Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ketuanan Melayu? How about Keagungan Melayu? - Pt 2

In my previous post on this topic, I proposed that “Ketuanan Melayu” – for better or for worse – has become a convenient catchphrase to express the Malay struggle to regain eminence. Unfortunately, it also burdened with all the extremist connotations of opportunistic politicians who have hijacked this legitimate Malay struggle.

These connotations have driven the people in this country further apart. So much so that even the Malays are divided in their interpretation of this concept.

That's why I would like to try to go back to basics. To identify the core of the issue and come to a consensus that all races in this country can agree to. I would like to call this cause “Keagungan Melayu” or Malay Eminence, to differentiate it from Ketuanan Melayu which carried so many negative connotations.

But before I pen my thoughts on how we can all build a Masyarakat Melayu Agung, I would like to address one more very important issue. And to me, this is the greatest problem regarding the topic of Ketuanan Melayu.

There is a fatal flaw in the reasoning behind the concept of Ketuanan Melayu or Malay Supremacy itself. However, this flaw seems to have escaped many of the people arguing for or against it.

The fatal flaw of Ketuanan Melayu is that it only serves the Malay race as defined by the Malaysian Constitution and the privileges/position granted under Malaysian law.

Think about it, what does Ketunanan Melayu mean to a Malaysian Malay who goes overseas for study or work? What happens to his Ketuanan status then? It would mean absolutely nothing as it is a mere construct of Malaysian laws and Malaysian political perceptions!

We don't even need to look very far overseas - Ketuanan Melayu has absolutely no meaning even in Indonesia, the origin of the Malay Empire! Tell anyone there that you are a Malay deserving of special status and watch the reaction on their faces!

So the Malays are regarded as Masters in their own country but nobody special everywhere else? How can that be? If a Malay is to be Master, shouldn't he or she carry that Mastery within him everywhere he/she goes? How can Mastery be switched on and off whenever someone crosses a border?

No, a person's Mastery does not come from laws or quotas or privileges. You cannot legislate a persons will to excel, to learn, to overcome and to succeed.

A person's Mastery has to come from within him. Only then will he be able to achieve Eminence wherever he goes, with or without laws to help him.

And that is my basis for my argument for Keagungan Melayu. And it is also why I think the concept of Ketuanan Melayu needs to be replaced immediately. Because it is a great disservice to the Malay race and Malaysia as a whole.

To base such a grand cause of uplifting the lot of an entire race on such such narrow definitions will predictably only produce narrow results. And it will only attract ever more narrow minded-people to it. The whole enterprise will only end up in an ever-downwards spiral.

To help our fellow man achieve eminence is an enormous task. And therefore it needs equally broad definitions and broad-minded people to lead the struggle.

In my next post, I will highlight some qualities that are common among eminent people and how we can aspire to achieve such Malay Eminence or “Keagungan Melayu”.

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