COMMENT | The Malay 'brotherhood'

Mariam Mokhtar
·5-min read
COMMENT | The Malay 'brotherhood'
COMMENT | The Malay 'brotherhood'

COMMENT | What's happened to the mouthpieces who used to declare that "Our party is the only one which will protect the Malays and defend Islam"? Why have these loud boasts suddenly gone quiet?

Even more ironic is that today, the Malays are more divided than ever and the nationalists feel more insecure. All this is happening during the tenure of the "I am Malay first" Muhyiddin Yassin, who leads the Malay majority government.

Many Malay politicians refuse to come down from their ivory tower and only venture into the real world, once every five years, or when a by-election is due. Most probably, they feel that party matters are important, whereas the rakyat's needs are not.

Across Malaysia, many Malays are shocked and disillusioned, that some Malay leaders in positions of power are undermining them.

They are angry when a Malay who asks probing questions is treated with hostility and humiliated. They are furious that a Malay who questions a leader's conduct, is himself scrutinised and punished.

The nation is at breaking point economically, morally and socially. We are entering a dangerous phase and although we realise the dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the bigger threat to Malaysia is more insidious. It is tribalism at its worst. Tribal needs take precedence over the good of the nation.

The common factor among the members of the larger tribe (Umno-Baru, PN, Bersatu, PAS) is that they are made up of Malays (or pseudo-Malays). There is a naked competition to fight for their tribal needs. There is furious determination to make their tribe dominant.

In the olden days, the tribal chief would defeat his rivals in a show of physical strength, or skill in weaponry; today, it is doubtful that the many rivals would want to get hurt or bloodied. So, loyalty is rewarded with promises (mostly empty) of position and money.

There is little point in rewarding someone who is smart or industrious because you will never know if these men are craving the driving seat.

For this reason, Muhyiddin's cabinet is comprised of men and women, whom one could not trust to run a bath, let alone the country.

What kind of country has this become, when its leader openly champions one race, when ministers' loyalty is rewarded with perks and position and they are allowed to break the law? If Muhyiddin thinks these have gone unnoticed by the Malays (and Malaysians), then he is even more aloof (or desperate) than we imagined.

At one time, PAS urged Malays to buy Muslim first (BMF). What happened to that call?

PAS ministers fly off to Turkey and elsewhere on technology that is mainly Christian in origin, use smartphones which are kafir produced, and drive around in the best German Christian technology, which most Kelantanese folk can only dream of. The Malays are furious that their Malay leaders are drunk with power, and cannot see that they are promoting double standards.

Some mosques have billboards which say that Islam is a religion of peace. That has not stopped MPs from insulting other religions. Many Malays wonder why the guardians of Islam in the state have failed to admonish those who are a threat to national harmony.

We are told that the prophet led a humble life and did not take advantage of his position or allow his power to consume him, unlike our Malay leaders.

Many ordinary Malays are furious with some Malay leaders who have hijacked the religion with their brand of Islam. They now associate their leaders' preaching with corruption, injustice, oppression and hypocrisy.

Khairuddin Aman Razali
Khairuddin Aman Razali

The decision to exonerate Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Khairuddin Aman Razali of breaking the law, is probably linked to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's announcement that Umno-Baru will give Muhyiddin their full support.

Muhyiddin cannot dump Khairuddin, because of his slim majority. Moreover, he is heavily dependent on PAS' support.

Zahid, who was displeased with the lack of Umno-Baru's real power in the PN coalition, gained an advantage and more bargaining power because of the Anwar Ibrahim factor.

Anwar claimed that he had the numbers to topple Muhyiddin. Zahid could then play Anwar and Muhyiddin against the other.

The Malays in Muhyiddin's cabinet and essential institutions, like the judiciary and the Speaker of parliament, have all been chosen with care.

The Attorney-General dropped all charges against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman of his alleged corruption charges. Khairuddin's case, of breaking the strict Coronavirus SOP was passed, for several weeks, like a football between several government departments, before we were told he had done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, the attorney general’s brother, who is now the Speaker of Parliament, has allegedly undermined Parliament with his refusal to allow a motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin. This is one of his many faux pas in Parliament.

The actions of the AG and the speaker of Parliament have made us lose trust in the government and lose confidence in public institutions. This is sibling rivalry at its worst, when one brother competes to underperform the other.

The conservatives and nationalists want to preserve a bygone era and will get more authoritative when they see more ordinary Malays being repulsed by the actions of their leaders.

One way to rebuild Malaysia is to engage more women and a more diverse political leadership to show us that we can adapt to life in the 21st Century, where religion and modern values can be integrated.

There should be no quotas or affirmative action policies. Malaysians deserve better and only the best will do.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.