To redeem the Malay dignity…

In a multiracial, multireligious country, the redeeming of our dignity should not be done at the expense of others

pic by BERNAMA

DO WE need a congress to restore and redeem the dignity of the Malays? What is the objective of the congress? Those were among the questions raised in the cyber sphere as supporters and detractors tried to find answers to the much talked-about congress.

According to the organisers — four public universities and Malay/Bumiputera NGOs (non-governmental organisations) — the congress was aimed to raise and deliberate on issues faced by the Malay community.

The proponents alluded to the fact that this event was necessary due to the changes in politics. Obviously, the connotation refers to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration that was perceived to be controlled by the non-Malays.

Some speeches were racial in nature, labelling the minority groups as “orang asing”. A flashback of speeches traditionally uttered at the Umno General Assembly.

The most infamous resolution would be from a representative of the education cluster who asked the government to prioritise scholarships for the Malays, even if they achieved D grades.

The MP for Pasir Mas, Ahmad Fadhli Shaari went as far as urging the government to reserve all government top posts only for the Malays.

These statements obviously were ridiculed in the cyber sphere. One cannot help but wonder whether these speeches were made to further undermine the Malays’ ability or whether it was a reflection of the speakers’ insecurities to face the current social climate in the country.

Some Internet users were apparently oblivious about the Congress until the media reported on Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s (picture) “amanat”.

Some questioned Dr Mahathir’s attendance at the event due to his position as the PM for a multiracial coalition.

Observers highlighted that it was a classic Dr Mahathir’s Machiavellian move: He is savvy enough to hijack an event and get his message across even when facing the most hostile audience.

And that is exactly what he did. The 94-year-old responded that he was there because he is a Malay too — despite some people’s claims that he is not — and he has every right to talk about the Malays just as much as another Malay has.

He took the stage, delivered an off-the-cuff speech, standing firm to his belief that it is the Malays who could restore their dignity — without expecting others to do so for them. Dr Mahathir censured the “asking culture” (budaya minta minta) instead of actually working hard to earn what they want.

His speech might have come as a surprise for some attendees who are expecting that Dr Mahathir would endorse anything as far as it is done for the sake of the race. After all, the event was also attended by politicians from both sides of the political divide, namely Umno-PAS and some from PH.

This was probably one of the reasons why some of the participants did not take kindly the PM’s amanat. What they had in mind runs contrary to the latter’s take on what could be done to help the Malays. You can never get the horse to drink the water all the time.

One is free to disagree with Dr Mahathir. But it is hard to disagree that only the Malays could redeem and restore their dignity through good values and reject the morally corrupt.

Of course it is easier said than done. What more with some people continuing to find comfort in the familiarity no matter how immoral or corrupt they had been in the past.

It is time for the Malays to change that narrative because we are capable in our many ways. In a multiracial, multireligious country, the redeeming of our dignity should not be done at the expense of others.

Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.