The phrase "Malaysian Malaysia" was originally used in the early 1960s as the rallying motto of the Malaysian Solidarity Council, a confederation of political parties formed to oppose Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia. This article specifically provides special quotas for the Malay and other indigenous peoples of Malaysia in admission to the public service, awarding of public scholarships, admission to public education institutions and the awarding of trade licences. It also authorises the government to create Malay monopolies in particular trades. The given reason for this affirmative action was carried out because the Malays and other aborigins were discriminated against employment during over 100 years of British colonial rule. Prior to the British and Dutch colonisation, Indonesia and Malaysia were under one empire, Srivijaya. British colonised Malaysia from 1824 to 1957 after the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. During this years, the British refused to employ Malay Indonesians and Malaysians preferring to employ only Chinese and Indians. The British also brought large influx of Chinese and Indians to Fiji, Guyana, Uganda, Trinidad and refused to employ the aborigines.
Critics have called such affirmative action for the Malays to be racial discrimination against other Malaysian citizens, with the goal of creating ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy). "Malaysian Malaysia" is not a mere tautology because it distinguishes between nationality and ethnic classification. The complaint was that Malaysia was not being "Malaysian" by discriminating against non-Malay Malaysians, and was rather being a "Malay Malaysia".
The phrase "Malaysian Malaysia" is widely associated with Lee Kuan Yew, then leader of the People's Action Party (PAP), the prime constituent in the Malaysian Solidarity Convention; who was foremost a critic against the racial policy.
In a speech, Lee scoffed at what he viewed as the discriminatory social contract in the constitution that allowed citizenship to non-Malays while providing for special programs and policies for Malays: "According to history, the Perak Man was believed to survive in Malaysia 10,000 years ago and more skeletons were found in Sarawak indicating the human living there since 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. Of the 39 percent Malays in Malaysia today, about one-third are comparatively new immigrants like the secretary-general of UMNO, Dato' Syed Ja'afar Albar, who came to Malaya from Indonesia just before the war at the age of more than thirty. Therefore it is wrong and illogical for a particular racial group to think that they are more justified to be called Malaysians and that the others can become Malaysian only through their favour."
The campaign for a "Malaysian Malaysia" was not viewed highly by the government of Malaysia and the parties in the ruling coalition of the Alliance (later the Barisan Nasional). Those against the concept of a Malaysian Malaysia cited the fact that Malaya was progressively colonised by the British from mid-19th century to its height in 1926. During this period, a large number of immigrant labourers, including Chinese and Indian peoples, came to Malaysia and Singapore. They suggest that during the colonial era, the Malays were forced to accommodate other peoples. Those historic immigrants and their descendants allowed to remain after the nation achieved independence should understand their presence was a privilege, not a right. Such people said that the influx of immigrants had negatively affected the rights and resources of the Malays. The argument was made in spite of the existence of Malay-Chinese Peranakans since the late 18th century, as well as regular Chinese merchant presence in Malaya long before the arrival of the British.
Some politicians in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) thought Malaysian Malaysia threatened the Malays' special position in Malaysia. They considered Lee to be a dangerous and seditious trouble-maker; one politician called him a traitor to the country. The more moderate Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was perturbed by the campaign. He thought it would lead to trouble, as he believed that the Malays were not ready to compete without their special privileges. Eventually, Rahman decided the best option would be to oust Singapore from Malaysia; Lee was forced to agree, and Singapore seceded from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965.
In 1999, controversy was reignited when Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP, the former Malaysian branch of the PAP) called for a second campaign for a "Malaysian Malaysia". Then acting UMNO Youth Chief Hishamuddin Hussein angrily responded with a warning not to "play with fire," and accused Lim of politicising an issue that had been decided at independence with the social contract. Lim argued that the concept of a Malaysian Malaysia did not differ much from the government policy of establishing a Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian race or Malaysian nation). Some noted that ironically, Hishamuddin's grandfather, Dato' Onn Ja'afar, the founder of UMNO, had left the party to form the Independence of Malaya Party based on the concept of eliminating special privileges for the Malays.
In 2006, at the Johor UMNO convention, Johor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Abdul Ghani Othman linked the "Malaysian Malaysia" campaign to those advocating the Bangsa Malaysia concept, insinuating that Bangsa Malaysia was a threat to the Bumiputra/Malay privileges granted under Article 153 of the Constitution. However, others criticised Ghani, with Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak stating: "It (Bangsa Malaysia) does not question the special rights of the Malays, our quota or anything of that sort."
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1Malaysia or One Malaysia (Malay: Satu Malaysia) is a Malaysian idea introduced by the sixth Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak on 5 April 2009. The main motto is People First; Performance Now (Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan). 1Malaysia concept according to YAB Dato'Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak explanation: "We stand, we think and act as a Malaysia race. And we take actions based on the needs of all ethnic groups in our country; (“Kita berdiri, kita berfikir dan bertindak sebagai bangsa Malaysia. Dan kita mengambil tindakan-tindakan berdasarkan kehendak semua kumpulan etnik dalam negara kita;). While 1Malaysia does not seek to do away with Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution it does place a strong emphasis on protecting the rights and welfare of non-Malays. This means that 1Malaysia still doesn't provide an equal right for all citizens as per 1960s Malaysian Malaysia associated to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew which later then became the prime minister the Republic of Singapore. 1Malaysia concept is to harmonise citizens of the country regardless of race without changing its racial identity.
Integration under 1Malaysia is different from assimilation concept where the identity of various races were wiped out and replaced by a common national identity. Instead 1Malaysia appreciate and respect principals of Federal Constitution and ethnic identity of various races in Malaysia, and consider it as an asset or an advantage that can be proud of. 1Malaysia stressed an acceptance attitude within multi-racial citizens society, where a race/ethnic accept the racial differences of others in order for all to live together by respecting each other as a citizen in one country.
Notes and references
- Ye, Lin-Sheng (2003). The Chinese Dilemma, p. 43. East West Publishing. ISBN 0-9751646-1-9.
- Nambiar, Ravi & Nadzmi, Siti Nurbaiyah (7 November 2006). "No Bangsa Malaysia in Constitution, says Najib", p. 6. New Straits Times.
- Tan, Marsha, Teh, Eng Hock, Vijayan, Meera & Zolkepli, Farik (7 November 2006). Bangsa Malaysia in mind. The Star.
- Adam, Ramlah binti, Samuri, Abdul Hakim bin & Fadzil, Muslimin bin (2004). Sejarah Tingkatan 3. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. ISBN 983-62-8285-8.
- Goh, Jenny (23 July 1997). "Small spark can create big mess". Straits Times.
- "'Impossible to co-operate with Singapore while Lee is Premier'". (2 June 1965). Straits Times.
- Khaw, Ambrose (1998). "This man is making too much noise". Retrieved 16 November 2005.
- Lim, Kit Siang (1999). "Advice to Hishammuddin to abhor the old politics of bigotry and fear and set an example of the new politics of reason in Malaysia on the threshold of a new millennium". Retrieved 22 October 2004.
- Wong, Douglas (21 May 1999). "Call for a 'New Malaysia'". Straits Times.