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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Use ‘Tanah Melayu’ label, Utusan columnist tells government

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — The government should revert to using the “Tanah Melayu” (land of the Malays) label in all its official documents, an Utusan Malaysia columnist suggested today, as the paper continued to lament the alleged loss of the Malay identity following a divisive general election.
In an article published today, columnist Azman Anuar said it was unfortunate that the Malay community had forgotten the significance of the “Tanah Melayu” label to refer to the prominence of the Malay race as sons of the soil or Bumiputeras.
“Refer to any paragraphs in the early Constitution, it’s not mentioned as Semenanjung (peninsula) but by its full name Semenanjung Tanah Melayu (Malay peninsula).
“So it’s good for the government and Umno to return the name of Tanah Melayu to all official government reports and documents,” Azman wrote in an opinion piece titled “Melayu tak kisah apa bakal terjadi pada PRU-14?” (Malays don’t care what will happen in GE-14?).
Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, with the former being separated from the latter two by the South China Sea. These two areas are also commonly referred to as West Malaysia and East Malaysia.
Earlier, Azman lamented that the Malay community was not concerned with the loss of their identity.
“The Malays no longer care that the names of ‘Malay’ is being lost in their own land.
“The Utusan Malaysia paper that defends the Constitution has also been slammed hard and accused of being racist,” he wrote.
He pointed out that other people were proud of the names of their countries which reflected the identity of the indigenous people, citing Germany, Japan, India and the Netherlands as examples.
The Malay community forms the largest ethnic group in Malaysia and is also known as Bumiputera, the original settlers of the land.
In the same column, Azman went on to claim that other races are employing cunning tactics to squeeze the Malay community from the job market, business opportunities and the political scene.
“Don’t the Malays see the attitude of other races that are trying to bring them down in their own tanah air (motherland)? Now all sorts of tactics are done to bring down the Malays, whether from the economy, political or social aspect.
“From the aspect of economy, look at the activity of taking of jobs and business opportunities. From the political aspect, we can see the cunning tactics of that race towards BN. And the social aspect, that race is controlling all the areas of new economic growth,” he wrote.
Following the 13th general election, the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia has been running reports and opinion pieces painting the polls results as a split in votes between the Malay and non-Malay communities.
Earlier in the column, Azman noted that Umno had lost the urban votes, saying that the old practice of asking voters to remember BN’s good work was no longer working.
His comment seems to reflect the observation of analysts and politicians that the May 5 polls showed an urban-rural divide instead.
- MalayMail

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