Here’s the reason why Malaysia will never have a national identity, that of the sanctioned Bangsa Malaysia, a common 'Malaysian race', as a national unifying identity, like say, Australians, Singaporeans, French, Thai, Indonesians or Americans. The principal objective of Bangsa Malaysia is thus to unify the various ethnic groups of Malaysia through a common identity, enhancing the 'us' and eliminating the 'them'.
One of the leaders of the ruling coalition party had rejected it as a threat to his cherished Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay supremacy (or dominance). He sees the vital importance of continuing Malay political dominance.
Johor UMNO chief Abdul Ghani Othman criticised the Bangsa Malaysia concept as totally unacceptable because it meant a rojak (mishmash) of races in the country. I would have thought that was/is the whole idea of Bangsa Malaysia, to evolve a unified nationality. Besides, we Malaysians know that rojak tastes a whole lot better than its individual constituent components.
We may take it that he wants the races in Malaysia to continue to be different and separated, just the way he prefers them to be. In his value system, races in Malaysia should continue to be ethnic identified, so that the Malays could maintain its ethnic identity intact and unsullied, with all the attendant political and economic benefits.
In fact, he confirmed this by saying the proposed unified national identity of Bangsa Malaysia would represent a threat to the Malays and the special position provided for them in the Constitution.
He warned ominously that the Bangsa Malaysia concept, if subjected to abuse can threaten national stability, but he failed to define what his term ‘abuse’ means.
Ghani would only grudgingly allow use of the Bangsa Malaysia term provided it is only applied in the context of the Malays as the pivotal race of the peoples of Malaysia – essentially upholding the non-negotiability of Ketuanan Melayu which in turn signals the Aryan-like concept of Malay supremacy.
However his values aren’t new nor unique to Malaysia. Previous and various UMNO leaders seeking rapid ascendancy up the party hierarchy, mainly for their own interest, party popularity as an ethnic hero and consequently political promotion, would resort to the age-old tactics of playing up on Agama, Bangsa dan Negara (religion, race and nation or Malay nation) – young Khairy Jamaluddin did it recently.
In fact, when he was blasted by the other component parties of the Barisan Nasional, particularly the Gerakan for his racist proclivity, he quickly put on the tangkal (amulet) of Agama, Bangsa dan Negara, when we noted that he re-defined his anti Bangsa Malaysia statement as: "That is why Johor Umno raises the Malay special rights, status of Islam and bahasa issues which are all enshrined clearly in the Constitution."
Ah, seizing on the three UMNO convenient taboos as his sacred amulet should ward off any critics – see if they dare!!!
The Ketuanan this-and-that, that is, of racial supremacy, had been played in various fashion and interpretation throughout the dark history of mankind, starting from the biblical Hebrews or Israelites who considered themselves as The Chosen People, superior to others. The English and White Anglo-Saxon Americans had also see themselves as some form of inheritors of the Israelite legacy of being The Chosen People at various stages in their history.
The Israelites were totally intolerant of other races and would perpetrate genocide on alien races without any blink of their eyes. Ironically, those Israelites, because of their intolerance, cruel nature, religious fanaticism, arrogance and racism, were in turn annihilated repetitively at various periods in their history by their enemies – firstly, by the Babylonians, then the Romans and recently (in a historical perspective) by the Nazis.
Most of those Aryan-concept adherents have a couple of similarities – (1) racial intolerance and wilful avarice to dominate and suppress others, and (2) the inevitable/eventual act of disappearing from the face of the earth as an identity – Judeans, Nazis, etc.
It’s not a good path to take. Abdul Ghani Othman should think carefully of what he is saying.