Note : Last afternoon I highlighted to Dr Chandra this imbalanced and ill-informed article written by one Yin Ee Kiong (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/02/25/malaysia-a-house-divided/) that suggested that Dr Chandra received various government sinecures. This is not the first time that individuals irresponsibly accuse Dr Chandra of such things. The last time, it was Antares/Kit Lee. Antares had to apologise and admitted that he was wrong. (You can read his apology here http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/breakingviews/article/Im-sorry-Chandra-Antares-/). I wish Malaysians will stop simply accusing without knowledge nor proof. I too have had to go through such nonsense. Below is Dr Chandra’s response to Yin Ee Kiong. Like Antares, he will need to do some soul searching, anas zubedy
A LOPSIDED VIEW
I refer to the letter by Yin Ee Kiong in FMT dated 25 February 2013.
There are some gross inaccuracies in Yin’s perspective on Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action in the Indian Constitution targets scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In the United States, Affirmative Action policies were meant for the African Americans. So it is not community blind or colour blind.
In Malaysia, the rationale for Affirmative Action was linked to citizenship for the Chinese and Indians. The leaders of the Malays ---- both the Sultans and the UMNO elite --- had decided to confer citizenship on the most magnanimous terms conceivable on a million recently domiciled immigrants thus reducing the Malays whose history and culture have defined the land, to a community among communities. What was poignant about the community’s generous accommodation of ‘the other’ was its own socio-economic situation: 64% of Malays lived below the poverty line on the eve of Merdeka. The Special Position of the Malays in the Constitution, it is worth reiterating, was meant to safeguard the interests of an abysmally poor indigenous community who had acquiesced with the transformation of the identity of the land, a transformation which has no parallel in history.
Yin not only ignores this fundamental premise upon which Affirmative Action is constructed; he is also wrong about an original 15 year limit to the Special Position of the Malays “that has been extended and extended again...” It was the Reid Commission that recommended a limit. But it was not accepted by the Alliance (UMNO-MCA-MIC) which the Commission recognised as the voice of the people since it had won 51 out of 52 seats in the 1955 Federal Legislative Council elections. Thus, a time limit was never ever part of the Constitution.
Yin who regards “ Bumiputraism” as the “biggest problem” in the country and yet lauds Tunku Abdul Rahman’s leadership may not be aware that it was the Tunku who introduced the term “Bumiputra” into our national political discourse in 1963, after the formation of Malaysia. He may not also realise that it was the late Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman who in a widely publicised speech after the May 13th Incident advised the non-Malays not to question Special Position and declared firmly that it is only the Malays who will decide whether the Constitutional provisions pertaining to it should be perpetuated or not. Today, the Special Position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of the other communities, together with other constitutional Articles relating to citizenship, the status of Malay as the sole official and national language, the use and study of other languages, and the position of the Malay Rulers, are under the guardianship of the Conference of Rulers and cannot be abrogated by Parliament or the people.
But the operation and implementation of these entrenched Articles can be discussed and debated in the public arena as they have been in the last 42 years. Just as there have been positive outcomes, there have also been negative consequences arising from the implementation of policies and programmes that owe their origin to these aspects of the Constitution. The New Economic Policy (NEP) is an example of a state initiated effort that has had its share of successes and failures. In my book The NEP, Development and Alternative Consciousness which Yin refers to I try to examine how the NEP had been used and abused in the seventies and eighties.
In this regard, I want to assure Yin that my position on issues such as equality, the dichotomisation of the citizenry, shared citizenship and the “exclusive ownership” of the nation has not changed one iota in the last four decades. You only have to go to the Yayasan 1Malaysia website to access my writings on some of these national concerns in the last three years. However, I refuse to approach these concerns from the partial, biased angle adopted by a number of so-called opponents of “institutionalised racism” who are themselves bigots and chauvinists. For instance while I have admonished those who criticise the advocates of equality which I cherish as a vital principle of living, I have also not hesitated to emphasise that Special Position in the 1957 Constitution was an attempt to overcome gross ethnic inequality especially in the economy which, if left unattended to, would have destroyed our delicate social fabric.
Similarly, through Yayasan 1Malaysia I have given a great deal of importance to both rights and responsibilities in the context of shared citizenship. What this means is that while we uphold our rights we should also shoulder our responsibilities--- such as our responsibility to understand how Malaysia evolved from a Malay polity; to empathise with the role of Malay as our national language; to appreciate the position of Islam as the religion of the nation. It is this balanced perspective that is missing in many of our activists and intellectuals. They bemoan injustices to their own community which in many instances deserve to be addressed but are not willing to try to understand the sentiments and feelings on the other side of the ethnic divide.
Finally, Yin suggests that I am “a recipient of various government sinecures”. I would like Yin to enlighten me on those sinecures. What are these sinecures? Detail them one by one.
Do it within the next 48 hours. If he can’t, he should apologise to me immediately. If he doesn’t, I shall seek legal recourse.
25 February 2013.