MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dr M: Orang Asli here first, but it is still Tanah and Ketuanan Melayu

Dr M: Orang Asli here first, but it is still Tanah and Ketuanan Melayu

It looks like former premier Mahathir Mohamad is not going to give up. To make sure his Ketuanan Melayu or Malay Supremacy theory is foolproof, he has offered an explanation on why the Orang Asli are not on the same level even though they were here in Malaysia long before anyone else.

According to him, the Malays hold more sway because the Malay Rulers had set up states but not the Orang Asli or Original People.

However, he does not explore the immediate and obvious extension, doesn't this make the Malay Rulers some sort of 'first-batch colonialists' rather than the natural or original masters of the land.

He mentions in his blog posting entitled Semenanjung Tanah Melayu 2that it was the Malay Rulers with whom the Europeans and later the Japanese dealt with when they came here, and not the Orang Asli.

He implies that this meant it was recognized that the land belonged to the Malays. Again, he does not go further by questioning if the Europeans and Japanese negotiated with the Malay Rulers because they did not know about the Orang Asli, or if the indigenous folk were too backward then and could not speak for themselves, or if it was because their political power had already been usurped.

Mahathir also failed to fully or reasonably explain why Malaysia was called Tanah Melayu or Malay Land. Was this because it was the description used by the Malay folk and Rulers at that time? Did the Original People have their own name for the land before that?

In his previous posting Semenanjung Tanah Melayu 1, Mahathir had tried to explain why the Malays were entitled to dominate the country, especially politically. His reasoning was that it was because they were not migrants unlike the Chinese and the Indians - why else was the country called Tanah Melayu if it did not belong to the Malays?

But his article drew much flak, and perhaps this spurred him into attempting a more detailed explanation as to why even though the Malays were not the Original People, his theory of Malay supremacy still holds true.

Further on in his second posting, he called on Malaysians to unite under one national language and not look at themselves based on their ethnicities. But his critics, who have minced no words calling him the ultimate racist, are not impressed.

They see him as taking yet another dig at the non-Malays, in particular the Chinese and the Indians who put high score on vernacular school education.

"We would like to see the end of all special privileges so that we can all be together. We should all be just Malaysians speaking and teaching in one national language, practitioners of one national culture, and owing loyalty only to this beloved country, Malaysia," Mahathir said.

Perhaps, he should also note that for such an ideal to become reality, it is leaders like him who need to convince the people that no one ethnic group should insist they are superior to another.

Just like the police when they move in to break up a gang fight, the first rule to lay down is, Put down your weapons.

Then gather the people together. Consult. Discuss. Democratize. Surely, he is not afraid of them. Anyway, that is what leadership is about and not who waves the most lethal pistol in town.

Malaysia Chronicle appends below the full text of his plosting from his blog http://chedet.co.cc/

Someone asked what about the "Orang Asli" literally the "Original People". Weren't they in the peninsular before the Malays?

They could be. So are the Red Indians, the Maoris, the aborigines of Australia, the many tribal people in many countries of the world.

If we consider that the Orang Asli have more rights to claim Malaysia as their own then we should acknowledge and respect the rights of the Red Indians, the Maoris, the Australian aborigines and all the other aborigines to be given back the land we now call America, Australia, New Zealand etc.

Perhaps in recognition of their rights, they are now not so ill-treated and killed as they were when the Europeans seized their lands. But this is not the same as declaring that the countries belong to the people originally found there.

In Latin America there were native, indigenous or Orang Asli governments when the Europeans arrived. The Aztecs, the Mayas, the Incas had recognisable states. But the Spaniards and the Portuguese conquered their lands and set up new States and Governments. The world have recognised these states.

In Malaysia the Orang Asli are as much citizens of the country as are the people of other races. They had never set up their own states and governments.

When the Europeans came, the governments and the states they had to deal with were Malay. All treaties were made with the Malay Governments. Even the Japanese recognised the existence of these Malay States when they drove the British out of the peninsular.

Of course when the British came back, they had to gain the assent of the Malay rulers in order to set up the Malayan Union. All subsequent agreements were with Malay rulers and Malay political leaders.

It is important to note that the Malay rulers only recognised Malays as their natural "rakyat". They also recognised "Orang Asli" and non-Malays who had been assimilated as "rakyat". However, non-Malays who continued to identify themselves with their countries of origin were not regarded as rakyat.

It was only after the Malayan Union was formed that the concept of citizenship was created. Still those recognised as rakyat of the rulers were acknowledged through what came to be regarded as special positions.

This was enshrined in the constitution. But the constitution also made it clear that the non-Malay citizens also have special position. Thus they may retain their original identity, use their own home language (mother tongue?) and perpetuate their own culture. They also have the right to teach in their own languages in Government supported primary schools and can set up their own private secondary schools.

The setting up of schools which teach in their own languages is not to be confused with schools for teaching other languages.

We would like to see the end of all special privileges so that we can all be together. We should all be just Malaysians speaking and teaching in one national language, practitioners of one national culture, and owing loyalty only to this beloved country, Malaysia. - Malaysia Chronicle

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