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Sunday, 14 December 2008

PITA POLITIK (98): CHILDREN OF THE LOST GENERATION??

Sunday December 14, 2008
A middle class Malay perspective
WIDE ANGLE WITH HUZIR SULAIMAN

The children of the Establishment tackle some difficult issues.
IN the strident and unnecessarily unpleasant debate over the concept of ketuanan Melayu and the Malay community’s political future, the quiet voices of urban middle-class Malays have yet to make themselves heard.
As a partial corrective, I spoke to several members of a tribe that, while small in number, is intriguing from a social anthropology perspective.
The Malays of the anak Datuk class – the children of senior civil servants and technocrats whose parents’ careers in public service predated the Mahathir era – are interesting in that their values and ideas about Malaysia must have been formed at least in part by their families’ experiences of nation building.
As their parents made the country, it stands to reason that they would have a considerable emotional stake in how it develops in the future.
Even within this rarefied sub-caste of children of the Establishment who are not themselves involved in politics, however, their feelings about ketuanan Melayu show a marked diversity.
Fahmi Fadzil, 27, is a writer and performer. He is the son of Datuk Fadzil Yunus, the former director-general – and later general manager – of the Felda group of companies, and Datin Fauziah Ramly, a senior civil servant who was most recently a Commissioner with the Public Service Commission.
I asked him what he makes of the concept of ketuanan Melayu.
“I never grew up thinking about it very much. My parents never spoke to me about it. Even when I was in college the whole matter was never really present in how I saw things.
“I think because I live in KL – and especially because my parents came from that group of earlier middle class Malay civil servants – I don’t think I would subscribe to ideas of ketuanan Melayu.”
But does he subscribe in any way to the idea that the Malays are the natural leaders – or in some way the owners – of Malaysia?
“No. On my father’s side I’m the fourth generation born on this peninsula, on my mother’s side just the third generation, so I see myself as a pendatang too. I don’t subscribe to the idea of a natural leadership role for the Malays.
“More than that, as a Muslim, I don’t see the need for this. There is no such thing as one group being ethnically superior to another.
“The thing I remember most from school, from kelas agama, (is that) from the early days of Islam there was a clear message that you were all the same. Whether you were Arabs or not, you are all the same now.
“We should be talking about values and principles held by people rather than subscribing to simplistic ideas of certain ethnicities being the owners of the land. I don’t subscribe to that, and even if I did, I think the rightful owners would be the Orang Asal.”
Datuk Zahim Albakri, 45, the director and actor, is the son of Datuk Ikmal Hisham Albakri, the first Malay architect and the first President of Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia, who designed the National Library, Putra World Trade Centre, and the Bank Bumiputera headquarters in KL.
Zahim’s grandfather, Datuk Seri Mustafa Albakri, of the Malayan Civil Service, was the first Commissioner of the Election Commission and the first Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal.
For Zahim, coming to grips with the concept of ketuanan Melayu means dispelling ambiguity: “There seems to be a confusion between the bumiputera policy (the New Economic Policy) and the idea of ketuanan Melayu. The bumiputera policy was a reaction to the riots of 1969, whereas ketuanan Melayu, in the Constitution, I don’t think is particularly giving special privileges or rights to the Malays, it’s to ensure that the Malay Rulers have a certain place, to ensure that those institutions continue.
“I grew up in a family where we were brought up with the understanding that the Malay rulers are there, and this is our history, our culture.
“I grew up with my granddad being proudly Malay, and proudly Orang Perak. There was this sense of being proud of our culture. But never were we made to think that being Malay gave us a right to something beyond.
“I was brought up (to believe) that every citizen in Malaysia was equal. I was never brought up believing that Malays should have more than everyone else.”
How would he feel about a non-Malay Prime Minister?
“I have no problem with a non-Malay PM. It should be about their competence. It should be the best person for the job.”
The composer Datin Saidah Rastam comes from a family steeped in public life. Her maternal grandfather was Perak’s 14th Datuk Panglima Kinta, who held 56 public service posts at the time of his death. Her father is Datuk Rastam Hadi, the former managing director of Petronas and former deputy governor of Bank Negara. Her husband is the urbane lawyer-turned-banker Datuk Charon Mokhzani (who, with exquisite politeness, declined to be interviewed for this article).
Says Saidah, “I think the races should be treated equally and the biggest thing that makes me uneasy about the concept of ketuanan Melayu is that it’s increasingly being used in fascist ways.”
She believes that the NEP “was a necessary thing at the time, given the racial tensions, but that’s different from the concept of Malay supremacy”.
She points to the historical record: “Tun Razak said that that was only for that time, and this NEP thing would end at some point, so that’s different from the notion that there’s an inherent Malay supremacy that can’t be questioned, which I’m very uneasy with.
“I’m somebody who benefited from the policies which favoured Malays – at the outset I’m happy to admit that. But looking at things today, my personal view is that we should give everybody equal opportunities because the policies favouring Malays haven’t been used properly.
“And given that the people who are supposed to safeguard the correct implementation of the policies are the same ones who benefit from them, I’m not optimistic that those policies will be correctly implemented.”
Dain-Iskandar Said is a writer and film director. His father was Datuk Mohamed Said Zain, a diplomat and intelligence officer.
He sees the concept of ketuanan Melayu as “outmoded, out of step with the times we live in, when the world is becoming more and more global. The world over, people are bringing down barriers of race, yet we are trying to instill and install those outmoded values.”
In his eyes, there are many aspects to the problem. “First, what is a Malay? Most Malays I know are some kind of mix, so who defines being Malay? Who are the guardians of the definition?
“The definition of ketuanan Melayu seems to be Umno; it always seems to lead back to Umno’s agenda.
“I’m not saying that outside of it it’s not valid; it may be valid to a lot of people. I can understand that. The main problem is the way it’s implemented. The tone of it is fascistic.”
For him, the promotion of the tenets of ketuanan Melayu “exposes deep insecurity, because if you really believe you are leading this country, what are you so scared of? I don’t think any of the other races want to take that away from you. They can’t, because in the Constitution are enshrined certain precepts.”
Dain argues that our debate is impoverished. “While many of us middle class Malays can be liberal and open, there’s never been any kind of infrastructure that supports ideas or traditions of openness.
“So on the one hand you have people who are willing to be open and liberal, but on the other hand it is so easy to destroy it, because there is no critical, intellectual or educational infrastructure to support those ideas.
“When you attack something that has no support, it is so easy to play to the rural Malay masses, to instill that kind of fear, and make people feel extremely powerless.
“There’s no tradition of talking critically about race and identity politics. You’re almost suspended in a vacuum.”
This is a vacuum that we need to fill with the plurality and diversity of our opinions. It has always been the position of Wide Angle that Malaysia’s many problems and tensions should not be ignored; they need to be addressed by continued, forthright yet respectful debate by citizens, and the issue of ketuanan Melayu is no exception. (The Star Online, 15 December 2008)
• Huzir Sulaiman writes for theatre, film, television, and newspapers.

Comments:
A pretty biased and almost one-sided opinion from the children of our Dato's and the middle-class community. It should be interesting to learn if they ever know their roots and history. Won't it be much better if they get a lesson from history gurus like Prof. Khoo Kay Kim or veteran politicians and teachers like Tan Sri Aziz Tapa.

A typical new breed of the so-called "cultured" people who are ignorant of their blah...blah...blah!!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

PITA POLITIK (97): INSTITUSI RAJA KEMBALI KEBAL?


Persidangan Raja-Raja Melayu di Kuala Terengganu, 17 Oktober 2008.

Setuju rakyat, Parlimen putuskan soal kekebalan Raja

Oleh NOR ZAINAH NORDIN dan FAIZAH IZZANI ZAKARIA

KUALA LUMPUR 8 Dis. – Beberapa pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan ahli akademik bersetuju bahawa rakyat dan Parlimen adalah pihak yang berhak membuat keputusan sama ada perlu mengembalikan kekebalan raja seperti sedia kala atau dengan bersyarat.

Presiden Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa), Datuk Ibrahim Ali berkata, Perkara 66 Perlembagaan Persekutuan perlu dipinda semula bagi mengembalikan kuasa raja-raja dalam memperkenankan sesuatu rang undang-undang di Parlimen.

Menurut beliau, ia sebagai langkah untuk memastikan kekebalan raja-raja Melayu kekal dan orang Melayu lebih yakin serta percaya bahawa institusi beraja di negara ini masih relevan.

“Perkasa menggesa Perkara 66 yang memasukkan Fasal 4A dipinda semula. Ini penting dalam masa kita bercakap soal ketuanan Melayu dan agama Islam yang tidak boleh diusik, mengembalikan kuasa raja-raja itu akan lebih meyakinkan orang Melayu,” katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia.

Ditanya sama ada beliau akan mencadangkan untuk membawa usul mengenai perkara itu di Parlimen kelak, Ibrahim berkata, beliau akan menyokong sepenuhnya apabila ada parti politik berbuat demikian.

“Saya rasa ini bukan untuk kepentingan orang Melayu sahaja tetapi untuk mewujudkan satu situasi yang mampu mengekalkan kesejahteraan kepelbagaian kaum di negara ini,” katanya.

Dalam wawancara dengan Mingguan Malaysia, kelmarin, Sultan Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah bertitah bahawa rakyat dan Parlimen adalah pihak yang sebaik-baiknya membuat keputusan bagi mengembalikan kekebalan kepada raja-raja.

Baginda bertitah, mungkin kekebalan dengan syarat tertentu lebih sesuai diperkenalkan khususnya berkaitan dengan kuasa untuk bercakap supaya tiada pihak yang akan membawa raja- raja ke mahkamah atas apa yang dititahkan.

Pengerusi Gabungan Badan Ekonomi Melayu (Gabem), Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik pula berkata, pandangan Sultan Selangor yang menyerahkan kepada rakyat dan Parlimen untuk memutuskan soal pengembalian kekebalan raja-raja adalah tepat.

Beliau berkata, terpulang kepada rakyat dan Parlimen untuk mengambil tindakan jika didapati perlu dikembalikan kekebalan kepada raja-raja.

Bagaimanapun, secara peribadinya, beliau yang juga Ahli Majlis Tertinggi (MT) UMNO berharap pindaan Perlembagaan yang baru dilaksanakan itu kekal kerana belum ada keperluan mendadak bagi mengembalikan kekebalan tersebut.

‘‘Dengan cara ini akan dapat memastikan tanggungjawab itu dilaksanakan sebaik-baiknya bersama-sama,” katanya.

Timbalan Presiden Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS), Syed Anuar Syed Mohamed pula berkata, soal itu perlu diperhalusi semula dan selagi tiada kaitan jenayah, raja-raja perlu dikembalikan kekebalan sesuai dengan fungsinya sebagai payung negara.

‘‘Saya tidak nampak raja-raja akan salah guna kelebihan tersebut memandangkan ada Majlis Raja-Raja yang diketuai oleh Yang di-Pertuan Agong sebagai pihak yang akan mengimbangi kekebalan tersebut,’’ katanya.

Pada perkembangan sama, Ahli Jawatankuasa Gapena, Profesor Datuk Dr. Zainal Kling berpendapat, adalah elok kekebalan raja-raja Melayu dikaji semula untuk dikembalikan memandangkan institusi itu menjadi pengimbang kepada kerajaan yang dipilih rakyat.

“Jika tiada kuasa raja, kerajaan mungkin akan menjadi terlalu kuat seperti apa yang berlaku di Thailand. Jadi mengembalikan kekebalan raja-raja Melayu adalah wajar.(Utusa Malaysia Online 9 Disember 2008)

Komen:
Baginda sultan atau wakil Baginda daripada negeri-negeri yang dahulunya dinamakan "Negeri_negeri Bersekutu" (Federated Malay States), seperti Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan dan Pahang, telah bertitah tentang institusi raja. Yang masih belum kita dengar dengan jelas titahnya ialah Negeri-Negeri yang dahulunya dinamakan "Negeri-Negeri Yang tidak Bersekutu",(Unfederated Malay States) seperti Kelantan, terengganu, Kedah dan Johor, termasuk Perlis. Negeri-negeri yang dahulunya dinamakan The Straits Settlements seperti Melaka dan Pulau Pinang, tak boleh bersuaralah. Kalau ada pun suara negeri-negeri ini adalah melalui Yang Dipertuan Agong. Tidak terkecuali untuk Sabah dan Sarawak, yang kini mempunyai Yang Dipertuan Negeri.

Kita dah dengar pandangan Anggota Parlimen Datuk Ibrahim Ali. Beliau memberi sokongan padu atas inisiatif mengembalikan "kekebalan" raja. Ada juga dalam kalangan rakyat terutama daripada NGO yang sependapat dengan pandangan Ibrahim dengan syarat kekebalan itu tidak melibatkan perkara-perkara jenayah. Ertinya bahagian yang melibatkan jenayah perlu terus dikekalkan seperti yang ada sekarang supaya tidak ada siapa yang boleh mengatasi undang-undang.

Banyak positifnya berbanding negatifnya. Perkara yang paling mendasar atau fundamental ialah "kekebalan" institusi raja adalah "kekebalan" ketuanan Melayu. Ini tidak bererti orang Melayu menjadi tuan dan orang bukan Melayu tidak menjadi tuan tetapi ia membawa erti orang Melayu sudah wujud di alam Nusantara ini sejak ribuan tahun lagi. Setidak-tidaknya sejarah menunjukkan nama gugusan alam bahagian ini ialah The Malay Archipelago, nama kaawasan yang menganjur ke selatan dari Thailand ialah The Malay Peninsular, nama negeri-negeri di dalamnya Federation of Malaya (Perekutuan Tanah Melayu, nama negeri yang dipecah dan perintah oleh penjajah Inggeris ialah The Federated Malay States dan Unfederated Malay States, nama negeri-negeri yang tidak beraja ialah Penang dan Malacca dan seterusnya dan seterysnya. ketika Melaka berada pada zaman puncak kegemilangannya pada pertegahan Abad ke-15 rajanya orang Melayu, lahir di alam nusantara atau "The Malay Archipelago". Maka orang Melayu kena ingatlah akan fakta sejarah. Tidak timbul soal politik.

Masalahnya sekarang ialah ada segelintir dalam kalangan orang (pemimpin) Melayu yang cuba nak jadi "jago" untuk mencari "political mileage".Jika pada zaman Kesultanan Melaka dahulu orang-orang seumpama ini tidak mungkin dapat bertahan lama.Riwayatnya juga mungkin tidak lama. Dalam pada itu, ada pula yang mahu melakukan "balancing act" dalam politik demi mempertahankan kuasa politik dan popularitinya. Tidak kisahlah sama ada orang seperti ini berada dalam parti yang memerintah atau sebaliknya.

Soalnya, patutkah orang-orang seperi ini dibenarkan terus berkuasa demi masa depan negara dan bangsa?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

(PITA POLITIK (96): MEDIA PUTAR BELIT CERITA POLITIK?

Soi Lek dakwa kenyataannya diputar belit
KUALA LUMPUR 2 Dis. - Timbalan Presiden MCA, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek menuduh ada pihak tertentu sengaja memutar belitkan ucapannya bagi membangkitkan kemarahan kaum Melayu.

Beliau sebaliknya menekankan bahawa istilah ketuanan Melayu dalam ucapannya baru-baru ini merujuk kepada konteks perkongsian kuasa dalam Barisan Nasional (BN) dan bukannya mencabar kedaulatan Raja-Raja Melayu, kedudukan istimewa kaum bumiputera termasuk status bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa Kebangsaan.

''Saya amat kesal dengan tindakan pihak-pihak tertentu yang sengaja memutar-belitkan ucapan saya.

''Mereka sepatutnya membaca terlebih dahulu keseluruhan kandungan ucapan saya sebelum membuat dakwaan sedemikian, biarlah kita berhujah secara rasional dan bukannya secara beremosi,'' katanya pada sidang akhbar di sini hari ini.

Soi Lek dilaporkan membuat kenyataan bahawa konsep ketuanan Melayu kini tidak lagi relevan semasa berucap pada majlis Anugerah Kancil di Petaling Jaya pada 27 November lalu.

Beliau dalam ucapan itu juga berkata, konsep ketuanan Melayu itu perlu ditolak rakyat pelbagai kaum khususnya generasi muda di negara ini.

Soi Lek menjelaskan, istilah ketuanan Melayu dalam perkongsian kuasa memberi tafsiran bahawa parti-parti komponen bukan Melayu dalam BN adalah hamba.

Tambah beliau, pihaknya menerima kepimpinan yang diterajui oleh pemimpin Melayu namun konsep perkongsian dalam BN harus diubah kerana beranggapan parti-parti komponen bukan Melayu di dalamnya adalah hamba.

Soi Lek berkata, istilah ketuanan Melayu yang digunakannya adalah merujuk konsep perkongsian kuasa di dalam BN yang didakwa tidak adil dan saksama.

''Tidak dinafikan ada pihak tertentu yang mengeksploitasi kenyataan saya berhubung istilah ketuanan Melayu sehingga mencetuskan kemarahan orang-orang Melayu.

''Oleh itu, saya berharap supaya semua pihak benar-benar faham apa yang dimaksudkan saya mengenai istilah tersebut kerana ia tiada kaitan dengan cubaan untuk mencabar tiga perkara itu seperti yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan,'' katanya.

Sementara itu, Soi Lek berkata, dalam ucapannya beliau hanya menyentuh berhubung perubahan landskap politik di negara ini selepas Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12 pada 8 Mac lalu yang menandakan permulaan pada sistem dua parti.

Katanya, sejajar dengan itu, semua parti politik yang ada juga perlu berubah menjadi lebih berdaya saing demi meraih sokongan rakyat.

Malahan beliau berkata, parti-parti komponen BN juga harus menggunakan pendekatan baru bagi membela nasib semua kaum di negara ini dan bukan hanya menumpu pada satu kaum sahaja. (Utusan online 3 November 2008).

Komen: Biasalah, pihak media akan dituduh salah lapor. Walaupun ada bukti video, orang yang merasakan kata-katanya disalah lapor akan tetap berkeras bahawa berita yang disiarkan adalah salah mengikuti pemahamannya. Media akan menjadi mangsa setiap kali berita yang disiarkan tidak diterima umum, walaupun berita itu sebenarnya betul, tepat secara literal dan tafsiran. Benar daripada segi implisit dan eksplisitnya. Lalu media pun diruduh punya agendanya sendiri.

Kesihan orang media!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

PITA POLITIK (95): PERLUKAN KITA RATAPI NASIB BANGSA?


Mungkinkah Allahyrham Tun Razak menjangkakan tidak akan berlaku polarisasi kaum apabila menggubal dasar Pelajaran Razak ketika itu?
BISIK-BISIK AWANG SELAMAT
SAMPAI hari ini Awang merasakan kerajaan telah melakukan kesilapan pada awal era kemerdekaan apabila membenarkan sistem pendidikan yang berbeza berasaskan kaum.

Rasanya tiada negara lain termasuk negara jiran serantau yang melaksanakan sistem tersebut.

Akibatnya sehingga saat ini, Malaysia berdepan dengan masalah polarisasi kaum yang serius walaupun setelah 50 tahun merdeka.

Ternyata kewujudan sekolah jenis kebangsaan tidak membantu penyatuan kaum.

Sebab itu, Awang bersetuju dengan cadangan Ahli Parlimen Jerlun, Mukhriz Mahathir agar kerajaan mewujudkan hanya satu sistem pendidikan berteraskan semangat kebangsaan bagi menggantikan sistem pendidikan sedia ada.

Menerusi sistem tersebut, pelajar kaum Cina dan India tetap diwajibkan mempelajari bahasa ibunda walaupun menggunakan perantaraan Bahasa Malaysia di sekolah.

Walaupun cadangan sedemikian pernah dikemukakan oleh beberapa tokoh tetapi keperluannya kini lebih mendesak.

Sebenarnya sistem pendidikan yang berbeza mengikut kaum tidak lagi relevan.

Dalam hal ini, semua kaum seharusnya lebih mengutamakan kepentingan negara. Apa maknanya menjadi warganegara jika kita masih berkiblatkan negara asing.


Awang – Di mana bumi dipijak... (Utusan Online, 2 Disember 2008)

Komen:
Kita telah mula merasakan bahang dasar pendidikan yang diasaskan oleh pemimpin terdahulu. Ada kemungkinan inilah yang diinginkan Penjajah British apabila mereka memaksakan sesuatu yang sekarang ini menyusahkan rakyat dan pemimpin Malaysia apabila mahu mencapai kemerdekaan dahulu. Tidak berjaya dalam usaha mereka menubuhkan Malayan Union mereka gunakan cara lain yang dalam jangka panjang mengkucar-kacirkan hidup harmoni rakyat berbilang kaun. Setelah 50 tahun barulah kita merasakannya.

Lalu pun kita kembali bercakap tentang perpaduan sedangkan "the root cause of the problem" tidak pernah kita sentuh.

Inilah padahnya jika kita terlalu berlembut dengan dasar. Tak kiralah apa sahaja dasarnya. Perlukah kita menyesal? Perlukah kita bersedih? Dan perlukah kita meratapi nasib bangsa yang bernama Malaysia!

Monday, 1 December 2008

PITA POLITIK (94): MUKHRIZ WANTS VERNACULAR SCHOOL SYSTEM SCRAPPED


Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir, UMNO Youth Chief aspirant.

Published: Monday December 1, 2008 MYT 4:44:00 PM
Mukhriz: Scrap vernacular schools, one system for all
By SA’ODAH ELIAS


KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief aspirant Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has called on the Government to abolish the vernacular school system as a means to enhance unity among people of various races.

He said a single school system was the only way to check the racial polarisation that was getting out of control in the country.

“The government should consider introducing only one school system with Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction, except for Science and Mathematics which are already being taught in English.

“Of course, pupils should then be given the option to study their mother tongues. Under this system, the Malays will also have the option of studying other languages like Mandarin and Tamil and this will further boost unity among them,” he told reporters at Parliament House on Monday.

The Umno Youth exco member said it was time for Malaysia to do away with the dual school system, which was practised by only a handful of countries in the world, as it had contributed to the problem of disunity in the country.

He said over 99% of countries in the world practised a single school system.

He expressed hope that leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties would not take his suggestion in a negative light as it was only meant as a suggestion to resolve, once and for all, the problem of racial polarisation affecting the citizenry.

“If they reject this suggestion, then they should explain why they are against it. How is it possible for them on one hand to talk about unity and question Malay rights, while on the other hand still insist on having a different school system for their race?

“If you want equal rights then you cannot have a different school sistem. You cannot have your cake and eat it too,” he added.

He also urged all parties to stop harping on issues that could create tension among Barisan component parties, including on the issue of Ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy.

Lately, he said, there were many statements made by leaders of component parties that had the potential to create anger among the Malays and Umno members.

“If they insist on making statements on that issue, then do not be surprised if the Malays start talking about the economic supremacy of the non-Malays.

“Despite all that has been said on the issue of Malay supremacy, the Malays do not feel in any way superior or the master when it comes to the country’s economy,” he said. (The Star Online, 1 December 2008)

Comments:
Indirectly Mukhriz seems to say that all the while the government has been wrong in implementeing its education policy. The creation of Sekolah jenis Kebangsaan has given more problems than solving them. But will other political parties buy it, especially if they are based on race. It is nice to listen what Lim Ki Siang, Karpal Singh. Ong Tee Kiat and Samy Vellu have to say about this. Perhaps these leaders should follow the cue from the American Nationl policy on education. And President-elect Barack Obama is just one of the products of the American education system.But mind you it takes more than 200 years to put an African-American into the White House, not without bloodshed.

Who knows one day one of the grandchildren of the present leaders, irrespective of Chinese Nationality, Indians or other minority groups will become the Prime Minister of Malaysia!



Tabik to Mukhriz! What say you, Dr. Khir Toyo and Khairy Jamaluddin?
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