Thursday, July 16, 2020

Why Muhyiddin is a Malay First, from OutSyed the Box

From OutSyed The Box:

Some thoughts on Dr Jeyakumar's Press Statement


*The Pakatan Harapan Debacle: A Clash of Narratives?*

Individuals are advised to learn from their mistakes. So too should political movements - if they wish to do things better going forward. Unfortunately I do not see much insight developing among the supporters of the Pakatan Harapan in the many discussions that I have had with them since the Sheraton move.

Non-Malay Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters have difficulty understanding why there has been a significant drop in Malay support for the PH. And many of them are exasperated – how can the Malays put up with the kleptocrats who have been stealing from public funds? Are the Malays so gullible to be taken in by UMNO-PAS propaganda? Can they not see that the UMNO elite has been enriching itself? And so on.

*Muhiyiddin explained?*

I initially found it difficult to explain TS Muhiyiddin’s decision to take Bersatu out of the Pakatan Harapan in late February 2020. Here was a man who had been sacked from the post of Deputy Prime Minister by Najib Razak 5 years ago (28/7/2015 to be exact), and who had campaigned hard to bring Najib and UMNO down. Now (February 2020), he was prepared to pass power back to a coalition dominated by UMNO kleptocrats. Of course his detractors have said that it was all due to a lust for power – there is immense power concentrated in the office of the Prime Minister, and the temptation to go for it is difficult to resist if one is within striking distance.

But there are other factors in play as well. Remember Muhiyiddin’s answer 10 years as to his defining identity when he was challenged by Lim Kit Siang to say that he is Malaysian first – Muhiyiddin told reporters “I am a Malay first but I want to say that being a Malay does not mean that you are not a Malaysian”. Muhiyiddin’s quarrel with UMNO from 2015 onwards was about the level of corruption that UMNO was prepared to tolerate in its top leaders. His quarrel wasn’t linked to any disagreement with the Nusantara Melayu narrative.

OSTB : We need to understand the Malay psyche. 200 years ago when there was no issue of citizenship even if you asked any Indian in British Malaya what are you they would readily reply 'I am Indian'. The same would go for Chinese.

And the Malays need not even have had to say 'I am Malay'. British Malaya or no, this was the land inhabited by the Malays. Post 1957 to suddenly fault any Malay for saying 'I am Malay first' will be strange for any Malay. They have always been Malay 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. They would not see a fault in saying so. The question would not even arise.

In Japan for example the Japanese are always Japanese - 1st, 2nd and on. They have never been anything else. If there is a change in their future where Japan becomes inhabited by significant numbers of migrants of non Japanese origin, it will certainly be a strange feeling for Japanese to be questioned about their being Japanese.

But people evolve over time. Instead of pushing the issue it would be better to let more time pass, allowing people to live together peacefully and amicably. Eventually a national identity will develop. There will be hiccups but when people get used to living together in peace and harmony that by itself will cement an identity.

And in this country the major factors that can and should cement that identity is still tied to economics. We really have to improve the economic status of all the people.

And there was this video of a senior DAP leader (recorded in 2018) extolling how Rajendra Chola I from Tamil Nadu had built cities in Kedah about 1000 years ago. This is a fact of history, but it was quoted by the DAP leader to support the Malaysian Malaysia narrative that all of us are immigrants except for the Orang Asli. There was also some talk about stopping the pension scheme for new civil servants. Single B40 individuals, including single mothers, were excluded from the BRIM program that has been renamed the BSH. Malays were scolded by the Prime Minister for being lazy. The list of ill-considered statements and decisions goes on.

OSTB : Politicians will always mess things up. The quality of too many of our Parliamentarians across the entire spectrum is very far from any type of ideal. There are gems and jewels but they are few and far between. By gems and jewels I mean Parliamentarians who are really comfortable appealing to all Malaysians. It is the Parliamentarians who must feel comfortable with all Malaysians first - not the other way around. As I said there are some who fit this description. They should be identified and their platforms should be given more prominence. Regardless of which party they represent.

All these incidents and policies created some unease in the Malay intelligentsia, including among those initially supporting the PH. Malay support for the PH was about 25% overall at the time of PRU14. It dropped to around 17% towards the end of 2019. The PH spin is that ordinary Malays are gullible and have been taken in by PAS-UMNO propaganda. This is a superficial analysis. What about the PH missteps that provided live ammunition for UMNO propaganda teams? What about the PH’s inability to see that the Malaysian Malaysia narrative was untenable as it was in serious conflict with the Nusantara Melayu narrative? Many in the PH were (and are still) blind to the reality that there are 2 contrasting narratives regarding the nature of the Malaysian nation.

OSTB : In its 22 months, the PH simply failed to deliver. Period. Hence they lost the people's support. They have now lost SIX by elections in a row. Say what you want but I count the Chini loss as also their loss. (If the independent had won, the crowing by the PH would have been non stop.)

*Would Anwar Ibrahim have done any better?*


Sadly, that window of opportunity has passed. Not only has Malay support dropped significantly, non Malay support for the PH has also dropped. Many PH supporters whose expectations are based on the Malaysian Malaysia narrative cannot understand why the changes that the DAP promised could not be implemented speedily. Their expectations had been raised too high by DAP’s politicking over the past 50 years. As long as the DAP was in the opposition it could make unrealistic demands based on the PAP narrative. But once in government, the reality that there are contradicting narratives which have to be navigated set in. But their supporters saw this as back-pedaling and were/are angry.

OSTB : The DAP lost a golden opportunity. All is not lost. The DAP stands a good chance of developing an all encompassing platform which must first of all make the Malays feel at ease. This is actually easier done than said. I fail to understand why the DAP has not exerted more effort in this direction. There are a few gems and jewels within the DAP as well.

*Sayonara to the Reformasi Dream?*

The pendulum is now swinging away from the Pakatan Harapan. It appears likely that the PH will lose perhaps up to a third of the seats it now holds should an election be held sometime this year. But those of us who supported the ideals of Reformasi should take note of the social and economic mega trends that have led to urban migration and the class differentiation of the Malay community into a large under-class of inadequately paid wage earners and a small super-rich politically connected elite. These trends are ongoing, and if the Perikatan Nasional elite do not handle growing urban poverty and the corruption and ostentatious consumption of the Malay upper class, the socio-economic base for Reformasi II will be created.

OSTB : Todate the Malays have been patient with their fate. But as time passes and the younger generation grows up this patience will be tested. Because the economic status of the Malays is not being properly addressed. A Malay middle class has been created but it is overly dependent on government support. Or taxpayers funding. This is not sustainable. In times of economic stress where the government's finances are stretched (like in the present circumstances) the Malay middle class realise their predicament. There are simple solutions to solve this problem. This is where the ineptitude of the Malay political class fails the Malays. The Malays have to move away from an overdependence on politics for their well being. The Malay politicians also have to evolve to Higher Order Thinking - something that is just not happening fast enough.

Hopefully the second time around, the leaders of the Reformasi movement will be more politically savvy.

*Dr.Jeyakumar Devaraj*
PSM Chairperson (9/7/2020)

OSTB : The politics may not be the full solution. Or the solution at all. The solution lies in economic development. It is always the economy. There needs to be a Malay middle class that is independent of Malay politics. This is not happening fast enough.


  1. i think jeyakumar hv a point, thats y we shd be more considerate of what mahathir did, its dap people like ronnie, ramkaspal n sangeet that cause all the problem.

  2. Politicians use the Malay narrative to try and prove their Malay-Bumiputra status.

    Since Syed tries to use history to justify Muhyiddin's "Ayam Malay First" cry let me use history as well to dispel his claim.

    First of all Indonesians identify themselves by ethnicity, and each have their own distinct culture and language/dialect. Today only 4% of Indonesians consider themselves Malay, and they are mostly confined to small regions in Sumatra like Riau and Jambi. The other ethnic groups are Javanese (40%), Sundanese (15%), Batak (5%), Bugis (5%) etc etc etc.

    Muhyiddin has Bugis ancestry, like Jibby (ha ha ha). Neither one had ancestors who were originally from Malaya/Riau/Jambi but instead they came from non-Malay regions in Indonesia (in the case of Jibby Sulawesi).

    Muhyiddin was born in Muar, Johor, Malaysia. His father, Haji Muhammad Yassin bin Muhammad, was of Bugis descent. Muhammad Yassin was an Islamic theologian and cleric based in Bandar Maharani, Muar, Johor, while his mother, Hajjah Khadijah binti Kassim, was of Javanese descent.

    Who can forget Jibby was given a grand homecoming when he visited his ancestral home in Sulawesi.

    Or Zahid Hamidi's mumbling a few Javanese phrases on RTI to show off his Javanese heritage.

    In fact one can argue Toonsie is more "Malay" than we tease him for, because his mother was Kedah Malay and his father was half Penang Malay. So Toonsie is 75% Malay if you like, and 25% Kerala-ise.

    Mahathir was born at his parents' home in a poor neighbourhood at Lorong Kilang Ais, Alor Setar, the capital of the Malay sultanate of Kedah, which was then a British protectorate, on 10 July 1925. His mother, Wan Tempawan, was a Malay of Kedah. His father, Mohamad Iskandar, was a Penang Malay of partly Indian ancestry.

    And I need not go into the ancestry of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Hussein Onn, Badawi (Hadrami - Yemeni?, Hainanese maternal grandfather).

    1. interesting read, kedah malay is not pattani? then what abt perak? i travel to thai satun once, over 90% residence is muslim, but i am not sure r they malay, it seem thai muslim dun use the term malay.

    2. oh btw, talking abt indonesia, i once asked a badak what would happened if govt ban alcohol, the samosir host treated me some traditional drink fermented from sort of local plant that could make one drunk, n his response was no more damai, perang terjadi.