from The New Straits Times: Dewan Dispatches on March 23, 2009

In his socio-political piece de resistance, Dr Mahathir envisioned radical concepts of Malay ownership of Malaysia – Malays are the indigenous race of Malaysia, the national language is Bahasa Melayu which must be learned and conversed by other races, Malays’ tolerance and non-confrontational nature allowed them to be subjugated in their own land by the other races with the collusion of the British and an affirmative action programme later headlined as the NEP must be instituted to check Malaysian Chinese economic dominance. He reconstituted it yesterday.

His 1970 masterpiece has been resurrected with an aggressive undertone that reprised his ideas into a more cogent appraisal of all things current. Call it The Malay Dilemma: Redux, an extensive missive detailing the daunting critique of probable Malay dispossession.

How fitting it is that a little under a year after he left the party over repugnant differences with the current Umno leadership over the direction the party was headed, Dr Mahathir employed his “political wilderness” as an influential platform for discourse, experimenting with novel ideas and the occasional critique of the political leaders’ style of administration and what he sees as “oblique” polices.

Here are excerpts of his declaration yesterday at a summit on Malay supremacy: “Today’s situation is more dangerous than the time of the British when they planned to conquer all the Malay states under the Malayan Union precept. Now, Malays cannot describe this state as a Malay state, cannot describe this state as the Malay Peninsula. Japan can be called a Japanese state, Korea as a state for Koreans, China as a state for the Chinese and India as a state for the Indians. Previously, it was possible but not now. Now Malaysia is everybody’s right but not a Malay right. The willingness of the Malays to share ownership of this country is not a little bit appreciated. The bestowing of one million citizenships by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra to the other races is not only not appreciated but unremembered, forgotten just like that…”

“Malays are said to be immigrants in their own state and other immigrants cannot be referred to as the immigrant race. If anyone does that, they have to apologise (but) nobody needs to apologise if they say Malays are an immigrant race…If Malays are not allowed to talk about their own problems, there is a possibility they will become dispossessed in their own country. This is the dangerous truth because we have seen the pressure and the contempt towards the Malays when they became a minority in a region that was once a part of the Malay states.”

“Nevertheless, I dare say this a bit about the Malays in Malaysia although I will be accused of being a racist. I emboldened myself because Malays are practically in state of emergency, afflicted with all kinds of problems and threats…”

Dr Mahathir also reserved some of his captious remarks on Chinese educationist group Dong Jiao Zong, dismissing them as “racists” who practised apartheid. “We proposed that everyone study together in one school, then only can you have bangsa Malaysia. They did not want to mix with the other races, especially the Malays. They did not want their children to mix with Malays and that is apartheid, not us,”.”

Dr Mahathir’s remonstration caused MCA Youth some measure of hyperventilation, its Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong retaliating by characterising Dr Mahathir’s accusation as baseless and made with ulterior motive. “If the Chinese educationists and the Chinese community do not like to mingle with other races, I would like to inform him that almost 90 per cent of the students that complete their primary studies at Chinese vernacular schools continue on in national secondary schools,” he told a news conference at the Parliament lobby.

But Dr Mahathir’s strongest carping was rained on the Malays themselves like a smart bomb manipulated to hit a precise target. Here’s another striking assessment, which had been Dr Mahathir’s repetitive theme during his administration years. “…Malays are self-destructive. They don’t want to capitalise on opportunities presented to them. University places are not taken. Business opportunities are abused. Malay youths don’t want to study, preferring to loaf around or become Mat Rempits. The majority of Malaysians abusing drugs are Malays; the ones infected with HIV-AIDS are mostly Malays while rape and other crime cases are mainly Malays. The ones who failed in business are mostly Malays, debt delinquents are Malays, dishonoured contracts are Malays too, the AP predilection involves Malays too…”

“We don’t want to hear all this. We are humiliated. But if these problems are not voiced out, the problems do not disappear by themselves. Other people know it too. Better to be humiliated if it makes some of us aware and they change their habits to avoid committing the same mistakes. The ones who don’t care about being humiliated, it is all right. It’s improbable to make us all aware. The ones being hit will always be hit…”

At its national assembly on Sunday attended by 1,500 participants from 65 NGOs, Malay right-wing group Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa, led by the indomitable Ibrahim Ali, unanimously adopted a 10-point resolution that urges the safeguarding and defence of Malays’ special rights, supremacy and monarchy. Ibrahim stepped up the ante by challenging Umno to adopt some of Perkasa’s determination when the party assembles this week. It was not startling that Perkasa advocated resolutions based on the principles stated by Dr Mahathir. “We want Umno to be watchdogs, to be the eyes and ears to ensure our resolution can be adopted by the administration,” he told the media at the Parliament lobby.

It is intriguing how Dr Mahathir felt the pulse of seminal Malay problems that had been ignored for a two generations. If we were to review the progress of the generations since the New Economic Policy was implemented, Malay economic proliferation had always been an imperative while social deterioration, especially the ones placed under the glaring spotlight again by Dr Mahathir, had been treated with somnambulist insistence.

Al-Ma’unah, incest rape, ritual killings, black magic, hexing, slander, character assassinations, poison-penned Internet postings and SMS texts, chronic drug abuse, homicide, infanticide, parricide, corruption…a sickening list of the gloomy and the grotesque, the mysterious and the violent, germinating within an environment of degeneration and decay as the horrors and the disease that pervade the Malay psyche unfurled.

Dr Mahathir’s latest provocation may be embraced wholeheartedly or be disregarded with the aplomb of the same kind of caricature politics that had besmirched the classic ideals of Malay leadership. Forty years past, Dr Mahathir has been proven the visionary that he is, authoritative in his management of people and tough in the defence of his policies.

Nevertheless, his army of virulent critics will delight in lambasting, ridiculing and molesting his prescience. Dr Mahathir is used to that hostility. But, can we afford to ignore him?