Are Malaysians ready for Malaysian Malaysia?
In its 50th year of independence, this question is not even openly debated in Malaysia. At 50 the concept is still not understood by Malaysians. At 50, I am afraid, a no is still the answer to the question. Malaysians are not ready for Malaysian Malaysia.
Fundamentally, to some, Malaysian Malaysia means upholding the original constitutions. To others it means revamping the constitution. The contentious issue of the social contract in the equation makes this option a challenging option.
You travel to the Malay heartland of Terengganu, Kelantan and to a certain extent Kedah and Perlis , and try to understand the way they think. You will find that, to them their Malay way is the Malaysian Malaysia way. There is no reason for them to adopt any other way. Their sekolah kebangsaan has always been run in that manner, they were in fact malay schools. In the morning the children study english and maths and sciences and in interludes and in the afternoon extra classes means studying fardu ain, the quran or malay culture.
The assertion of the ministry of education to nationalise the school draw resentment among the more conservative. The religious based politics and the religious schools mushroomed as a symptom to the nationalisation or Malaysianisation of the school.
Similarly amongst the chinese, allowing the conservative chinese educationist to take centre stage see the surge in enrolment of Chinese schools.
Education is the cradle of the nation. Malaysian Malaysia can only be engineered, socially through education. Mahathirs frustration is obvious when he labelled the Chinese educationist as in the same category as communists. A bit too much, i opine. Chauvinist would be a better word.
I am a strong advocate for Sekolah Kebangsaan. Let there be SRJK(melayu) , srjk(Cina) and SRJK (Tamil) and let the sekolah kebangsaan be the cradle of malaysian Malaysia. It would be a good indicator to the readiness of Malaysian for Malaysian Malaysia.
The race based politics of the mainstream political party, is too well entrenched for it to be unentangled. They are the government of the Barisan Nasional alright but most of the time, you see as if there are several shadow cabinets and several governments within a government. The heads of the racial political parties are nothing more than the Kapitan china and the Kapitan keling and the warlords of yores.
Will the warlords sacrifice their positions for the sake of Malaysian Malaysia? There are just too many who benefit from the present system from media moguls to ambitious editors who would ensure the perpetuations of their racism and chauvinism.
It is glaring in their writings and speeches. At one instant they are advocating malaysian malaysia and at other occasions their chauvinisms are glaring. It is therefore not surprising that to many malays , such overtures for Malaysian Malaysia, are purely political ploys to pursue narrow race based interests.
The Ijok by-election is a case in point. The opposition is the Keadilan. The candidate is one who openly declares that the New Economic policy is the stumbling block to a fair and just government. The opposition is saying that the Malays must not be fooled by the follies of the NEP.
You would think that these manifestos would be most welcomed by advocates of Malaysian Malaysia. Even those publications who are inclined towards malaysian malaysia are condemning khalid ibrahim and his manifestos.
Will Keadilan win? I doubt it.
Malaysians are therefore not ready for Malaysian Malaysia. The Malays are not ready, the Chinese are not ready and the Indians are not ready. Correction. The populace may be ready but the warlords will never be ready. There are just too many chauvinists and racists in our midst.