Followers

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

MUSLIMS: SHOULD WE FOCUS ON CONVERTING OTHERS OR CORRECTING OURSELVES?



CLICK HERE

While some Muslims are all excited trying to convert Non-Muslims into Islam, many Muslims are busy killing innocent Muslims, including children.

Should we spend more energy in correcting ourselves? Should we deal with our Sunni-Syiah divide that have resulted in war, death and persecution?

Perhaps our preachers and televangelist can talk about commonalities or if you like comparative ‘religion’ between these two sects instead of paying attention to outside the Muslim milieu.

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with God. He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did” - Quran 6:159

“And be not ye among Mushrikeen (those who join gods with God), - i.e., those who split up their Religion, and become Sects, - each party rejoicing in that which is with itself!” – Quran 30:31-32

“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.” Quran 3:103

Salam, anas



Saturday, September 7, 2019

THREE GOOD BOOKS - PART 3 - The Malays



‘The Malays: Their Problems and Future’ by Syed Husin Ali. ISBN: 978-983-9541-61-8

This book was first published over thirty years ago in 1978 when Prof. Syed Husin Ali was in detention under the ISA; and it was updated in 2008. Prof. Syed Husin Ali was then the deputy PKR president.
‘The Malays’ is a really good book, because it goes way back to the origin of the Malays, their history, religion, socio-economy and politics. It discusses the issue of Malay poverty, providing facts and data, not just specifically on the Malay community but also in comparison with other communities. The book also addresses the impacts of modernity and past policies on the development of the average Malay and emerging challenges that face them. It gives a good overview of the situation of the Malay community.
Can you share with us some parts of the book?
One should read the book in entirety to get the full picture, because just by reading this book would be a good start to help in understanding the Malays. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book on who the Malays are:
“Taking a wide social and cultural definition, the term refers not only to those who are settled in the Peninsular, but also includes those in the larger area of the Malay Archipelago, embracing the Malay Peninsular and thousands of islands which today form the Republic of Indonesia and the Philippines. Although they are divided into many sub-groups, and perhaps as many dialects, linguistic and cultural experts always consider them as belonging to the same stock, known as the Malays or Malayo-Indonesians.” (pg. 1)
“Quite often when we refer to the term Malay, we think only of those who are living in the Peninsular. Descendants of the Malays in the Philippines are now known as Filipinos, while those in the former Dutch territories are called Indonesians. Our eyes have been shaded by three separate political boundaries to such an extent that we lose sight of the similarities in ancestry, of culture and history which are the common heritage of all the inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago.” (pg. 2)
We have particularly seen a lot of this in recent years – people make comments, for example, to say someone is not really ‘Malay’ because his ancestry is Bugis. But based on this larger definition described by Prof. Syed, the Bugis are also Malay. We tend to think that the Malay only refers to those in Peninsular Malaysia, but this is a very myopic view point.
The book lays the foundation for understanding the definition of who is a Malay. As an ethnic group, the Malays are defined historically but have also been defined legally in our Constitution. Prof. Syed discusses the historical context for this as well as its implications. These basic definitions and the understanding of who a Malay is, are very important concepts all Malaysians need to learn and understand (more on this is discussed in Chapter 28).
The book also discusses the situation of the Malays in the time of Merdeka and post-Independence. It sheds light on the rise of Malay political organisations, especially the Unity that was found among the Malays when opposing the Malayan Union. Opposing the Malayan Union was described as ‘a life and death matter’ to the Malays, and the question about the survival of the Malays as a race was what caused the Malays to come together. (pg. 45)
Understanding this historical pattern may help us to understand why the call for ‘Malay Unity’ has been carried on even until today. After Independence, language and education became the rallying call. After that, and now we see, it is religion. Prof. Syed writes – “Whatever the issues – religion, race or culture – all are open to political manipulation and exploitation. But this does not deny the fact that there are some individuals and groups who are sincere in their intentions over these same issues.” (pg. 47)
The book also discusses whether our development policies have been a success or failure, providing a study of data and statistics. The May 13 incident was described as a reflection of socioeconomic problems. Prof. Syed writes “although the incident appeared to be a racial conflict, it was recognised that the root causes were some basic economic problems” (pg. 125).
According to Prof. Syed, the analysis of the root causes of poverty was not correctly done in order to lead to the right strategies to properly eradicate poverty. He suggests that the NEP needs to be “reviewed and replaced by a new economic plan that would ensure the wealth and resources of the country are not monopolised by only a small coterie of people who have already enjoyed power. Instead they should be distributed fairly and evenly to the majority of people comprising different ethnic groups.” (pg. 151)
He adds - “Although absolute poverty has been reduced, relative poverty widening of the socioeconomic gap has increased. NEP helps to sponsor Malay rich and has resulted in nepotism and cronyism.” (pg. 182)
With discussions like this, the book presents a good balance of information and opinions. In discussing multi-ethnic relations between Malays and other races in Malaysia, it addresses some of the historical issues that hinder the journey to Unity and integration. Prof. Syed stresses the importance of shared values –
“it is … necessary to disseminate universal values and attitudes, which can help people so that they do not succumb easily to racial or ethnic appeals. There is also a need to overcome ‘false consciousness’ caused by ethnicity. At the same time, the state should not be allowed to legitimise ethnic violence to perpetrate itself. Until racial and ethnic harmony comes naturally, it must be strived for.” (pg. 180)
I urge readers to go out and get these three books as a start to understand our Indian, Chinese and Malay brothers and sisters. Knowledge of the history, background and current situation of these three Malaysian communities will go a long way in helping us to really understand each other and nurture harmony amongst us.
Peace,
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates
Note : This article is the final entry for the topic is taken from my book The Middle Path, chapter 4.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

JANGAN BOIKOT, SOKONG PRODUK BUATAN MALAYSIA

Hari ini di SINAR HARIAN ms 6



Kami, sekumpulan rakyat Malaysia, mengajak kesemua rakyat membeli dan memberi keutamaan kepada produk buatan Malaysia.

Pada asalnya, rangsangan untuk mengutamakan pembelian produk Muslim sahaja atau memboikot produk buatan bukan-Muslim kemungkinan nampak sebagai suatu strategi yang amat baik. Namun demikian, jika ditinjau dan dikaji dengan lebih mendalam, ia mungkin suatu tindakan yang kurang bijak.

Kebanyakan syarikat-syarikat swasta mempunyai ramai pekerja dari kaum Melayu. Malahan dalam beberapa syarikat ini, kaum Melayu menjadi tenaga pekerja majoriti. Walaupun pada hakikatnya sesebuah syarikat itu dimiliki kaum bukan-Muslim, tetapi rangkaian ekonomi meliputi juga komuniti lain. Ia termasuk pengambilan bahan mentah, kepada pembekal barangan serta penghantaran kepada pembeli secara hubungan rangkaian perniagaan. Hubungan sebegini adalah hakikat sebenar ekonomi tempatan dan juga di peringkat global. Tambahan pula, semua syarikat yang mendapat keuntungan akan membayar cukai yang digunakan untuk belanjawan bagi manfaat seluruh masyarakat. Ia termasuk juga pembiayaan gaji dan elaun kakitangan kerajaan yang kebanyakan kita semua sedia maklum majoritinya adalah kaum Melayu. Wang cukai ini juga digunakan untuk pembangunan pendidikan, kesihatan dan lain-lain lagi.

Wang dapatan dari cukai syarikat-syarikat yang membuat untung juga digunakan untuk membiayai institusi Islam seperti JAKIM dan ini mendatangkan manfaat secara langsung kepada umat Islam sendiri. Maka itu, adalah suatu perkara yang malang jika mereka yang mewarwarkan kegiatan boikot ini kurang faham tentang prinsip dan dasar ekonomi ataupun mereka sengaja memainkan sentimen perkauman dan provokasi emosi orang Islam dengan agenda tersendiri.

Kami ingin juga mengingatkan bahawa ramai orang-orang Melayu dan Islam memegang saham dalam kebanyakan syarikat tersenarai awam dan nama-nama mereka pun terpapar sebagai ahli-ahli lembaga pengarah. Kebanyakan syarikat-syarikat di Malaysia juga telah melaburkan wang dalam usaha menjadikan produk dan kegiatan syarikat itu serasi dengan syariah dan mendapat pensijilan halal. Malaysia merupakan hub halal yang terbesar di dunia di atas usaha orang-orang Islam dan bukan Islam.

Jika ada apa-apa usaha memboikot, ia akan mendatangkan kesan bukan sahaja kepada orang bukan Islam tetapi pada orang Islam juga. Kita semua kena menyokong barangan jenama Malaysia supaya sama-sama dapat kita membangun ekonomi dan menjadikan ia lebih kukuh. Pemboikotan dalam suasana ekonomi masakini bukan sahaja sesuatu yang tidak praktikal ia juga sesuatu yang bersifat hipokrit memandangkan kita semua menggunakan barangan dari seluruh dunia. Segala barangan dari makanan, pakaian, teknologi dan pengangkutan, setiap satunya datang dari sumber pembekal, pengasas dan pembuat dari pelbagai kaum, bangsa dan agama. Begitulah hakikatnya ekonomi global dalam dunia masakini. Maka itu, bagaimana boleh kita mengatakan bahawa setiap barangan yang kita pakai atau makan datangnya khusus hanya dari satu kaum dan agama sahaja?

Sebagai rakyat Malaysia, hidup kita berangkai dengan semua kaum. Seorang Mak Cik menjual nasi lemak di depan kilang milik kaum Cina untuk menyara hidup anak-anaknya adalah suatu yang biasa kelihatan dalam negara yang mempunyai pelbagai kaum. Sama juga kelihatan seorang India menjual roti berniaga di kawasan kaum Melayu. Adakah kita impikan kehilangan ciri kepelbagaian ini hanya kerana hasutan beberapa individu berkepentingan?

Kami percaya bahawa kita semua harus mengeratkan integriti bangsa kita lebih daripada memecahbelahkan masyarakat dengan hasutan boikot sebegini. Matlamat akhir kita sepatutnya membantu perkembangan perniagaan, mempastikan harga barangan rendah, mempastikan kos sara hidup bersepadanan dengan barangan buatan Malaysia yang berkualiti serta harga berpatutan. Hanya dengan usaha dan sikap sebegini serta gandingan persefahaman masyarakat maka kita semua akan menikmati kejayaan bersama.

Kenyataan bersama :-

Tawfik Ismail
Tajuddin Rasdi
Syed Sadiq Albar
Shad Saleem Faruqi
Nurul Haqq Shahrir
Noor Farida Ariffin
Johan Jaafar
Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos
Hussamuddin Yaacub
Chun Wai, Wong
Chandra Muzaffar
Anas Zubedy

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

DON’T BOYCOTT, BUY MALAYSIAN PRODUCTS!




We, a group of concerned Malaysians would like to urge Malaysians to buy Malaysian-made products and brands first.

On the onset, the calls for buying Muslim products first or boycotting products made by non-Muslims may seem smart to some segments of the Muslim community. If they were to study this deeper, however, they will find such moves to be very unwise.  

Many non-Muslim companies have a significant number of Muslim staff. In fact, in many instances, they even form the majority. Even when a business is predominantly run by non-Muslims, economic activities form chain reactions that involve each and every community. This ranges from the sourcing of the raw materials, to producing and supplying the product to end customers. That is the fundamental basis of the economy, be it at the national or even global level. Furthermore, all profit-making companies, regardless of ownership, pay taxes that are then used towards the benefit of the Malaysian society as a whole. These include employing and sustaining our civil servants, building our national infrastructure and enhancing our public services such as healthcare, education and more. 

If anything, the taxes paid by all Malaysian-owned companies have also contributed to the betterment of Islam through the annual government budget allocation to JAKIM. Thus, it is indeed unfortunate that the few who are propagating this exclusionary approach either fail to understand the basics of economics or are simply attempting to spread an insidious agenda; all while playing with the emotions of the average Muslim.

We want to remind them that Malays and Muslims hold a substantial number of shares in most public-listed companies. They are also represented on the board of directors of these companies. Most Malaysian companies have also invested in ensuring that their products are halal-compliant and certified. Malaysia is now considered one of the top halal hubs in the world, thanks to the concerted efforts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 

Any boycott would only hurt fellow Malaysians, Muslims included. We must support all Malaysian brands and products in order to make our economy stronger. Boycotts along racial and religious lines are not only impractical but also hypocritical in the modern-day economy, given the fact that all of us use products from all over the world. From clothing to food, to technology and transportation, every item we use or consume could be traced back to producers, founders and manufacturers of various religions, ethnicities and even nationalities. Such is the nature of the globalised economy. So how can we then say with absolute certainty that we are only using or consuming goods from members of our own race and religion?

As Malaysians, our lives and livelihoods are significantly interconnected. A Malay makcik selling nasi lemak in front of a Chinese factory every morning to support her family is a common sight in a diverse and multi-ethnic country like ours. So is seeing an Indian roti seller plying his wares in a predominantly Malay-Muslim neighbourhood. Are we willing to let this uniqueness that define us disappear thanks to the divisive rhetoric of the select few?

We strongly believe that rather than boycotting and dividing ourselves further, we should enhance our integration and practice more diversity and inclusion in our daily living. Our goal should be helping Malaysian businesses to grow, to keep prices down, to curb the cost of living emphasizing affordable but quality Made in Malaysia products. In that way, we as Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or background will prosper and grow.

The statement was jointly signed by:-
Tawfik Ismail
Tajuddin Rasdi
Syed Sadiq Albar
Shad Saleem Faruqi
Nurul Haqq Shahrir
Noor Farida Ariffin
Johan Jaafar
Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos
Hussamuddin Yaacub
Chun Wai, Wong
Chandra Muzaffar
Anas Zubedy


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

HOW YOU CAN LIGHT UP A HOME IN SABAH WITH JUST RM350 (and it is tax deductible)





#LIGHTUPSOMETHINGNICE is a zubedy-mercy Malaysia partnership social project.
RM350 to Light Up their Lives (#LightUpSomethingNice) is a project to help the families in Sabah to have portable solar lights.
With donation of RM 350 per house they will receive a total of 2 portable solar light.
Why contribute for #LightUpSomethingNice?
• They can still be productive after night fall
• Children can study more and do homework
• They can cut down using candle, lamps and fire to improve
security and health
When and Where?
• This project started on 10th January and ends on 16th
September 2019
• We are aiming to help 100 houses in Terian (Penampang)
and Ranau.
• We call all Malaysia to unite individual or group of friends to
help us collect or donate for #LightUpSomethingNice
Donation made will be channeled through MERCY MALAYSIA’S account
To Donate (TAX DEDUCTIBLE):
• Reference/Tittle: #LightUpSomethingNice
• Account Number: 8000 7929 08
• Account Name: MERCY Malaysia 
• Bank: CIMB
For tax exemption please email to Farhana at farhana@zubedy.com the following details with subject #LightUpSomethingNice, Donation: Proof of payment / Full name / IC Number
Should you like to know more, kindly contact Hana at 019-9493720
Thanks, anas

Sunday, September 1, 2019

THREE GOOD BOOKS - PART 2 - The Chinese



'The Chinese Dilemma’ by Ye Lin-Sheng ISBN:978-097-5164-61-7

Why do you recommend this book?

This is a book written from the perspective of a business person; so maybe it is personal because I am a business person myself. It is written in a very pragmatic way. It looks at the country from both sides and takes in both the positive and negative aspects. It is very honest, very brave, and very direct. The author Ye Lin-Sheng’s parents were from China; he grew up in a middle-class family but made it big in Malaysia and became a successful businessman.

Ye offers the perspective of a Chinese Malaysian, mainly addressing issues of affirmative action and preferential treatment. It has been suggested that ‘The Chinese Dilemma’ could be as controversial as Tun Mahathir’s ‘The Malay Dilemma’ because in the same way it openly addresses many controversial issues that are on the minds of many Malaysians. But the author is pragmatic because he discusses it from a non-partisan angle, pointing out both the positive side and the negative effects of the NEP and other challenges faced by Chinese Malaysians in the bigger picture. At the same time he admits that his opinions may not be accepted by many other Chinese Malaysians.

What does ‘The Chinese Dilemma’ address?

Mainly, it addresses the attitudes of the Chinese, the Malays, and the Westerners towards the New Economic Policies. Ye Lin-Sheng’s position is that Malaysia found a viable solution to historical problems of race and economic division through the NEP, which to him has “delivered the goods” at “an acceptable price”. (pg. 38)

He compares the situation of the Chinese in Malaysia to Chinese Diasporas in other parts of the world.

“Think of those Boat People (many of them of Chinese origin) forced to flee Vietnam; think of Cambodia, where the Chinese were killed or driven away; think of Indonesia, with its persecution and expulsion of the Chinese; think of the Philippines, where for so long the Chinese were effectively denied citizenship. Of course there is Thailand, where the Chinese are said to suffer no discrimination, but that is because they are assimilated to Thai society and have in a way given up their Chinese identity.” (pg. 39)

He also extrapolates this comparison further out to the United States, Canada and Australia, where the Chinese has had to struggle against exclusion and victimisation. In these states, the Malaysian Chinese who migrated to these countries have had more difficulty achieving economic success because of “lack of opportunity, indirect discrimination, the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ and stiffer competition”. (pg. 39)

Ye Lin-Sheng steps out of the fold to present views which are not commonly spoken among non-Malays. To the author, what is missing is the sense of appreciation of how well the Chinese have been able to do even as minority migrants in Malaysia. At the same time, he feels there has also been a lack of sensitivity towards how galling it must be for the Bumiputera to see “the Chinese…putting our stamp all over their cities, how wounded they must have been in their pride”, even if it is not their nature to express their frustration (pg. 46).

The author argues that whatever the cost, because the NEP has helped to reduce the socioeconomic gap between communities, returned a level of autonomy to the Malays and allowed both the Malays and Chinese to increase wealth, its benefits are indisputable.

The book is balanced as it also addresses the grievances of the Chinese. In the same way that Tun Mahathir gave feedback on what is in the heart of the Malays in ‘The Malay Dilemma’, I see Ye Lin-Sheng does the same thing here for the Chinese. He airs out the apprehension of the Chinese towards losing the right to live in the country, which leads to their defensive posture. Another is their difficulty reconciling the idea that the Chinese position is ‘subsidiary’ to the position of the Malays. He brings out the question that is in the back of the minds of many Chinese - “How long must we continue to pay the price of citizenship?” (pg. 56)

“Rightly or wrongly, many Chinese are not reassured that the Malay will act in good faith. Can we trust them to be fair? In shifting the balance of advantage do they know where to stop? If we lower our defenses, will we find ourselves at the start of a slippery slope? If we don’t complain about the NEP, will they think it is not hurting us enough and prolong it indefinitely?” (pg.57)

At the same time, he also deals with the negative points of the NEP – among others, how Chinese-Malay relations is made worse by what he terms ‘Ugly Malays’, individuals who have exploited the NEP (pg. 62). Other negative impacts he points out are the demoralising effects on the beneficiaries of NEP, how it encouraged past victimisation and blaming the Chinese for the plight of the Malays; and how it has polarised race relations.

These are fair questions that are nagging at the back of the minds of the Chinese which often dictate their behaviour. It is fair and important that someone expresses how we Malaysians feel to help us understand each other better; and this book actually does that.

In the concluding chapters, the author brings the discussion to a bigger picture, comparing the experiences of Chinese Malaysians with other Chinese communities around the world.

“When we keep an open and skeptical mind, we may see that the non-Malays has not had a bad deal in Malaysia. To those who disagree with me, my rejoinder is just look around the world. The lesson is clear - peace and national cohesion is better than war and disintegration. I’m not saying that the non-Malays have no grounds for complaint - they have, as earlier chapters have made it clear. But in grievances as in all things, it’s best to have a sense of proportion.” (pg. 135)

I like this idea of a sense of proportion. Let’s have a sense of proportion and evaluate things in a balance. We need to look ahead. In his book, Ye does not deny that some Chinese may feel hurt by the NEP and it is hard to put the past behind, but he writes, “we Chinese have always been good at saying, Suan le (‘Forget it’ or, ‘let it be’) and getting on with the next task.” (pg. 192)

Ye ends the book by sharing a quote from a young black American from the book ‘Native Stranger’:

“Neither a black American or a white American says he has anywhere else to go now. He is here to stay, he must make it work or lose it all here.” (pg. 197)

Ye suggests that this also reflects the situation of the Chinese Malaysians – make it work or lose it all here.

In short, the book is written very directly and pragmatically - not everybody will agree with what the author says, but it is a book worth reading to understand the feelings and position of the Chinese Malaysian community better.

End of Part 2

Peace,
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates

PART 3 will cover the Malays - ‘The Malays: Their Problems and Future’ by Syed Husin Ali. ISBN: 978-983-9541-61-8

Note : This article is taken from my book The Middle Path, chapter 4.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

PAKATAN HARAPAN AND THE MALAY POSITION - DR. CHANDRA MUZAFFAR



A lot of Malaysians are worried about the frequency with which ethnic controversies are erupting in the country.

Ethnic controversies by themselves which we have had to confront right through our history do not portend doom. It is the context in which they occur and how they are linked to power which matters.

UMNO’s ouster from power at the Federal level on the 9th of May 2018 has given rise to a perception within a segment of Malay society that the ethnic equation of authority has changed. It is felt that Malays no longer constitute the anchor of state power.

This is a gross misperception. It is being deliberately fuelled by a segment of the political opposition reinforced by a wide range of civil society groups. The purpose is obvious: it is to undermine the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

If the principal source of power and authority in a political system like ours is the Federal Cabinet, the majority of its members are Malays. The majority of members of Parliament are also Malay just as the majority of the Judiciary are from the same community. The civil and public services are largely Malay just as the police and armed forces are also mainly Malay. Of course, the nation’s constitutional monarchs are Malay.

What this shows is that regardless of whether UMNO is in power or not, the Malay presence and position in society is secure and stable. It is fallacious therefore to view UMNO as the guarantor of the Malay position. But for many Malays, UMNO is still the protector of the Malay position which is why in spite of all its wrongdoings it still managed to win 54 Parliamentary seats in the 14th General Election making it the largest single party in Parliament at that point.

There are many reasons that explain UMNO’s continuing --- though waning ---- grip upon the Malay mind. Apart from UMNO propaganda, there is no doubt that as the party at the helm of government for 61 years, it had succeeded to a great extent to eliminate poverty among the Malay masses, expand educational opportunities, enhance social mobility, create a sizeable middle class, and in general endow the community with a sense of accomplishment while ensuring that Islam and the Malay language remain at the core of the nation’s identity. It is all this that has helped to forge a bond between the party and the Malays.

PH has to address this bond if it wants to overcome the challenge posed by UMNO and its allies in the days ahead. How this bond expresses itself in various spheres and what its ramifications are should be at the crux of the PH’s concern.  This demands a clear understanding of the Malay position which UMNO claims to protect.

The Malay position is not only part and parcel of the Malaysian Constitution but is also a product of the evolution of Malaysian politics and society.  Its most salient features are i) the status of the Malay Rulers as constitutional monarchs ii) the Malay core of Malaysian politics iii) the Special Position of the Malays in the Constitution and the aspirations of the Malay economy as a whole iv) the role of Malay as the official and national language and v) the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

It is incumbent upon the PH and Malaysian society as a whole to understand and appreciate the emotional and psychological power behind the idea of the Malay Position. If Malays are deeply attached to the Malay Position it is mainly because it is the protective shield of sorts   that emerged in the wake of the tremendous changes that occurred as  a result of British colonial rule and colonial migration which impacted adversely upon the community. The Malay Sultanates from the early 12th century (Kedah 1136) logically should have coalesced into a Malay Federation, a Malay nation-state but it did not happen partly because of the massive accommodation of the huge recently domiciled Chinese and Indian communities. In a sense the Malays as a people who historically gave the land its name were relegated to a community among communities. 

The challenge now before PH is to articulate a vision of the Malay Position which is more just and equitable than what UMNO has hitherto offered. On the Rulers, for instance, it should commit itself totally to principles and practices that require them to adhere strictly to the rule of law and remain above politics and business. Similarly, Malay political leaders should be beacons of integrity and honesty fulfilling their trusts to the people. Working with their non-Malay and non-Muslim counterparts in pursuit of the larger good should be their central mission. It follows from this that emphasising justice that forefronts the needs of the weak and vulnerable while recognising and rewarding ability and excellence irrespective of ethnicity and religion should be PH’s agenda. The PH coalition should also strengthen and popularise Malay as a truly Malaysian language.  Its present endeavour to develop an inclusive, progressive understanding of Islam focused upon the substance of faith should be further enhanced and refined.          
             
By articulating such a vision of the Malay Position, the contrast between PH and UMNO would be highlighted vis-à-vis a goal that both seek to protect. In more specific terms, Malays would realise that UMNO’s notion of a Malay leadership core is mere attachment to ethnicity devoid of any genuine commitment to ethical practices. They would realise that its protection of the economic well-being of the community has in fact led to a widening gap between the ‘have-a-lot’ and the ‘have-a-little’ accompanied by abuse of opportunities by the well-connected. Malays and Muslims would hopefully become aware that glorification of form and symbol in the name of religion does not do justice to the essence of Islam.

When the Malay Position is understood and implemented in an enlightened manner, it would synchronise with PH’s reform agenda, elements of which have already become reality such as the food bank programme for the needy and the declaration of assets and liabilities by legislators. Indeed, an alternative approach to the Malay Position will strengthen just, ethical   governance as a whole. In the process, the Malay Position itself will be transformed for the well-being of the community and the nation.


Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is a political scientist who has authored a number of books on Malaysian politics.


Kuala Lumpur. 
26 August 2019.