By Anas Zubedy
Commander (Rtd) S. Thayaparan,
Thank you for your letter. It is nice to see that you started your letter with a salam, although in zorro-unmasked.blogspot.com, they took out the earlier parts of your letter.
I would like to make a few comments.
Like you, I am not for race-based political parties. I have, on many occasions, in my blog, full page ads, and talks, proposed that BN and PR slowly but surely work to make themselves one big party each which is non-race or religion based.
Like you, I too believe strongly that all socioeconomic policies must be based on needs, not race or religion.
I also agree that truth has been manipulated by people in power and some have used race wrongly to divide our country for the purpose of clinging onto power. I see this in both in BN and in the opposition.
I’m glad that we are on the same page on the new found cordiality between DAP and PAS.
On your question if I have forgotten YB Karpal Singh and the other races in DAP, I have not. Perhaps it was my mistake not to clearly state that my letter was a response to the DAP’s specific endeavor to focus and attract Malay membership. That is why in the letter I only focus on the DAP and the Malays.
A few weeks ago, the respected Tunku Abd Aziz lamented that he has failed to bring in Malay support. The DAP also launched Roketkini.com with the purpose of engaging the Malay segment. Thus my letter was a response on how the DAP can get Malay support and become multiracial.
For your information, YB Karpal Singh is one of my favourite politicians. I admire his stance on anti-frogging. If you browse through my blog, on many occasions I have supported him.
I have to respectfully disagree with you that the only legitimate natives are the Orang Asli and the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak. The Malay stock is an entity that includes the inhabitants of the whole Malay Archipelago, including the Phillipines and Indonesia. A biography of Jose Rizal by Rafael Palma lauded him as ‘The Pride of the Malay Race’, though he had Chinese blood and was a Christian.
The early inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago came in waves of migration between about 3000 to 1500 years ago. The first theory is that they originated from Indochina, flowed down the Peninsula and then crossed to the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and the Phillipines. The second theory is they originated from South China and moved across to Borneo and the Phillipines. These theories are based on archaeological evidence. This you can read from former PKR deputy president Dr. Syed Husin Ali’s book, ‘The Malays – Their Problems and Future’. He writes that the people living in the Peninsula for thousands of years are undoubtedly the true ancestors of the present-day Malays, the Neolithic groups often being described as Proto-Malays.
The book ‘The Malay Archipelago’ was published by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1869. Wallace was a naturalist who is best known for independently proposing the theory of evolution that Charles Darwin later published. ‘The Malay Archipelago’ is an account of Wallace’s scientific exploration through the archipelago from 1854-1862, where he found more than a thousand species new to science in the zoogeographical boundary now known as the Wallace line. It was this exploration that gave him his insight on natural selection. ‘The Malay Archipelago’ was one of the most popular journals of scientific experiment in the 19th century.
However, in no way I will condone anyone who says that the non-Malays after 1957 are ‘pendatang’. Those are bigots and we cannot allow them to hurt the non-Malays like that.
I agree with you that our history text books are myopic. They do not highlight all the great contributions of the non-Malays towards this wonderful land of ours. I am glad that there is a group of people who are now remedying this.
I also respectfully do not agree with you that the Malays did not have any other choice in sharing Tanah Melayu. They could have decided to go to war but they did not. That is because by nature, they are gracious. By saying the Malays are gracious, in no way do I mean that other cultures are not. I believe those who have lived among Malays would understand what I mean by the Malays being gracious.
On the point of who is the one to have disrespected Malay rulers, I am not going to debate whether it is UMNO or not. I am not from UMNO; you may want to deal with them directly.
On the point that DAP has to say thank you to the Malays, please understand that the purpose of this suggestion is to help DAP win the hearts of the Malays. You need to understand that in Malay culture, when you say sorry and thank you, it is the Malay culture to return it. I have strong convictions that if the DAP says thank you, the Malays will say thank you in return.
In no way would I suggest that we should not say thank you to all Malaysians, especially those who pay taxes. In my open letter I was talking specifically to DAP and addressing their endeavour to attract Malays into their fold.
Personally I do not know if YB Lim Guan Eng understands the Malays, but it is obvious that the DAP does not understand Malay sentiments. The recent refusal of Sarawak DAP to use the songkok in the Sarawak assembly is a case in point. I also do not think the DAP understands that for the Malays, even if you give them food, shelter, money and everything else, it counts for nothing unless you respect their adat. It counts for nothing unless you respect their culture. The Malay pepatah – ‘biar mati anak, jangan mati adat’ explains the position of the core Malay group.
Your comments on not understanding what I meant in my letter by practicing Malay adat and peribahasa shows that you do not really understand what is important to the Malays. At the same time however, I agree it is of course good to concentrate on the social needs of the community.
Again it seems that you do not understand Malay adat. When I urged the DAP to apologize, it is not the kind of apology that has to be warranted which you are talking about. Malays will apologize without asking why. They will just apologize. If you do not understand this, read my letter again – I wrote that the Malays will say sorry even if they did no wrong. For the fact that you asked this question on the reasons behind saying sorry, you do not truly understand the Malays.
I did not advocate Malay supremacy. I advocated the historical understanding of the transformation of this land. In no way do I consider the Malays as more supreme than any other culture. All cultures are equal in the eyes of God. But in Malaysia I will put pre-eminence to the Malay and native cultures of Sabah and Sarawak. But in no way would I like to live without the Chinese and Indian cultures around me. My love for these cultures perhaps surpasses many of the people from the cultures themselves.
On YB Lim Kit Siang, my suggestion that YB Lim Kit Siang resigns is in context of DAP seriously wanting to attract the Malays. I apologize, I’m in a hurry to help create a non-race based political party, and I see YB Lim Kit Siang’s current active involvement in the DAP as a stumbling block. In no way did I mean disrespect. It is just politics. The Malays will not throng into the DAP as long as YB Lim Kit Siang is still actively involved. That is the Malay sentiment.
The reason why I suggested a merger between the DAP and PKR and not DAP and PAS is simple. Both DAP and PKR have a multiracial make up. PAS is Islamist. Until they change their stance, a merger would be very difficult. As I stated earlier, I for one would jump for joy if two main parties would dissolve internal sub-parties and merge together.
Alas, my letter to YB Lim Guan Eng is a respond to DAP’s own endeavor in engaging the Malay segment of the population. Tunku Aziz seems to not have an answer to the problem. I am providing some possibilities. If the DAP is serious and smart (which I do think they are, judging by what they are doing in Penang) , they should test my ideas with the Malay market. Ask the core Malay group that they have failed to attract if this chap Anas got it right.
Once they have the feedback, they can adjust their policies and actions to their own benefit. Failing which, DAP will remain as a party that is dependent on the pendulum swings on Malaysian politics. DAP cannot rule the country with their fixed deposit voters mainly from the Chinese segment of the Malaysian rakyat.
Lastly, Brother Commander (Rtd) S. Thayaparan, I would like to thank you for engaging and disagreeing with my letter in a most empathetic manner. You did not resort to demonizing me, name-calling, or playing God, pretending to know what is in my heart. For that I respect you. It is people like you that we need more of, to make this country a better place – people who know how to agree to disagree; people with care and love; people with the consciousness of God in their hearts.
I would love to have teh tarik with you and discuss more on how we can make this country a better place.
By law I am Malay, by ancestry I am a mixed Malay-Arab, by choice I am a malaysian but in the heart I belong to A Human Race :)
Peace, anas zubedy