Will Malays change?
September 7 2015 Zaid Ibrahim
I received many positive responses and kind remarks from readers all over the country for the speech in which I called on Malaysians fighting for change to be sensitive to the Malay ethos and to rally behind Malay leaders who support those changes. A few lambasted my “shallow” arguments for supporting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but the most pertinent question I received was: will Malays change?
I believe they will when they can no longer swallow shame. It might take a few decades for them to feel sufficient revulsion for the national shame we are currently experiencing, but they will not be able to ignore it forever. Shame will eat them up.
Granted, Malays get a daily dose of indoctrination and teachings of false values from half-baked professors. Granted, they are insulated from the outside world by religious and political leaders who make them resistant to shame, but over time they will succumb.
They will come to have a full understanding of how they have been put in a disadvantaged position, despite promises to the contrary, and will realise that they have been misled. They will find out that only change can save them and the realisation will come when they start feeling and knowing what shame is all about.
It is unnecessary to define shame for Malays, but they will one day become conscious of all the improper, ridiculous and dishonourable things that have been infused into our national life.
A few examples will help: Malays, like all Malaysians, love football and it pains them to see their team humiliated on the world stage. They might not feel shame yet because they have been told for generations that their leaders know what they are doing and do not have to be responsible and accountable to anyone.
In 30 years’ time Malays will be brave and unafraid to tell these leaders they have to go. Like other football fans, they will feel sufficient revulsion and anger against leaders who have failed them year after year. They will start demanding change when the pain of shame eats them up.
Malays have “privileges”, so they have been told. They can go to university with lower grades or take different exams from other Malaysians for certain degrees. Today, they feel no shame because they believe they deserve these “privileges”, but they know that, one day, they will not get jobs and they will not go far if they are academically inferior.
Many Malays today owe the Government vast sums in student loans which they have not been able to pay back because they have been unable to get jobs, even with their degrees. One day, they will feel the shame of being in such a sorry state. One day, they will feel ashamed that they cannot travel because their passports have been blacklisted by our own authorities due to their non-payment of student loans. Shame will make them brave.
Ministers today say many silly things, which should cause pain and shame to Malays—but perhaps there is still not enough of it.
They should be ashamed when told Malays will not have a Malay Prime Minister if Datuk Seri Najib Razak has to step down because of corruption. They should feel ashamed when Malay thugs start questioning the patriotism of other Malaysians protesting on the streets, or when thugs ransack DAP offices, or when the police do nothing to stop gangsters destroying property, or when civil servants become lackeys of disgraced political leaders—they don’t feel that shame yet, but one day they will.
However, change must come from all of us, including non-Malays. Chinese and Indians, as well as Sabahans and Sarawakians, must feel shame for supporting corrupt leaders. They must feel shame for supporting the idiotic and racist policies of partners in the Barisan Nasional that serve no purpose other than to protect the selfish interests of incumbents in Government.
If we all want change for the better—if we want a country that will make us proud—then we must be prepared to act and never allow anyone to shame us as a people.
I just hope it’s not too late for all of us to feel the shame and to act accordingly.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of UPP Padungan.