Rise of the moderate Malays

By Stephen Ng
Dec 11, 2014

COMMENT The open letter by 25 top former civil servants urging Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to show leadership in handling the intolerant right wing groups is a clear sign that the moderate Malays are finally speaking up.

It marks the rise of the voice of moderation – something that we have been waiting for in the past six years, or longer. These 25 eminent retirees have broken their silence and spoken up for the sake of preserving our decaying social fabrics.

They are like salt to decaying meat. Without such salt, the meat will continue to decay until it is no longer safe for consumption. We certainly do not want this nation to get to the extent of becoming another South Africa during the apartheid era.

As a Chinese growing up in multi-racial Malaysia, I remember the younger days when we used to sing Negaraku in high spirits.

I am reminded of this again recently, when one of the six-year-old children I was tutoring sidetracked and started singing the national anthem that he had learnt from his kindergarten. He was of course also the flag bearer, proudly carrying the national flag, during the school concert. This six-year-old is my own son.

I found myself following along, and the other child who was in the same tuition class also sang along. It was an unusual moment for all three of us for the brief two or three minutes.

Patriotism is in all of us

Most of us have grown up loving our country, but it was later in my adulthood, while studying in Australia, I heard the then-prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying: “Those who disagree with the way we run the country, they can migrate overseas.”

Since then, this has been parroted over and over again by what one of the 25 eminent Malay civil servants, Noor Farida Ariffin calls “groups (which) clearly have low standards, poorly educated, intellectually challenged, incapable of seeing their own racism, intolerant, blindly obedient, and are destroying the fabric of our country’s society.”

This, coming from a Malay woman, is a good medicine for the two groups – Perkasa and Isma. The open rebuke is timely.

Had it come from a Chinese man, both Ibrahim Ali and Abdullah Zaik would have ignored it, but now that the scathing criticisms come from fellow Malays, they have nothing more to say. Certainly, they will have to take the pills.

In the same manner that they had described Dr Mahathir’s rebuke labelling Malays as being lazy, I am sure Ibrahim and Abdullah Zaik would have to accept the criticisms in humility, because Farida meant well.

To say anything more, they will risk having all these 25 eminent Malays and many more voting for anything but Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Now, back to my spirit of patriotism. When I reflect back, I think the sultan of Selangor should be grateful that it was Pakatan, under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim, who restored my patriotism after all these years.

At some of the demonstrations that I dragged myself to attend, I found the Malaysian flags being held in high honour. People adorned themselves with the Malaysian flags. There was such pride in the way they displayed their patriotism towards the country they call “Our Home”.

Malaysians from all walks of life were walking together on the streets during public demonstrations under the banner of the Malaysian flag. It was for the sake of the country that we love that I felt these fellow Malaysians were willing to sacrifice their Saturday afternoons going down to the streets.

For me, 57 years of administration under Barisan Nasional (BN) has been far too long. BN has overstayed the hospitality of Malaysians. The component parties cannot continue to harp on race, religion, language and royalty in order to continue to stay in power. It is time for them to concede defeat, if they wish to remain relevant to Malaysians in years to come.

It was also Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah, whose words caused tears to well in my eyes, when she was being interviewed by well-known radio broadcaster Patrick Teoh. “After over 50 years of Independence, why are we still fighting over the races? Why are we talking about Indians, Malays or Chinese?” she asked.

I had to leave the room quietly because I could not control my tears, hearing this from a young Malay woman, who understands that race is only skin deep.

My spirit of patriotism is also boosted by people like Ambiga Sreenevasan, who represents Negaraku, and others like Saifuddin Abdullah, who is chief executive officer of the Global Movement of Moderates.

Naturally, when the national anthem was sung, tears started rolling down my cheeks, thinking about these two young children and their future, if we continue to allow the right wing lobbyists to make noise without being countered the way Farida has done.

The country is sadly destroyed by one man whose intents of heart are clearly evil and selfish, thinking only for his family and personal wealth, while the country is helmed by one who chooses to do nothing about the state of the country.

Tunku’s voice of moderation

How I wish Tunku Abdul Rahman (Bapa Malaysia, right) was still alive! He is no longer with us, but may his spirit of patriotism permeate through all Malaysians. Let us continue to speak his voice of moderation.

What Farida and the others have done has brought back some hope that some day, Malaysia will rise again above the current political climate.

The rise of the Malay moderates is a sign of Umno’s imminent defeat in the coming general election. To me, I would rather vote for PAS than Umno, and this is what I did in the last general election.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 12 December 2014 - 8:24 am

    Do we hv MODERATES in UmnoB?

    What a big fat SHAME M’sia elected 2 serve on d United Nations Security Council

  2. #2 by Noble House on Saturday, 13 December 2014 - 3:59 am

    Though I am not quite a Liverpool fan, nevertheless, this is what I wish to dedicate to you, Steven, and every single Malaysian out there who still has hope for this country. Yes, you’ll never walk alone!


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