Malaysia’s Multiracial Promise Marred by Bigotry and Political Persecution

Race-based incentives, crackdowns on opposition figures, and an exodus of non-Malays: how Malay supremacists are creating a divided and fearful society

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Bazuki Muhammad / Reuters

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim during a protest against election results in Petaling Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur, May 25, 2013.

Malaysia is fond of presenting itself as a beacon of multiculturalism, but intolerance and division are increasingly the hallmarks of this southeast Asian nation of just over 29 million.

The return to court on Tuesday of 66-year-old opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim — who has spent the last five years fighting “sodomy” charges that he insists are politically motivated, and now awaits the verdict of a government appeal against his acquittal in January — is the latest fissure in the nation’s fractious politics. Others include the announcement of $9.4 billion worth of race-based incentives and a worsening climate of racial bigotry and hate speech that has seen Malaysia declared one of the world’s least tolerant societies.

General elections on May 5 saw the incumbent National Front coalition government of Prime Minister Najib Razak returned to power despite only getting 47% to the opposition’s 50% of the popular vote. But this translated to 133 to 89 parliamentary seats due to the “first past the post” electoral system, alleged electoral irregularities and apparent widespread gerrymandering.

The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) coalition, led by Anwar, complained bitterly and tens of thousands took to the streets to demand an investigation. In response, several opposition figures were arrested amid a crackdown that saw democracy take “significant steps backward,” according Bridget Welsh, an associate professor in political science at Singapore Management University.

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Despite lauding itself as a democracy, Malaysia has been characterized by racial politics since 1971, when statutory privileges for the Bumiputra, or “sons of the soil” as the Malay and smaller indigenous minorities call themselves, were introduced in the wake of bloody race riots. Ethnic Malays make up roughly two-thirds of the population, but Malaysians of Chinese immigrant ancestry are generally wealthier and better educated. (According to Najib, they are 50% wealthier.)

On Sept. 14, statuary entitlements for secondary education, government-linked jobs, entrepreneurship and housing were increased for ethnic Malays at the expense of the Chinese and Indian population.  “[The government is] insisting on a racist agenda at the expense of the country,” Anwar told TIME from the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur. Najib, however, insists that the policy is fair. “We are doing what is right and we are doing what is equitable,” he said upon announcing the move.

Curiously, Najib, an economist, previously described himself as a reformer who wanted to dial back Malay entitlement through his 1Malaysia drive, which championed ethnic harmony, national unity and needs-based instead of race-based assistance. The promises did not last long, however. “This guy has portrayed himself as a reformer of the highest level, but what he is actually doing is very much against reform,” says Welsh.

Instead, Najib appears to be focusing on hardliner support, which he needs in order to avoid losing his job at the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) annual general assembly on Oct. 5. “Najib is in a contest with hardliners for the hearts and minds of his party,” says Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. The Prime Minister’s “complete turnaround,” Robertson says, is due to his “fighting for his political life” after a disastrous performance at the ballot box.

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The near unanimous opinion among economists is that racial entitlements for Malays come at a cost for the country. Reserving key posts for unqualified people, for example, simply drives talent away. One out of ten Malaysians with a tertiary degree migrated in 2000 — twice the world average — while 90% of Malaysian migrants to Singapore were educated Chinese. Currently more than one million Malaysians work abroad out of a voting population of around 13 million.

“Economic advancement and progress will suffer and we will lose competitiveness because of the brain drain,” says Anwar. Last month, Malaysia cut its 2013 growth forecast from around 6% to as low as 4.5%. “Using the race card is not helping Malaysia but just family members and cronies,” Anwar adds. “This is 2013 and nobody is questioning your right to help those who need help, but it should not be based on race.”

The same Malay supremacist elites championing racial entitlements are also driving the charges against the opposition leader. “I can think of no other politician in Southeast Asia that’s been more persecuted over the last ten years than Anwar Ibrahim,” says Robertson. UNMO’s motivations are plain. As the head of a coalition of secular, Chinese and Islamic parties, Anwar “is the one person that everyone agrees has the stature to step up and be a legitimate candidate for prime minister,” Robertson explains.

The father-of-six was accused of consensual sexual relations with his political aide Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008, but High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah ruled in January that the DNA evidence presented by the prosecution had not been handled properly and could have been tampered with. (Anwar was originally charged with forcible sodomy until the defense questioned how a man in his 60s with a history of back complaints could have overpowered a healthy 20-something.) Nevertheless, the government chose to appeal the acquittal, with the case described by Welsh as “flawed at best” and indicative of the “tragic comedy” that Malaysian politics has become.

“We saw this in the May election, we saw it with the arrests of people after the election, we saw this with the dismissal of both the electoral officials,” says Welsh. Now, she adds, Malaysia’s tragicomedy can be seen in “the fact that [the government appeal against Anwar] is even moving forward.”

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31 comments
kllau
kllau

It is a Serious Matter.

Tragically, the New Umno Baru's is Built on Policies in Falsehood.

It is Heading for Self-Destruction , Hopefully Without Dragging Malaysia Along with it.

Gav
Gav

Normally I would say "don't read the comments, they're terrible!"

But in this instance, they are like perfect Appendices for everything in this article.

Jango
Jango

It is a unique combination of ignorance and arrogance with which you yankee screwballs see the world. 

So here is a reality check: as much as you like to support anwar, the people of Malaysia found out a long time ago that he is a hypocrite poodle for the zionist schemers who dream of controlling the entire world.

Not being Malaysian nor Malay myself, I can tell you that Malaysia is one of the nicest countries I have lived in. Certainly for  a Muslim country it has a unique multi-racial society in which all races and beliefs are not only tolerated but respected. 

Of course there are many, primarily young, people who are not satisfied with what they have achieved in life. Instead of working on their future, they prefer to bitch and moan on facebook about how unjust Malaysia treats its citizens. A sign of the time.  

As for your arrogance: the times are coming when the entire world will see you for the degenerated warmongering idiots that you are.

oamuwtikcus
oamuwtikcus

Malaysia and Malay bumis are indeed racist but that is only half the story. The economic racism practiced by Han-Chinese only contributes to the conflict. And of course many ethnic Chinese remain loyal to China and would sell out their adopted country for ethnic alliance with the CCP. Chines people need to reflect on this. 


Also google wumao to learn about paid Chinese posters

oamuwtikcus
oamuwtikcus

China hires paid posters to spread pro CCP propaganda on Western media boards. Dont believe it? Google Wumao and check out the wikipedia entry!

AnakKampung8
AnakKampung8

Please note that, in Malaysia, one's race and religion are attributed at birth and may not correspond to the actual ancestry and beliefs of the person.

According to the 2010 census, Malaysians classified as 'Malay' form just over half (around 52 percent) of the Malaysian population. I believe that Time has made the same mistake as many other 'big name' publications and is thus contributing to the narrative ethnocide of Malaysia's indigenous peoples. See article below for more details. http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2013/05/17/ways-of-seeing-malaysia-deconstructing-demographic-violence/

While I do not dispute the main points of this article, it is very unfortunate that Time has not transcended the racial framework (called MICO in the article above) and in particular the 'Malay-Chinese' dichotomy, which is not representative of Malaysia and has been used time and again to shore up certain poiltical interests.

The 2010 census can be consulted here: http://www.statistics.gov.my/portal/download_Population/files/census2010/Taburan_Penduduk_dan_Ciri-ciri_Asas_Demografi.pdf Please note in particular that 'Bumiputera' is NOT 'Malay' and is precisely a category created to 'wipe out' Malaysia's indigenous peoples.

Conclusion: Good effort, TIME, could do better with a little more homework.

RuzainReza
RuzainReza

Racism is a vicious circle in Malaysia atm.

The majority of Malaysians discriminate against each other but they love tourist regardless of creed.

Since young the Malaysian kids are taught to be hospitable and welcoming to tourist but somehow we do not extend the good manners to Malaysians of the 'other' community.  

The Chinese dominated private sector discriminate against the 79% non Chinese in Malaysia too.

Google employment ads in Malaysia and one will notice discriminating requirements e.g Mandarin/Cantonese speakers preferred or Chinese only.

Read the dozens academic papers published by western academicians regarding  Ethnically Homogeneous Middleman Group (EHMG) in East Asia. 

The EHMG Chinese control almost all of the supply chains in Malaysia.

The poor farmers and fishermen are mainly natives non Chinese but the EHMG takes the largest profit share in that particular economic chain.

The Chinese middlemen are loan sharks too so they lend money to the poor farmers and fishermen charging sky high interest rates.

Loan sharks ads are pasted everywhere with hunting lines.

Call any numbers and I bet my balls a Chinese Kongsi(gangster) will be at the other end.

Read further:

A Theory of Middlemen Minorities

Edna Bonacich

University of California

http://www.neiu.edu/~circill/benjamin/psci411b/theory.pdf


DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

Sounds like Arkansas and anyone who isn't White.

kon-tiki
kon-tiki

this is a country where minorities like the Malay Chinese and non-muslims are treated as second class citizens. To make that point clear, to get a seat in their medical colleges a non-muslim Malaysian will have to score straight A+ in all the subject where as their muslim counter parts are not required. The same goes for government and defence jobs. 

NonDescript1
NonDescript1

@oamuwtikcus  Ask yourself this , we're talking about M'sia...why rope-in the CCP? Another of your sick tactic to breed hate? A slimy retard trying to breed hate. . Where the heck in Wikipedia that Wumao / 50CentParty is said to link to M'sian Chinese. U must be a nut living in Wiki-fantasy land n  since u like to rope in CCP...I am also suspecting you're most probably some Freemason Monarchistic agent. Fair enough - u rope in 3rd party, so can I.  Instead of ALWAYS blaming Chinese, which is a very obvious inferiority complex symptom or opportunistic tactic, why don't  fellas like you go and STUDY and RESEARCH  how come the Chinese are controlling the economic pie? What propels them? Chinese are NOT known for cohesiveness when it comes  business and money , mainly each for their own - common sense, if  each is so self-absorb (when it comes to money) = you can't unite ! So how the heck you're gonna carry out a task, and such a  colossal proportion (to control a country's economy is no small feat. Don't believe? Ask the Rothschild) if no unity in that area? YET they somehow are able to "control" as you alleged, the economic pie? oamuTIKCUS, you got your name right...you surely got the brain the size of a TIKUS.

Back to topic.
Do you know M'sian Chinese do love M'sia and THAT is THE  PROBLEM which ticks the UMNO fellas to no end that's why they HAVE to keep harping on racial issues to divide-n-rule. Exactly what you're doing now...from UMNO, eh? Because M'sian Chinese, majority of them are loyal M'sians and willing to open up for a better Malaysia on a whole instead of pushing for Chinese ONLY agenda..it freaks UMNO out. And M'sian Chinese HAS PROVEN their loyalty time and time again esp. when they all UNITE to vote for PAS (an Islamic party ) against ANY contestants from the BN coalition (which also consist of Malaysian CHINISE Association) IN SPITE and DESPITE OF the BN candidate being a CHINESE from MCA.
 IF  Chinese people are all so "colonialist" as you bs about...then you better EXPLAIN  to me, WHY Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is NO longer in M'sian Parliament - who vote them out ? Meaning officially NOW in Malaysia..Chinese being the 2nd largest group has NO ETHNIC-specific party representing them!!...while Malays still have their UMNO and Indians their Malaysian INDIAN ASSOCIATION (MIC). Anybody who follows M'sian politics development can attest to it.  Do you also know that in Pandan area where predominantly a Chinese area, A Malay guy Rafizi vs a Chinese dude (a lawyer) and I'm sure you "already know" in Malaysia, candidates are selected based on the Majority of ethnic of that particular area to garner racial votes. But guessed what?...the Malay guy won and won by a LANDSLIDE VICTORY. These are just 2 examples. You have bs..I have facts. You can go Google the journey of  MCA , Rafizi Ramli, etc in this GE13.

PS. Since u like to repeat same gist of issue, i also copy paste and rehash the same answer for you.

AnakKampung8
AnakKampung8

Let me put it a little more clearly: There is  a serious mistake in this article: TIME has classified Malaysia's Orang Asal or indigenous peoples as 'Malays'. This is an error which is easy to make if one does not read Malay as the census pdf provided above is careful to distinguish between 'Malays' and 'other Bumiputeras' only in the non-English section. This was done with a view to providing fodder for exactly the sort of 'racial statistics' statements that are made in this article, which are intended to 'wipe out' Malaysia's indigenous peoples.

At the end of the day, this sort of article looks 'post-racial Malaysia friendly' on the surface but in fact subtly serves to reinforce the 'divide and rule' initiated by the British and continued by the present ruling coalition, and their will to power. I hope the author will take note of this point and get in touch with a Malay translator.

oamuwtikcus
oamuwtikcus

@RuzainReza ethnic-Chinese economic racism is indeed a major problem in Southeast Asia as it disenfranchises the local people while the Chinese immigrants carve up the economic pie between themselves. This breeds hostility against the "colonialist" Chinese. Chinese need to reflect on this. And of course the CCPs imperialist behavior stealing the lands and seas of Southeast Asians make the situation even worse because the ethnic Chinese often let ethnic allegiances trump national allegiances... very worrisome when one considers Chinese emigration to the west also. 

Auyuda
Auyuda

@RuzainReza  I think you are ignorant or what.  There are ads for jobs written as "bumi only"  why so.  Bumi is a race whereas speaking mandarin is a language, a requirement if you are dealing with China suppliers and customers.  Even chinese who cannot speak mandarin will not apply, but there are many chinese companies who do not need to mandarin knowledge and you can apply.  So. there are no discrimination.  In fact, I work in a china man compapnies where they employed more malays than chinese.

Secondly, we do not pay taxes to private companies but to the govt. so why should the govt. discrimnate against other races.  As for private companies, they used their own money to set up the companies.  They are not obligated to anyone.  They do not received taxes from us.  So, you need to know how to argue, otherwise, you are a laughingstock due to your ignorant.


oamuwtikcus
oamuwtikcus

@DeweySayenoff dewey are you familar with wumao paid Chinese shills, they are paid to divert attention from the article at hand and back towards America instead of focusing on China and Chinese

owenghaw
owenghaw

@DeweySayenoff 

Except in Malaysia, like South Africa prior to 1990, has legislated racism. Don't worry, Malaysia is a moderate racist country - whatever that my means.

LydiaFernandez
LydiaFernandez

@kon-tikiEven if you score straight A's, you still won't get a place to do medicine or any other medical related field (dentistry, pharmacy, biotechnology ect). They will throw u into the forest and give you a course known as Forestry! That is why many opt for private universities/colleges. For the lower income group, they have no other options but to take the lousy courses that are offered although they were straight scorers. When they are done with their course, they find it difficult to get a job related to their field. Either their field is too saturated in the country or employers will play the racial cards when deciding to hire.

owenghaw
owenghaw

@kon-tiki 

In Malaysia,  non-bumis are actually third class - the non UMNO Bumis are second class - these non UMNO bumis are allowed to sit at the foot of the table and pick up scraps from the UMNO bunch - while the non-Bumis can only stare at the banquet through a stained window. That is why these non-bumis find it is actually an upgrade to be in places like Oz, USA, UK, etc.

RuzainReza
RuzainReza

@kon-tiki Care to explain why my 2 'Muslim' cousins with 10 straight As in SPM failed to get a medical scholarship?

Do you know how many 'Muslim' with perfect 4.0 CGPA in Matrix failed to get medical seats in local universities? Dozens in every matriculation colleges around Malaysia. Don't take my comment as proof please ask any ex Matrix graduates. It's an open secret that 4.0 CGPA will not guarantee a spot in Medicine regardless of race or faith.

The candidates for the limited number of medical seats in public universities are interviewed by a panel of professionals from the Malaysian Medical Association and the respective university. The panel members consist of various races and faith. Have you ever attended a medical scholarship interview or are you passing hearsay?

The candidates will be assessed on:

-Academic achievement

-Extra curricular activities

-Suitability

-Sosio-economic background

Medical scholarship in public university is not an entitlement for 4.0 CGPA students.

MohamedFarid
MohamedFarid

@kon-tiki Don't forget beside non-Muslims,  Indian Muslims and Chinese Muslims here in Malaysia suffered too from this racist government. 

NonDescript1
NonDescript1

@oamuwtikcusInstead of ALWAYS blaming Chinese, which is a very obvious inferiority complex symptom or opportunistic tactic, why don't  tards like you go and STUDY and RESEARCH  how come the Chinese are controlling the economic pie? What propels them? Chinese are NOT known for cohesiveness when it comes  business and $$$, mainly each for their own...- common sense lah, if  each is so self-absorb (when it comes to money) = you can't unite ! So how the heck you're gonna carry out a task, and such a  colossal proportion (to control a country's economy is no small feat. Don't believe? Ask the Rothchilds) if no unity in that area? YET they somehow are able to "control" as you alleged, the economic pie? oamuTIKCUS, you got your name right...you surely got the brain the size of a TIKUS.

And ask yourself this as well, we're talking about M'sia...why rope-in the whole SEA? Another of your sick tactic to breed hate? Slimey retard you are! 
Back to topic.Do you know M'sian Chinese do love M'sia and THAT is THE  PROBLEM which ticks the UMNO fellas to no end that's why they HAVE to keep harping on racial issues to divide-n-rule. Exactly what you're doing now...from UMNO, eh? Because M'sian Chinese, majority of them are loyal M'sians and willing to open up for a better Malaysia on a whole instead of pushing for Chinese ONLY agenda..it freaks UMNO out. And M'sian Chinese HAS PROVEN their loyalty time and time again esp. when they all UNITE to vote for PAS (an Islamic party ) against ANY contestants from the BN coalition (which also consist of Malaysian CHINISE Association) IN SPITE and DESPITE OF the BN candidate being a CHINESE from MCA. IF  Chinese people are all so "colonialist" as you bs about...then you better EXPLAIN  to me, WHY Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is NO longer in M'sian Parliament - who vote them out ? Meaning officially NOW in Malaysia..Chinese being the 2nd largest group has NO ETHNIC-specific party representing them!!...while Malays still have their UMNO and Indians theri Malaysian INDIAN ASSOCIATIION (MIC). Anybody who follows M'sian politics developement can attest to it.  Do you also know that in Pandan area where predominantly a Chinese area, A Malay guy Rafizi vs a Chinese dude (a lawyer) and I'm sure you "already know" in Malaysia, candidates are selected based on the Majority of ethnic of that particular area to garner racial votes. But guessed what?...the Malay guy won and won by a LANDSLIDE VICTORY. These are just 2 examples. You have bs..I have facts. You can go goolgle the journey of  MCA , Rafizi Ramli, etc in this GE13.


PS. SInce you like to raise up same gist of issue, i also copy and paste the same rehashed answer for you.

NonDescript1
NonDescript1

@oamuwtikcus 

Eh RAT a.k.a TIKcUS....see how stupid you are? You scold "moron"...yet you quote your OWN name into it. 


See...even YOU YOURSELF AGREE you're a moron, eh. Well done SELF-ADMIT MORON

NonDescript1
NonDescript1

 @oamuwtikcus, TIKcUS..rodents be dead. I hate rodents. They infest and spread disease..just like u n your racist bs.

NonDescript1
NonDescript1

 TIKcUS...that's the best u can come up wth? PUNCTUATION?!?!?

Why dare not address the question i post to you? Counter me back point-to-point? SCARED? You little COWARD. Indeed you're a RAT/ TIKcUS.