Monday, January 23, 2017

Dangerous nationalism

MM Online - Academic: Restrict MyKads from kids who can’t speak Malay (extracts):

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — A Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) professor has suggested that Malaysian children be required to learn the Malay language before they are given the blue identity cards for citizenship.

Datuk Zainal Kling wrote in Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of local daily Utusan Malaysia, that language used to be a requirement for citizenship, but Parliament removed this when then Gerakan co-founder Tan Sri Dr Tan Chee Khoon said Malaysians had already learned Bahasa Melayu, which is also the country’s national language, well in Chinese and Indian vernacular schools as well as in national schools.

“If the third requirement, their language, is not fulfilled, don’t give them the blue identity card, give them the temporary red one,” Zainal said, referring to the red MyKad for permanent residents.

Currently, a child is granted Malaysian citizenship if one or both parents are Malaysians or a permanent resident.


But there is a difference between applying to become a citizen of Malaysia and being born a citizen of Malaysia. The latter needn't do anything so long as he or she meets one of the following:

Every person born on or after Malaysia Day, and having any of the qualifications specified below
  1. Every person born within Malaysia of whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanently resident in Malaysia and
  2. Every person born outside Malaysia whose father is at the time of the birth a citizen and either was born in Malaysia or is at the time of the birth in the service of the Federation or of a State and
  3. Every person born outside Malaysia whose father is at the time of the birth a citizen and whose birth is, within 1 year of its occurrence or within such longer period as the Malaysian Government may in any particular case allow, registered at a consulate of Malaysia or, if it occurs in Brunei or in a territory prescribed for this purpose by order of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, registered with the Malaysian Government and
  4. Every person born in Singapore of whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth a citizen and who is not born citizen otherwise than by virtue of this paragraph and
  5. Every person born within Malaysia who is not born a citizen of any country otherwise than by virtue of this paragraph

Language testing has never been a requirement for those fulfilling paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above (I don't know much about 4 and 5).

So, is Prof Zainal Kling saying that if those yang tidak mampu bercakap Bahasa Melayu will only be considered as a PR (permanent resident) by virtue of the red IC permitted to them?

Prof Zainal Kling is now proposing a new set of constitutional laws.

While I certainly encourage young Malaysians to use more Bahasa Melayu, I shun such draconian nationalistic policies and would urge Prof Zainal Kling to cease from what I consider as his nationalistic opinion.

Incidentally, Prof Zainal Kling is a proponent of the view that Malaya (Peninsula) was never colonised.

I admire his nationalistic perspective on this but there are two points I wish to raise vis-a-vis the issue of colonization of Malaya, namely:

  • Penang and Malacca were both British Crown colonies, so definitely parts of Malaya were not only colonised but British owned,
  • Technically, none of the nine sultanate states were colonised, thus Prof Zainul KLing has been correct, provided he ignores two sub-issues, to wit: (a) the two (former) crown colonies mentioned above, and (b) the de facto authority and overriding powers of the British Residents (Advisors to the Sultans) in each sultanate state, except on the Islamic religion, associated Islamic issues and Malay adat, which were the prerogative of the respective sultans.

In other words, the sultanate states were not technically colonised, but they were effectively, where in each state the British Resident was the de facto ruler (except on Islamic issues and Malay adat).

Prof Zainal Kling can boast of his nationalistic view, which is technically correct, but he is deluding himself if he believes the sultanate states were not under British colonial power, control and administration.

Think of Perak and how the British buggered the choice of sultans of the state following the Treaty of Pangkor in 1874, replacing Sultan Ismail with Sultan Abdullah, and subsequently exiling Sultan Abdullah following the assassination of James Birch.

The draconian terms of the Treaty of Pangkor in favour of the British were (from Wikipedia):

  • Raja Abdullah was acknowledged as the legitimate Sultan to replace Sultan Ismail who would be given a title and a pension of 1000 Mexican pesos a month.
  • The Sultan would receive a British Resident whose advice had to be sought and adhered to in all matters except those pertaining to the religion and customs of the Malays.
  • All collections and control of taxes as well as the administration of the state would be done in the name of the Sultan, but the Sultan was to govern according to the advice and consent of the Resident.
  • The Minister of Larut would continue to be in control but would no longer be recognized as a liberated leader. Instead, a British officer, who would have vast authority in administering the district, would be appointed in Larut.
  • The Sultan, and not the British government, would pay the salary of the Resident.

The Treaty of Pangkor was the beginning of British de facto colonisation of all the sultanate states.

Prof Zainal Kling can continue to make his nationalistic ownself happy with the sultanate states being not technically colonised, but as we know, the Poms were arrogantly and imperialistically mucking around with the sultans of Perak and the state.

The dictionary defines 'nationalism' as either:

  • devotion and loyalty to one's own country;

  • excessive patriotism; chauvinism.

and of course we know that 'chauvinism' is biased devotion to any group, attitude, or cause.

Be careful that nationalism is not too much of a chauvinistic nature which will only further marginalise Malaysians.

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