Sabah parties see red over mufti’s ‘Tanah Melayu’ remark
KOTA KINABALU: Several Sabah parties have taken Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin to task for his recent comment that Malaysia is “for the Malays”, saying the country belonged to all Malaysians at the time of its formation on Sept 16, 1963.
Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general said Asri may have forgotten that Malaysia also includes Sabah and Sarawak, where the majority of the population is not Malay.
The Tamparuli assemblyman added that Malaysia is a democratic country, the administration of which depends on adherence to the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara.
“The rights of everyone should be respected, particularly those of Sabah and Sarawak which were agreed on when Malaysia was formed,” he told FMT.
Asri previously defended his remarks on preserving the Malays’ cultural and political dominance, suggesting that there is now a free-for-all climate in Malaysia which only a strongman like Saddam Hussein can end.
He also stood by his statement that Malaysia belongs to the Malays, and rejected accusations that non-Malays have been unfairly treated.
He said Malaysia’s national identity is Malay, and that the Malays are “land owners” of the country who must be respected.
Jahid attributed this perception to a lack of understanding on the formation of Malaysia, which he said had been relegated to a chapter comprising only a few pages in history textbooks.
“That is why I have repeatedly urged the education ministry to include more facts on how Malaysia came to be in the school syllabus.
“This is so that everyone can honour and respect our (the Borneo states’) special status,” he said.
Sabah Progressive Party deputy president Japiril Suhaimin meanwhile said Asri’s remarks are uncalled for since Sabah and Sarawak are equal partners with the peninsula.
He added that the mufti’s statements do not help in building national unity and integration.
“Anybody making such statements has total disregard for the spirit of the formation of Malaysia.
“As someone from the Dusun ethnic group from Sabah, where would the Kadazandusun Murut be placed if Malaysia was for Malays only?
“The Malays did not exist in Sabah or Sarawak before Malaysia was formed, so Asri’s claim is ignorant and arrogant,” he said, adding that the mufti appeared to have selectively forgotten both states by calling Malaysia “Tanah Melayu”.
Political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung said that in making the comments, Asri had ignored the pluralistic nature of Malaysia’s society.
Adding that such remarks should not have come so close to Merdeka, he said this month should be about cherishing the unique character of “Bangsa Malaysia”, which is multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious.
“This is the beauty of our society.”
Historical evidence strongly suggests the the term “Tanah Melayu” was coined by the British in the 19th century. Why? Because they had to deal with these people who called themselves Melayu. But were the Melayu the original people to settle here?ReplyDelete
Since the 15th century the peninsular was known as The Malacca Peninsular.
Going back even further to the 10th century: the peninsular was known as Barr Kra. Barr meaning land in Persian, therefore the peninsula was the Land of Kra (isthmus of Kra).
And there is more historical evidence going back to the 2nd century: the name was Golden Chersonese after the Greek geographer Ptolemy who gave that name to the peninsular because there was plenty of gold being mined here.
And to top it all off the earliest known Arabic Maps refer to the Peninsular as “Barr CHIN”.
Where Chin refers to CHINA.
Why did the Arabs call this Peninsular “Tanah China” instead of “Tanah Melayu”? When Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. spoke about “Exotic Tanah China ”, was he actually refering to Malaya? After all, according to records, Malayan Gold Mines was already famous 500 years BEFORE the Prophet was born. Did the Chinese come here nearly 2000 years ago to lombong emas like they did 2000 years later to lombong timah?
Well, you decide but the bottom line is “Tanah Melayu” is a very recent name that can/may be conveniently used to stamp ownership of the peninsular that has a much much much longer history.