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Stop with the ethnic stereotyping

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Many good people could have been compromised in a toxic environment built over decades by successive administrations, writes Dominic Damian.

Some months ago, we heard sweeping statements from among the highest echelons of power.

“The Malay officers in city hall did nothing for the Malay community but enriched themselves,” said one.

Another leader chided Malays for being “lazy” and untrustworthy, adding that banks no longer want to lend to them.

Scathing and searing were the remarks.
Blanket stereotyping, which many ordinary Malaysians also indulge in, is simply unacceptable. I am sure Malaysians are sick and tired of such ethnic profiling, especially by leaders telling us who we are and what we are.

Some pertinent questions arise:

  • Are we supposed to accept the assertion that each and every Malay is untrustworthy?
  • Are all the Malay fishermen, farmers, factory workers, food stall workers and owners untrustworthy and lazy? So many of them work so very hard. Go to Chow Kit wet market and get your feet soiled and see how many hardworking Malays there are slogging and struggling.
  • Who were the leaders that placed untrustworthy officials in such positions?
  • Who trained and groomed future leaders to expect entitlement of all sorts?
  • Who brainwashed them with programmes of superiority?
  • Can we not see that despite efforts to brainwash Malays with negatives, many of them have rejected what is contemptible and inappropriate?
  • Who deprived them of an opportunity to succeed in a competitive environment?
  • Who came up with an education policy that has divided our children and the nation?
  • Who came up with government policies that affected the Malays negatively?
  • Who introduced the polarisation of faiths and ethnic groups?

We should not stereotype ordinary Malay folk as untrustworthy. There may be so many social reasons why people are unable to repay loans. They may have an extended family to take care of or there could be many other reasons. Most of them are not squandering their incomes on yachts, diamond rings, designer watches, luxury cars or Birkin bags.

The fact is simple: too many of our Malay brothers and sisters in the rural areas and even in urban areas are suffering, alongside others from the low-income group. So don’t come up with sweeping statements from a moral high ground. By all means, be impartial and critical of the damaging policies.

Think about:

  • those who introduced and allowed a negative culture of entitlement
  • those in the highest political positions who gave out contracts to cronies and those less qualified
  • those who took in the less qualified and less trustworthy in a conveyor belt system, irrespective of whether they were dysfunctional or disruptive.  

Many good people could have been compromised in a toxic environment built over decades by successive administrations. Some statesmen were an integral part of the whole system and they failed intellectually in their leadership.

So there should be no finger-pointing at ordinary folks. After all, we should realise that the whole country could have gone down the tube if so many concerned Malays had not joined the struggle for change alongside their fellow Malaysians.

Coarseness of language often camouflages the intellectual frailty of those who foment ideas of racial and religious superiority which have traumatised a nation.

I have had many Malay students whom I have been privileged to encounter, and I hold them with the highest esteem and affection. Not one have I come across who was without honour. So I take exception to how they are labelled.  

So to bridge the divide, please focus on:

  • eradicating the racial elements that foster inequality
  • eliminating the religious conflicts that have divided the nation
  • wiping out contentious differences
  • removing the negatives and replacing them with a holistic educational inspiration based on common morality
The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Dr. SNaidu
Dr. SNaidu
7 Mar 2019 2.47pm

Let’s seriously and urgently work on ‘educating’ ourselves and our young on the social processes and pedagogies of learning and internalising nationhood values, as based on OUR Constitution and OUR Rukun Negara. The edn ministry can well spearhead this noble task, really, in practical and pragmatic forms. Brave steps, as suggested by DD above,and particularly, all identification of national policy for particular groups, must be moderated and gradually removed. Any such programmes still needed to be on the ground, need to be well explained and elucidated. Please, let’s move forward.

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