MAY 27 — When the New Economic Policy was first launched in 1971, I really thought that it would only be for 20 years, just as what the government had said. But anyway, who can argue against the NEP when its two-prong objectives are to:
1. eradicate poverty, irrespective of race;
2. restructure society so as to eliminate the identification of ethnicity with economic function.
However, as Yogi Berra says, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
If the two objectives had been pursued honestly and diligently, I think no one will object to the NEP, even if it runs perpetually.
However, the NEP has been turned into a political tool and interpreted to serve only those in power, such that even after double the time frame since its inception, the ordinary Malays are said to be still poor.
How can any wakil rakyat reconcile himself to this fact, that the people he claims to be fighting for are still living in poverty, while he himself, as a people’s representative, lives in a multi-million ringgit mansion?
Yes, I am referring only to wakil rakyats who are multi-millionaires. Where is their conscience and who are they trying to bluff?
Anyway, the 20 years have come and gone and the best part of my life is over. And then I was hoodwinked by the mainstream media throughout Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rule, with its spins and lies, looking forward to the day when a more equitable society is achieved under the government-engineered NEP.
Then came “Ketuanan Melayu” that claims that because the Malays are the “tuans” in this country, special privileges are a Malay birthright that should become a permanent fixture of Malaysian society.
And I began to wonder, what is the meaning of Islam being the official religion of this country when Islam forbids racial supremacy of any kind?
I found the answer in Quran’s Surah 2 which says that there are three categories of people: (1) The Righteous; (2) The Disbelievers; and (3) The Hypocrites. See the order in which the Quran categorises the people.
The Hypocrites are placed after the Disbelievers. There is no need for me to elaborate but it enlightens me as to why things are happening the way it is in Malaysia, something that I had never, prior to referring to the Quran, been able to reconcile myself to, when the constitution specifically says that Islam is the official religion of the country. (To me, “the religion” and “the official religion” makes no difference.)
And as God would have it, the Internet revolution came and, with it, access to more information, the likes of which we have never seen before.
A strong admirer of Dr Mahathir before I started reading Malaysiakini and now, The Malaysian Insider, the abuses of the government boggle my imagination. I just find it unbelievable, had it not been true.
Selective prosecutions have made me lose faith in hoping for any justice in Malaysia under the present government. The only glimmer of hope is that there is now an alternative coalition that may yet dislodge the Barisan Nasional one day, if not in the next general election, then at the very least, bring the Barisan Nasional to its senses that justice and fairness must prevail in any society.
Without justice and fairness, no society can long endure. I have always wondered why Islamic spiritual values have not found its way into Malaysian society, despite the building of so many mosques, while the pursuit of money and power at all cost, two Satanic elements, have become the mainstay of Malaysian society.
Yet, despite the glimmer of hope, I still encourage my children to leave Malaysia, if they have half a chance… not to give up citizenship but to eke out a living elsewhere. Let the Malays take all the choicest jobs they want. Why fight with them, now that globalisation has opened new vistas.
Malaysia should be trying to compete at the international level and not engage in in-fighting among ourselves on this small speck of land. We are no different from a rich family whose members are always fighting over inheritance. We should well know what is waiting for this type of family at the end of the day.
As it is, we have already slid behind many countries in terms of economic competitiveness and this, despite the fact that Malaysia is blessed with so many natural resources, including petroleum. Only our ego is telling us that we are doing fine.
I do not think that the Barisan Nasional is going to leave graciously, should it lose in the 13th general election. On a more positive note, it is heartening to note that there are now more and more enlightened Malays who can see the injustice all around us.
Yes, there is still hope for Malaysia as long as we have a two-party system. And that’s good news for people like me who, at this age, have no other options but to stay.
And why not? After all, everything in this world belongs to God and we are all descendants of Adam and Eve... that is, if we still believe in Islam or any of the Abrahamic religions.
* We asked readers to tell us in their own words why they stayed in Malaysia... instead of migrating. This is one of the stories.