The Elephant in the Room

Dr Mahathir resigned from UMNO Baru and called everyone to come together to get rid of Najib. Is it to serve his own ends or for the national good? That is the billion dollar question.

Many have insisted that cooperation is conditional on addressing other issues also – not just getting rid of Najib and then we are back to the same old situation which the new leader can exploit; it should be said that Mahathir is responsible for much of the mess we are in.

These people have called for an independent anti-corruption agency, a police which is not politicised, addressing our flawed judiciary, better governance and an electoral system that is fair, transparent and which really reflects the population.

I can’t help but notice that they have thought of everything except the elephant in the room – Bumiputraism.

Whether we like to admit it or not, Bumiputraism is the source of most of our problems.

Let’s examine this claim:

The greatest damage Bumiputraism has done to our country is to drive a wedge between those who have been anointed “sons of the soil” and those who have not. What is the basis to say that so and so is ‘a son of the soil’ – surely not their origin for the original inhabitants of this land are the Temiars, Jakuns, Sengoi, etc. and the natives of Sarawak and Sabah. The rest of us came from other lands, near and far.  I dare venture that many Malays have shallower roots here than some Chinese or Indians. Indeed like the disgraced ex-Menteri Besar of Selangor Khir Toyo, many came over very recently.  So there is really no historical basis for this category of citizenship called Bumiputra; unless it is confined to the Orang Asli and the natives of East Malaysia. In fact the term did not exist in our original constitution – we were all Malayans.

Bumiputraism makes national unity impossible.
“My friend, the one free race we dream of seems so distant from reality
My anger turns to sorrow when they drive a wedge between us
The distance grows, I get the title ‘bumiputra’ and not you” – Usman Awang.

The concept of citizenship has been described thus:

“Citizenship which is conferred upon a person after the fulfillment of certain legal and sometimes cultural requirements entitles him to the same rights and responsibilities as the earlier or original inhabitants of the land. Once citizenship is acquired no distinction is made. Theoretically everyone is completely equal.” – Chandra Muzaffar.

Bumiputraism has certainly emboldened the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who, in the name of defending Malay rights, have looted the country with impunity. What they did benefited them and their cronies, not the Malay masses.

We are less competitive because we have not used our best talents. In a globalised economy we have to compete with others. The world is not bothered with our internal politics – it doesn’t owe us a living. Does it matter if it is a Malay, Kadazan, Indian or Chinese who is in charge? Everyone benefits if we are progressive and prosperous – the colour of the cat should not matter, as long as it catches mice. Until we maximise our human potential we will not be competitive.

It has led to a second rate civil service and police and public universities (which produce second-rate graduates and so the vicious cycle continues).

The cost of living goes up for everyone – including Malays. How not to when you award someone the right to collect money by sticking a hologram to the things we buy under the guise of protecting us against counterfeit, or make secret deals with the toll operators or add millions to a contract because someone wants his cut.

If we want to put our country right then we have to honestly tackle the Bumiputra issue. Getting rid of one prime minister and addressing issues ad hoc without dealing with the fundamental cause does not do the job. It is only kicking the can down the road. We ignore the elephant in the room at our own peril.

Yin – the man from TR

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