Dr M and the Malays

Mariam Mokhtar
Jul 29, 2013

If some of you think that this nation is in a mess, then blame the Malays because they are the problem. Malays know that Malaysia is not the land of gold and honey any longer.

In these difficult times, they have become more aware of their surroundings; but one other person has noticed this sea-change in the Malays.

mahathir and malay peopleHe is former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He knows that a thinking and independent Malay is detrimental to his legacy, his creation – Umno-Baru – and to the well-being of his family’s fortunes. Today’s self-aware Malay is Mahathir’s downfall.

Malays are in positions of power in government and the civil service. They dictate policies and run the wheels of government; but Malays are also the nation’s worst hypocrites.

They are greedy. They are happy with short-term solutions. They do not think of the consequences. They are happy to hide behind the cloak of race and religion if it will bring them some material benefit or status. The day they lose everything is probably the day they will regain their humility, values and self-respect.

With the downturn in the economy, Malays have noticed that jobs are hard to come by, that only the chosen Malays receive government tenders, and that the cost of living is increasing. Scholarships for the poor Malay child are snapped up by children of Umno Baru politicians and cronies, leaving only a few places for the needy.

Crime is rife and foreigners are a common sight in every community, schools and hospitals. The Malay market-trader has to compete with a foreigner, who is willing to work harder for less money. Children in the rural areas are disillusioned and difficult to motivate. Many drift to the cities looking for jobs, then find that there are no jobs, so they add to the Mat Rempit menace.

The most privileged section of the community also has the highest proportion of drug users. Why are Malays more prone to drug addiction? Are they trying to escape reality? People who volunteer in charitable organisations allege that Malays have the highest incidence of problems, ranging from domestic violence to sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual problems such as rape, incest and illegitimate children.

Corruption is killing the country, but Malays are quite happy with the RM50 or RM500 offered by Umno Baru. The muftis order ridiculous fatwas and Friday sermons are politicised, but few Malays voice their objections. If this were Indonesia, the Indonesians would have walked out of the mosques, in protest.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. If Indonesian women were subjected to acts of humiliation, many Indonesian women and men would have picketed to protest and demand that stern action be taken. Malay women would rather watch the latest TV soap.

Exacting vengeance

Malays are aware that government tenders above a certain value involve bribery but will they lodge complaints? Perhaps, they are aware that nothing will be done. The people who head these anti-graft bodies are Malay.

Malays know that cheating was rife in GE13 and in the by-election in Kuala Besut on July 24. It appears that Malays were more concerned about getting in the queue for their “travel allowance”, than stopping corruption.

The hundreds of millions of ringgit should instead have been pumped into schemes to benefit the community. The scoundrels are the Election Commission (EC) chairperson and his deputy; both Malays. Men who lack principle and dignity are championed by Umno-Baru.

Umno Baru seems to be promoting the Malays, whereas Pakatan Rakyat appears to be inclusive of all Malaysians, but the irony is that the only way for Malays to prosper is to vote against Umno-Baru and ensure that Pakatan forms the next government.

Mahathir knows which buttons to push. He is good at making you react, he excels at getting your attention and is pleased when you become all worked up – his expertise is that of a master manipulator. Mahathir would have made a better psychiatrist than a general practitioner.

Those who claim that Mahathir’s policies “help” the Malays, are wrong. What he does under the pretext of helping Malays is designed to have the opposite effect. He is exacting his own vengeance on the Malays. Sadly, the Malays are too blind or stupid to notice.

When Mahathir was a child, which traumatic episode in particular made him turn against the Malays? He appears to be torn between pleasing the Malays, so that he is accepted by them, but at the same time is driven by feelings of guilt, to redeem himself for being cast as an outsider.

Was he teased in the school playground and called derogatory names pertaining to his background? Was he ashamed of being registered as an Indian at medical school in Singapore? Despite having a Malay mother, did elite Malays, royalty and the community treat Mahathir as an outsider? Did an incident deprive Mahathir of a deep emotional connection with the Malay community, which fostered a deep seated envy of the Malays?

This week, Mahathir has again tried to pit Malays against Chinese, and vice-versa; he queried whether the Chinese wanted to share, or to seize power, in Malaysia.

The non-Malay colleagues or beneficiaries of Mahathir’s largesse are silent. If they are angry with Mahathir, none would dare voice their objections publicly. Mahathir knows that patronage has its advantages, and its limits.

Poor-quality leaders

Today, we are a nation divided along racial and religious lines and all of us are to blame. From the beginning, Mahathir had a racist agenda. The Malays were mesmerised by Mahathir’s spin but then, the non-Malays are not entirely innocent.

In the WikiLeaks cables released in April 2013, it was revealed that the US embassy expressed surprise that Mahathir had been appointed deputy PM in 1976, but they were probably more amazed by the lack of opposition from the non-Malays despite Mahathir’s “Malay chauvinism”.

Francis T Underhill Jr, the ambassador at the time noted that “… the small, predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) has expressed some concern over Mahathir’s past record but has not openly opposed his selection. Other Chinese parties or politicians have either not commented or have welcomed Mahathir’s appointment in a pro forma manner”.

Malaysia does not have a Malay or a Chinese dilemma. Our only dilemma is Mahathir. His latest outburst about the Chinese seizing power is merely a side-show. He wants to deflect attention from the greatest show in Malaysia, the Umno Baru general assembly.

Behind the scenes, the Malays in Umno-Baru are positioning themselves, like pieces on a chess board. The rakyat’s problem is that we have poor quality Malay Umno Baru leaders, who only want to maintain their vested interests.

Malays are the problem of this country but they could also be the solution. Right now, any aspiring Malay who wants to be leader must listen to the needs of the lower-income groups and families with aspiration. He must address concerns of the rakyat like illegal immigration, corruption, education and rising crime.

Nothing gives Mahathir a greater sense of schadenfreude than seeing the Malays suffer, despite the Ketuanan Melayu and Umno Baru.


MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

  1. #1 by marcus aurelius on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 1:59 am

    Don’t create smoke screen to divert the attention of Malaysians with unfounded accusation. Just take a look at the extreme example of entry to public universities. For four consecutive years, intake of Chinese students to public universities has decreased to an alarming 19 percent this year. We are shock to see that even 4A students cannot get offer from public universities. What a joke with Talent Corp spending RM30,000 to court one professional to come back to Malaysia? So tell us Tun Dr M, who controls all? Who disqualify top students from public universities? Is this real power sharing or just another sandiwara, say one thing and do another thing? So, who actually has the power to the extent that top students from other ethnic groups are marginalised?

  2. #2 by marcus aurelius on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 2:05 am

    What a joke when students with perfect score need to appeal for places at public universities in this country? System failure? Whole system is sick? Chinese dilemma?

  3. #3 by digard on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 3:11 am

    Oh, Mariam, oh Mariam … !
    What did you catch one of these days!!?
    You seem to be asking loudly for a position that puts you into the queue of Malaysian asylum seekers overseas. Do you have an ancestry like RPK that if need be allows you to move overseas? I for one would consider your most recent text ‘quite offensive’ with respect to the Malays.

    Mahathir was an obvious candidate for DPM in 1976. But what do we know about his ‘coup d’état’ in 1988; that’s more relevant. Because he shot down the reasonable Razaleigh, so to say; bent the constitution, and manhandled justice. If not: killed the independent justice in Malaysia once and at least until now.

    I seriously hope that you are not calling the spirits that you won’t be able to manage later: http://german.about.com/library/blgzauberl.htm

  4. #4 by Sallang on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 8:14 am

    Well said! Mariam.
    Rationale thinking Malays will agree with you, and you have broken the eyes of the Malays with this piece to get them wondering why have they been so dependent on the government’s ‘tongkat'(walking stick), so much so that they seldom use their brain to think.
    Meanwhile the non-Malays,who were being sidelined at a disadvantage to live in their own country, have been cracking their heads daily,improving themselves continuously and are doing well on their own steam.

  5. #5 by bryanbb on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 10:27 am

    came across this verbal sparring between You Tubers. One side , obviously very nationalistic view of an average mindset from the Malay community and countered by a liberal minded Malaysian. Although it may be views of 2 individuals ,but in a sense ,it is a fair representation of a large part on both sides mindsets and views ,esp the Malay mindset of indoctrinated supremacy and perceived injustice in their own land..

    started with a comment from an indonesian.
    JakartaJogja Citizen
    in indonesia public school, the student did not required to wear hijab, but many girls wear it because of their own will, when ramadhan month, many restaurant on the street remain open but they covered with the curtain . and when i was in high school my non-muslim friends can eat their lunch in the classroom. and we the Muslims do not feel uncomfortable at all with that. why they just don’t eat in their classroom ? apa kalian tidak kuat puasa jika melihat orang lain makan dan minum ?

    It’s political conditioning. In Indonesia, your government emphasised on homogenous integration and a society which does not infringe on the culture of it’s individual peoples. In Malaysia, our government fosters division based on ethnicity and culture in order to sow distrust and fear among the races. A “divide and rule” strategy. Despite the governments exhortations that without them we would dissolve into race riots and anarchy, Malaysians by and large actually get along fine with each other.

    Adam Tezz
    Funny thing is the Chinese over there speaks Indo while most of the Chinese in Malaysia despise Malay language… Integration much?
    in reply to grimweird

    As far as the idea of integration and language is concerned. I believe far more Chinese and Indians can speak BM and even English well is far higher than Malays can speak (or is interested in speaking) anything other than Malay. I believe there’s a reason for this and it has nothing to do with which race is smarter. I think it’s more because certain parties WANT them to only understand Malay. These parties want to make sure their only source of information and education is the Malaysian version.
    in reply to AdamTezz

    I don’t care about other language, and I’m talking about Malay being the national language.
    in reply to grimweird

    Of course you don’t care. That’s my point. The mentality taught is “You MUST speak the national language. If you are Malaysian, no other language is important. If you learn other languages then you are unpatriotic and should get out of the country.” Right? Also… “We need not know about other cultures or other beliefs because our values and society is the best. All others are less important and following any other way of thinking will result in chaos and destabilize our country.” Correct?
    in reply to AdamTezz

    (And then it got slightly colorful with name calling and profanities thrown in but one side kept cool…)
    full version.

  6. #6 by Winston on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 11:11 am

    The scums in UMNO/BN have no qualms about bankrupting the nation.
    As long as they can stay in power and amass their fortunes.
    And sprinkling some crumbs on the ground for the lesser beings along the way is no problem if such acts can prolong their grip on power.
    Also, is there any post in the whole wide world that allows one to have the treasury and the wealth of the nation at his disposal?
    And to commit criminal acts without much possibility of retribution?
    Not only that, they can even have institutions like the police to protect them!
    Even the drug cartel bosses in Mexico will envy such people!!

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 11:19 am

    Here is bad news for Mariam, the truth is its pointless to blame the Malays for what they lack – true and realistic social and political leadership calls for building what they lack, encourage formation. AND that is why what Mahathir does is so abhorent – building what they lack is incidental to his agenda, much of it persona. Mahathir main thrust especially now, is to EXPLOIT what the Malays lack, the weakness, to further pervert them..

    Its no different than the drug dealer whose ex-customer was on the way to recovery selling an EVEN more addictive drug to him. Its no point blamming the addict. You still have to cure or manage his addiction and the priority is to lock up the drug dealer..

  8. #8 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 12:05 pm

    Well said.

    And while we wait for the kampung malays to wake up and join their friends in the cities to struggle for a better malaysia, umno plunged the country further down the gutter.

    We are now officially a cowboy country. Sanjeevan, shot and in critical condition. Founder of Ambank, shot and died. All within a few days.

    Umno and police, busy arresting dissidents and political opponents.

  9. #9 by good coolie on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - 1:15 pm

    Oi Mariam, “Melayu (yang)mudah lupah”, macam kacang lupakan kulit!

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