OF IMMIGRANT CHINESE were ‘forced’ to assimilate into the CULTURE of the indigenous people. They have to change their names to indigenous-sounding names, they have to speak in the NATIVE LANGUAGE, and they have to send their children to NATIONAL SCHOOLS where the medium or teaching is in INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES. As such, in those countries taking the route of ASSIMILATION, all the decendents of both the IMMIGRANTS and the INDIGENOUS were identified as Indonesians, Philipinos and Thais respectively. The Chinese in Indonesia, the Philipines and Thailands do not have to be identified as Indonesian Chinese, Philippines Chinese or Thailand Chinese anymore, as they have been ASSIMILATED into their respective INDIGENOUS CULTURES.
The Chinese in Malaysia are MUCH LUCKIER. They are given ABSOLUTE FREEDOM to speak their various CHINESE DIALECTS, live their life according to their culture and religion, have the option to send their children to Chinese-typed schools, the Chinese New Year has been made PUBLIC HOLIDAYS for all Malaysians. Malaysian Federal Constitution even protects the use of vernacular languages , including VARIOUS CHINESE DIALECTS and allowed them even to run their own schools in their vernacular languages.
Since Malaysia managed to have UNITY DESPITE DIVERSITY, is there a necessity to compel everybody to speak the same NATIONAL LANGUAGE in their everyday life, in Malaysia its Bahasa Melayu? And is there a necessity to force every soul to adhere to one NATIONAL RELIGION, in Malaysia its ISLAM. And is there a necessity to make everyone to forget their vernacular cultures, and adopt one single NATIONAL CULTURE, in Malaysia its the Malay culture?
That seems to be what most, if not all, Malaysians want. The Malays prefer to speak Bahasa Melayu in their daily life, practice Malay culture, and adhere to the religion of Islam. The Chinese prefer to speak their Chinese dialects, follow the culture of their forefathers and adhere to various religions and beliefs. The same goes to Indians and other ethnics of Sabah and Sarawak.
BUT, if Malaysians were to agree to SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE, LIVE THE SAME CULTURE and ADHERE THE SAME RELIGION, fit to be called MALAYSIAN LANGUAGE, MALAYSIAN CULTURE and MALAYSIAN RELIGION, inevitably they have to be based on Bahasa Melayu, Malay culture and religion of Islam. After all, its only the Bahasa Melayu, Malays and Islam, which have featured PROMINENTLY in our Federal Constitution.
Until all races and ethnics can readily accept the Malay-related language, culture and religion, Malaysians will remain polarised by their respective languages, cultures and religions. Until then, all will identify themselves more as Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnicities, before they identify themselves as MALAYSIANS.
Since Malay-related language, culture and religion has been the most prominently FEATURED in our Federal Constitution, and the most WIDELY practiced in Malaysians everyday life, they will inevitably the MOST APPROPRIATE basis for single NATIONAL language, culture and religion. Without Malay-related language, culture and religion, there will be NO SINGLE national language, culture and religion.
In this sence, Malays comes first, then Malaysia.