Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Malay silence is not golden

An article from Malaysiakini, an online news portal

When Malay silence is not golden

Mariam Mokhtar

The average human brain weighs about 3 lbs and is 80 percent water. When Einstein’s brain was set aside for research, people were surprised that it was not unusually large. Perhaps, we have to remind ourselves that it is not size that matters, but what we do with our brain that really counts.

If there was an opportunity to dissect Malay brains, and separate the brains of extremist Malay/Muslims from the moderate Malays, would we find any differences in the pathological specimens?

Would the extremist brains be abnormally heavy because they were weighted down by the condition known as Ketuanan Melayu? Would the moderate brains show lesions on the lobes which govern speech?

It is a simple question, but no one has been able to answer it: where are the moderate, smart Malays who should speak up about issues which affect all Malaysians?

I pose the question because extremist Malays appear to dominate the affairs of Malaysia. Are the moderates consumed by apathy? Are they afraid of drawing attention? A few may think they are not articulate, or that their views do not matter. Perhaps, the moderates are content to carry on as we have done for the past 54 years; hence their silence.

If they are as disgruntled as the rest of the nation, they must speak out now because their opinions would send a clear message to Umno, that enough is enough.

azlanLast week, Perkasa Youth announced that Muslims should boycott the Bersih 3.0 rally for clean and fair elections on April 28. This extremist NGO insulted Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and called her the “anti-Christ for Muslims” and a “traitor” to the nation. They continued their diatribe by ridiculing the national laureate A Samad Said.

The divisive war-cry 'untuk agama, bangsa dan negara' often used by Umno and their support groups do not seem to perturb the moderate Malays.

Umno will never accept that they do not represent all Malays. Umno fears Malays with a mind of their own. The sedition law, the Internal Security Act and police reports are used against the very few Malays who dare criticise the government. Not because they are “a threat to national security” but because Umno’s existence is threatened.

Using stealth tactics, the Malay is told that his education and the democracy he lives in, are the “best in the world”. Which Malay wants to be accused of besmirching national pride?

Without Malay support, Umno is nothing. Without Umno, MCA and MIC are doomed. Their collective effort has to be to convince the Malay, that Umno is best, even if it means cheating at the 13th general election to continue the BN dictatorship.

Why so timid?

If it were possible to praise Umno, then it is for their brainwashing. Apart from our Malay minds, Umno also controls the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and makes it act in its interests.

Muslim men will recall that in the 1970s, the Friday khutbah (sermons) were apolitical and covered moral issues reminding the congregation of their religious obligations and community duty.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when the premier, changed all that. Mosques have since lost their independence and sermons rarely cover immediate community issues. Nowadays, Friday sermons have to be sanctioned by the religious authority and are a euphemism for Umno political speeches.

Will anyone dare walk out in protest? No. If they did, their Friday prayers are deemed ‘incomplete’. There is little point praying at a different mosque because all mosques will have a similar political message. If this was Indonesia, the congregation would have walked out and sought out other mosques. Why are Malays in Malaysia so timid?

azlanIf Malays are so proud to wear their religion on their sleeve, why do they not demand that the sermons cover corruption issues?

When a Florida preacher threatened to burn the Quran we demanded retribution. When we dragged the head of a cow through the streets or confiscated several thousand copies of the Bible before defacing them, we weren’t even aware of the hypocrisy.

To encourage conversion to Islam, several thousand ringgit are rewarded to the religious person who can convert and marry an Orang Asli woman. He is also given perks like a 4WD and housing. Yet, we are outraged when Malays dine with non-Malays and discuss charitable works. Umno feels insecure when Muslims socialise with non-Muslims.

Last Friday, a police study on rape in Sarawak found that over half the victims were school students. Over 70 percent of the rape victims were Malay and over 40 percent of the rapists were Malay.

The Muslims have seen a rise in religious teaching and strict adherence to faith in their day-to-day living. Foreign music groups and dance troupes face strict religious guidelines. If the results of the police study on rape are anything to go by, increased religion has not made the slightest impact on the Malay psyche.

It is alleged that in Peninsular Malaysia, the highest incidence of incest, underage sex, unmarried mothers, abandoned wives and abandoned babies are from the Malay community. Why are the moderates not questioning this?

When a Malay man takes on a trophy wife as his second, third or fourth acquisition, he quashes any criticism of his actions by saying that it is his right under Islam. He ignores the conditions imposed for polygamy, one of them being that he must have sufficient income to support all his wives equally.

The Malay woman is afraid of complaining because she fears being replaced. Her role as a wife has been reduced to a throw-away commodity. The Malay men who frown on polygamy remain silent on such issues.

new economic policy nepWhen the NEP was first introduced, many Malay lives were transformed. This is no longer true. The new middle-class Malays keep quiet about the abuse of the NEP. They are trapped in their own secure world, fearing they might lose it. They are too selfish to help poorer Malays and the other non-Malays.

The backward Malay mind should stop blaming the non-Malays and other faiths of undermining their existence. If corruption was controlled and cronyism was eliminated, there would be more money for everyone.

Lives would be enhanced. Infrastructure would be improved. Education, medical and community services would be available for all. What is so difficult for the Malay mind to see that and voice it out loud, now? Before it is too late.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak', this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

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