Mahathir’s intriguing rhetoric of Malaysia-belongs-to-Malays

* Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is a member of Pakatan Rakyat’s secretariat and MP for Kuala Selangor. * The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist first posted in The Malaysianinsiders.

FEB 4 — You have asked me to write on a difficult subject and answer a thorny question especially coming close to a general election and after the defeat in Tenang.

It’s alright with Tun Mahathir and for that matter even with PM Najib.They could say the darnest things and yet could later turn and twist to escape unscratched and invariably scot-free. Not with us, lesser mortals, we will be criminalised especially by none other than people like you, the media.

I will say my piece, nonetheless, without fear or favour again. This is the most dangerous part of it. On the back of a perceived dwindling of the Malay support, my audacious attempt at taking the bull-by-the-horn type of response might not concur well with conventional Malay wisdom in politics.

Being very objective, as I usually do, I’ve no qualm to again concur with anyone, that this nation, originally, has a lot more to do with Malays more than Indians or Chinese.

Since time immemorial, Western chroniclers have described this part of the world as Malay Archipelago while the Greek geographers, dated a lot earlier, described the Peninsular Malaya as the Golden Chersonese as gold is found here to this day.

That is as much as I would like to talk about the “Malayness” of this beloved country of ours at this critical juncture of our much embattled nation. Going beyond, which I very well could do, will embroil me in an unending claims and counter-claim, a debate I don’t wish to be part of.

But the most paradoxical thing about this debate is “Why Mahathir is insisting on this dialectic or divide, when he should be openly supporting Najib, ostensibly his protégé, on his 1-Malaysia rhetoric”.

This is the crux of the matter, the bone of contention and the climax of hypocrisy of the living Umno elites namely the combination of Najib and Mahathir!

Frankly, this is their drama or soap-opera in securing power and putting the Pakatan at bay. It’s a double-game of sort, a double-speak in its highest order. It is simply a case of downright greed – wanting to eat the cake and keeping it. It might have worked before, during lesser enlightened time of the Old Politics, but no longer now under the rubric of the New Politics!

Mahathir’s rhetoric that this country belongs to the Malays ie others are less-than-equal as Malays are more-equal-than others, ensures Umno will endear and entrench further the ‘gullible’ Malay support.

Meanwhile Najib’s 1-Malaysia is meant to hoodwink the ‘gullible’ Chinese and Indians (of MCA-Gerakan and MIC members and well-wishers respectively) into believing that they are equally Malaysians, as this country also belongs to them, apparently oblivious of the fact that are relegated as ‘second-class’ in the strictest sense of Mahathir’s worldview.

What a farce and a hypocrisy!

Be that as it may, PAS/Pakatan is not into such game and publicity stunt.

I for one, would like to believe that the issue of the special position of Malays and the (natives) bumiputera of the states of Sabah and Sarawak, must be read together with equal emphasis, with the legitimate interests of other communities ias enshrined in the Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

That’s perhaps the greatest safeguard for all! Pakatan and PAS have no problem with that at all. In all conviction, this has become one of our ‘cardinal’ pillars of our Common Policy Framework (CPF). That’s the greatest security to Malays while simultaneously upholding the legitimate rights of all races.

Malays must not succumb into Umno’s machination that Pakatan would forsake their special position for fear of the DAP and the other ethnic groups. Umno is evidently preying on Malays’ fear.

Yes, we are also unlike Umno in the BN, acting as Tuan and Boss to others and at whims and fancy, dispensing orders for others to toe their line. On the contrary Pakatan’s CPF, achieved through consensus, upholds the cardinal articles of 153, 152 and article 3, without much qualms and misgivings by all our partners. Being a member of the Secretariat, I say it again in full conviction and earnestness. I see the undivided commitment and relentless effort by all.

Back to the argument, it is all the better, as it’s the ordained role of the Constitutional Monarch, who must see to that all these communities be accorded their special position and interest, as it is the responsibility of the yang DiPertuan Agong as enshrined in the article 153 of the FC.

It is my conviction that only in a government that is committed to a fair play, that encourages the true spirit and practice of Equality, that respects affirmative actions where it is deemed necessary on a needs-basis (and not abusing it), that is foremost in enhancing true entrepreneurship and competitiveness and debunks all forms of race-base politics and religious bigotry, will we actually see the uplifting and realising of the bigger agenda of genuine reform and nation rebuilding in a complex plural society like ours .

It is ingrained in the rhetoric of Mahathir’s Malaysia-belongs-to-Malays that has in fact encouraged the spewing of racial slurs by politicians and a few Umno-inclined bureaucrats alike. It is this ‘supremacy (Ketuanan) worldview’ that continues to subvert Najib’s 1-Malaysia and triggers his penchant for flip-flopping, hence making it sounds shallow and hollow while stifling genuine reform and change in this nation.

The rakyat must be single-minded on debunking hypocrisy and in not allowing unscrupulous double-speaking and self-serving politicians, both past and present, from both divides, to further divide us in any divisive diabolical design of race-based politics, religious bigotry, rampant cronyism and endemic corruption and wasteful extravaganza that we could ill-afford.

Isn’t Mahathir-Najib’s Umno creating the very thing they purport to fear? That is creating ‘divisive’ plans and sustaining power through well contrived divisive strategies. Isn’t that the accusation of Mahathir and Najib towards Tok Guru Nik Aziz and Anwar of dividing the Malays?

What has changed in 1 Malaysia, fellow Malaysians?



25 thoughts on “Mahathir’s intriguing rhetoric of Malaysia-belongs-to-Malays

  1. YB, terima kasih banyak-banyak kerana menengahkan apa yang benar, betul dan adil, tanpa kira kepada politik perkauman yang UMNO mainkan.

    Kalaulah Malaysia masih seperti yang Mahathir katakan ‘Malaysia-belongs-to-Malay’ dalam zaman globalisasi ini, Malaysia tentu akan hancur sebagai sebuah negara perkauman. Itulah yang paling sedih untuk orang Melayu semua.

  2. YB Dr. Dzulkefly,

    Yours is a balanced view. The Malays will always vote UMNO-BN for fear that their rights will be eroded although there is no such thing as the Federal Constitution has fairly and evenly protected all and sundry. UMNO-BN plays on the fear of the Malays and thus will continue to stay in power. This is a very sad situation indeed. A famous wise sage once said “the truth will set you free”. Well, UMNO-BN will make sure that the Malays will never know the truth.

    As for the Chinese and Indians, many are gullible enough to believe in the 1Malaysia propaganda. Thus, I see that even in the coming 13th General Election, UMNO-BN will do very well as they have the power and might to engage in the highest form of deceit.

  3. The whole education system is used to promote that malaya belongs to the malays, including courses offered in biri tata negara (btn), especially those who attend boarding schools such as Mara science colleges etc.
    This “brain-wash” started in the late 70’s and subject participants the fear of losing their homeland and made assumptions that the chinese are cheats and that is why they are successful in business

    Dr Dzul could have attended such courses, as he was on government scholarship. maybe he can give some insight into what transpired during the sessions.

  4. West Malaysia is No More TANAH MELAYU once Malaysia is formed! Period.

    TDM has an AGENDA to perpetuate a Dynasty/ies Rule for past PMs.

    After 53 years of Merdeka, why must we allow such bugger to harp back about the PAST, PAST, PAST.

    The Past is long gone, the Future is yet to come. What we should be FOCUS is NOW! The PRESENT.

    Unity in Diversity-regardless of Race, Language, Religion, etc to Build a Democratic Society based on Justice and Equality.

    Why can’t TDM allow us to Live in PEACE & HARMONY??

  5. The HOLY BOOKS said > Jealousy, Ego, Hypocrisy, Anger and Hatred are the ROUTES TO ANARCHIES/EVILS, So the UMNO/Karala man should read these BOOKS to go to Heaven or else there HE goes to Hail of FIRE. And the BOOKS say REPENT Mah. ITU CINA Keraja kuat, bukan Kuatan Mah.

  6. Dr. Zul, you comments berbelit-belit like ular.

    Just go straight to the point.

    Malaysia was and is ” TANAH MELAYU “.

    Dr. Mahathir is not asking the non-malays to become MELAYU.
    Dr. Mahathir is not asking the non-malays to go back to their ancestoral country.

    Dr. Zul, please don’t deny history of it’s truth.

    HISTORY, till today, KTM stand tall and proud to be call ” KERETA API TANAH MELAYU or FEDERATED MALAY STATES RAILWAY”.


    HISTORY, till today, KTM stand tall and proud to be call ” KERETA API TANAH MELAYU or FEDERATED MALAY STATES RAILWAY” Tanjung Pagar Railway Station in the republic of Singapore..


    Singapore, does not like these word to be majestically and iconically displayed at TANJONG PAGAR RAILWAY STATION in Singapore.

    Very soon, ” KERETA API TANAH MELAYU or FEDERATED MALAY STATES RAILWAY”. Tanjong Pagar Station will be handed over to Singapore and it will no longer be a thorn or a pain in their ‘SINGAPORE’ ass.


    Anyway Dr. Zul, the truth wil prevail.


    1. Ilham

      Using emotional argument does not bring the Malays anywhere – forever the Malays will live under their “tempurung”. You are so proud of KTM – just have a look at its lack lustre performance. I wish politicians are more like Dr Dzul – more level headed and forward looking – we are moving to world who is facing environmental and food crisis and moral decay but our politicians are bringing out petty issues. Get out of the box man.

    2. Ilham,

      Err, I’m not sure what u r trying to say. But need to correct u on a few things.

      1. Tanah Melayu is not the Federated Malay States; the former refers to the Peninsular south of Siam, probably includes Pattani at some point. The Federated Malay States was a federation of four (British) protected states in the Malay Peninsular — Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang. Go read History, not just the kind published by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka, read those written by credible historians.

      2. Tanjung Pagar was recently traded away by the UMNO Prime Minister, it was a very bitter pill to swallow esp for Mahathir. Unfortunately, the said PM gave it away in some quickie meeting and we the Rakyat do not know the details of the ‘exchange’ as it is kept a secret. Sakit hati?? Go ask the PM why he did it, or better still ask the wife why she agreed to it when Mahathir defended it to death for years (OK, he’s not dead yet, but you know what I mean.. This was one of the very few things that I felt Mahathir did right, keep Tanjung Pagar in our hands and have a bigger say in other bilateral issues).

      3. BTW, ever wondered why UMNO still keep the name United Malays National Organisation?? Why use an English name created by the Brits?? If they want to, Mahathir could have changed it when UMNO was dissolved and UMNO Baru was created. Why not use the Malay name Pertubuhan Melayu Kebangsaan?? Apa yang dibanggakan sangat dengan nama UMNO? Tukar saja, asalkan ia dalam Bahasa Melayu, baru boleh cakap nak pertahankan bangsa. Ni nak guna nama pun pilih bahasa orang putih, tak malu ke? Sekarang nak pandai-pandai marah orang tak guna bahasa Melayu.

      Cermin-cerminkan la…

  7. This UMNO people will use any tricks to stay in power. Mahathir has lots to loose should BN failed in the next GE. Imagine how many things that he has to answer (should he is still alive then) regarding the country, economy and people. I bet he can do it when facing his god.

  8. this ex ceo/ captain of a ship named malaysia wanted to sail to port A, instead the ship missed the mark and ended up in port M. who should be responsible//? you dont need brain to tell it is the ceo/ captain but in malaysia this is not the case, its the citizens who are responsible for all the failures of the ruling government. if this man passed his exam. he takes credit for his achievement n if he failed , he blamed the university n lecturers. why is this elder statesman spewing out venom to divide n destroy this nation? if he loved malaysia . he should do something constructive to build up malaysia n improve the lives of the poor lot. why keep on provoking each other? does he loved malaysia n her citizens? while we are quarrelling,our neighbors are laughing. vietnam, indonesia, thailand , singapore ,china n india are steaming ahead economically wiyh fantastic economic growth bringing happiness n wealth to their citizens. where is malaysia/ what leaders do voters choosed. jokers, clowns, confused n incapable leaders are running this nation, no wonder malaysia is a nation in despair. to know more of corruption where billions are lost – read barry wain book- malaysian maverick, to know about clean n good government- read latest book by LEE KUAN YEW- sinagapore – hard truths to keep going . i wonder do our leaders read what is going on in the world? who invite our leaders to speak in international forums? our leaders are going backwards to the bicycle era whereas CHINA is getting away from this bicycle era to super bullet trains n stealth planes. no wonder malaysia is in the gutters economically- trapped in a low mindset mentality. Exxon just put in us 4 billion to built the biggest petro chemical plant in singapore . WHY? why not in malaysia? Do we have aclean government? our voters are naive n forgetful n soon these voters will give BN the mandate again, corruption n poor economic growth is soon forgotten thanks to a subservient press n superb journalists, voters – it your choice. when malaysia goes down, all her citizens goes down together including journalists n BN leaders. Either voters change or we perished. PLEASE DECIDE CAREFULLY THIS TIME

  9. I am so proud of my MP for being such a wise, level minded, progressive and visionary Malay. Keep up your good work, YB Dr Zul, and may the good sense prevail over the evil of racial politics.

  10. Most people voted in protest during the last GE. It’s all about the previous PM and His Son in Law. Period. PR capatalized on it, potraying that the masses voted them in becoz of what they are fighting for. PR knows it, BN knows it as well. I regretted voted for PR. I believe amny more people also regretted doing that. We just didn’t expect PR to control 5 states.

    Let’s see the next GE. Who will win? My bet, BN will come back stronger – certainly controlling more than 2/3 of the Parliment. Regaining all states including Kelantan. Let’s bet! Anyone?

  11. I totally agreed with the world’s most respectable man MM.Yes, Malaysia belongs solely to malays (all other races(dayaks,muruts,ibans,chinese,indians,japanese,americans,koreans,arabs, etc) should get out. Likewise, US belongs to the whites only, all others blacks,italians,british,japs,chinese,arabs etc should get out.Like this all countries in the world will become once again one-race inhabitated just like cave men times, how nice. Deep thinking I must say this great leader has.

  12. Lee if you have nothing to comment intelligently just shuddup! Wonder why we still have morons like you on earth. Dr.Dzul you are damned right,in fact UMNO never have had enough. If they are not in power they envisaged that they will be poor and the Malays will suffer.Meanwhile,majority of the Malays treat UMNO like their God…..if UMNO is not in power their lives will be miserably difficult and poor… though UMNO is the one and only and who is responsible in bestowing them the lives they’re living through. They forget that Allah,the al-mighty ,the creator who bestow them their lives….health and wealth.Honestly those with such mentality is a pathetic lot and deserve to go to HELL.

  13. Not to repeat myself again and again let me cut this short. Once and for all time, Malaysia does not belong to the Malays the country belongs to the Orang Asli and the Head Hunters, just like the Brits in Australia. Australia belongs to the natives of Australia and nobody else but at least the former P.M. Kelvin Rudd apologised to them for the many atrocities did to the natives since the Brits came and took Australia away from them. But will the Indonesian pirates ever do that and the worse is after the Orang Asli even protested in recent times they are called Malays. Or even as pseudo Malays but just as Orang Asli the Original People of Malaysia !
    Shenanigan should never ever claimed himself or his children to be Malays or Indonesian pirates they can’t even claim to be from any where in Indonesia. The shenanigan grand-father came from from Kerala in India the state known as the state of the untouchable or in other words the pariah.

  14. YB Dr Dzul, for too long the non malays have been frightened about intentions of PAS by Umno and its kaki bodek Mic & Mca
    PAS & yourself YB have shown to be non corrupt ,non racist and are genuine in your concerns about discrimination & injustice esp deaths in polis custody.
    The Rakyat should give PAS a chance to rule and see the difference.
    The Orang Asli being the first to be here after all the other races should be accorded their ‘rightful bumiputra status’ and we should all concentrate on how to improve unity and the economy instead of who is tuan here or tuan there.
    Mamak Mahathir is hiding his immense ill gotten wealth behind racist chants and deceitful agenda. Hidup Pas & Pakatan !

  15. Dear Dr. Dzul:

    Thank you for countering Mahathir’s racial argument.

    But it is the hope of all Malaysians that you and your party PAS will be honest about actively preventing religious bigotry, also known as religious supremacy.

    We all hope that you and your party will not perpetuate religious supremacy yourselves, but instead teach to your followers against it.

    Will you and PAS walk your talk?

    This is yet to be seen.

    While you can respond to Mahathir, I wonder if you can respond to this Malaysian Insider opinion piece which shows how we can overcome religious bigotry (click here to read it).

    What is your response to the damning arguments presented here?

    Is PAS capable to do what it recommends to overcome religious bigotry?

    I have my doubts.

    Prove me wrong, Dr. Dzul.

    1. Wow………..

      YB Dzul, do PAS believe in Islamic Supremacy?? Why PAS say no to Race Supremacy…. no Race more greater than others… but PAS not saying “No to Religion Supremacy”??? Is PAS a hypocrite party??

      1. Hi Roy, It’s unfortunate that questions like this one keeps popping out despite my many attempts at explaining it. Please refer to my article on Religious Pluralisn -A Critique in my Blog. Thnx.

  16. Mahathir mamak made a succesful career for himself by instigating Malay racism. Later when Malays rejected him and had to step down. Malays, Chinese and Indians all realised how evil Mahathir was during his rule as PM. Malaysians realise Mahathir used race and religion to cover up for all his massive failures while in power. Now in efforts to cover up his evil legacy, Mahathir is using instigating race again so people will forget all his evil deeds. Mahathir is the devil himself in human clothing.

  17. Did Mahathir really suggested that this country belonged only to the Malays? Wow! Then by his own logic, he should ship back to Kerala la! After all, he is only a Melayu celup! If he insists that he will follow his Mother’s race, then all the Baba-Nyonya should also be called Malays as their great-great-great-great-grandfathers all married Malay women, as did their sons and their sons. And they have been here longer than the Iskandar Kutty clan, which accords them more ‘rights’, no…?? So how?? This apartheid argument will never end, people should appreciate history and know that the Austronesian were here first, followed by the other wave of migrations from both the West and East, enriching this country as they brought their skills and culture here, making almost everyone except the Orang Asli & the 20th century migrants a celup of somesort. The govt shouldn’t be such a hypocrite and sell Malaysia as Truly Asia to the Mat Sallehs and tell it’s own citizens to go back to India and China. How to ‘go back’?? We were born here la! The govt must make a stand and stay with it. As the Cantonese say, don’t speak man’s language in front of man and speak the devil’s tongue in front of the devils! And please don tell the Sabahans and Sarawakians that Malaysia belongs only to the Malays, they’re more Ibans+Dayaks+Kadazans++ in Borneo than Malays! We should all be proud of our own heritage and our own culture while embracing other common Malaysian culture. Don talk down to others when they practice their culture, and don tell them to balik kampung, my kampung is in a police camp in Ulu Kinta!! If the govt want to promote Malaysia Truly Asia, it should just spend the energy to focus on nation building activities, and stop papers like Utusan from writing seditious articles. If it can do that, BN will stay in power, no need to bribe people with ‘I help u, u help me’ tag-lines during elections. But alas, they cannot hide their dark sides which they have sold to the Devil.

  18. Has anyone read the definition of a ‘MALAY’ in the federal constituition..? Please read it first before making any comments….what a strange world we live

  19. YB Dzul,

    You said no to religious bigotry, tapi cakap tak serupa bikin.

    Pertanyaan Dr. Mustapha Ayub di atas pun tak terjawab jugak.

    In The Malaysian Insider today, under Breaking Views, by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan:

    “But now suddenly in Malaysia, some Islamic religious authorities have propounded that Muslims should practise EXCLUSIVISM. This according to them will keep Muslims intact in the practice of the religion and also will put the religion above all the rest. They therefore are very much against PLURALISM.”

    According to this group, Muslims in Malaysia that have been practising liberalism in their attitude towards other religions is creating a threat to the Muslims themselves and to Islam.

    This attitude is a bit archaic in nature.

    This edict will only divide the population on religious lines. It is in other words, the move towards the Talibanisation of Islam in the country. This, if not checked will proceed by and by towards religious militancy. Already, it has been indicated by the authorities that militant groups are already trying to influence Muslim students in the higher education institutes to become intolerant towards non-Muslims in society.”

    Apa pendapat Dr. Dzul?

    Dr. Dzul dgn PAS sokong tidak pandangan yg ni?

    1. Salam Shahidan,
      If u have been following my writings, i dont think u need to raise this question. Please refer to my article on Religious Pluralism – A Crituque in my blog. If u couldnt quite comprehend it perhaps i would get it translated into BM. Thnx nonetheless.

  20. I think every politician is trying to make a big issue about the subject matter. But most neglect the intention of the remark made by DR M. A reminder to the Malays of the past history and legitimate sovereign rights that they were supposed to have. A reminder that to be meaningful such rights must accompany by equal efforts on all fronts to uplift our capability on all fronts especially the economic front. No point rhetorising the subject as most do in one form or another if the basic issue of Malay inherent economic weakness is not address. All those ancestral legitimate rights does not mean a thing.
    The Malays are quarreling among each other over issues that they by right sit down and resolve it. But instead we one accusing the infidels, a NIk Aziz accusing those who vote for BN as jahiliyah and so on. This also applies to UMNO. They behave as if they own Malaysia and do what they like disregarding not only interest of Malays but also other citizens of the country.
    Perhaps all these are lessons of the past to be learned. We must be together for the good of the country . If Tun razak can achieve post 1969 I am sure we can do it now. Give the son a chance to create this one nation. Can all Malay political parties embrace the principles that was created by Tun Razak under the BN and be together. That is more important than just harping about each other and finally forgetting our real problem that is Malay has no economic muscle.
    Please be reminded without economic pariah we will end up as pariah in our country. And we must built that strength via legitimate ways and proper affirmative programs of not depriving others. And as Muslims I am sure we can be fair to other citizens in this country as proven historically in the past. Not many countries accepted JUS SOLI principles easily . That is enough to prove the Malays can be fair to all parties citizens when it is required. But other parties must also be fair too. Are they especially in the economic sphere.?

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