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Calling out ’supremacy’ of Malay community

Persecution of Mat Sabu
Mohamad Sabu

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No one will respect those who are arrogant and hold themselves to be over others, Mustafa K Anuar.\ writes.

The guilty verdict for Najib Razak at the end of his trial over SRC International funds predictably aroused much attention and concern among people from various walks of life, in and outside the country, as it involved a high-profile personality implicated in corruption of a colossal scale.

It is also a critical case that has relevance to Amanah president Mohamad Sabu’s cutting criticism of the so-called Malay supremacy ideology before the verdict was pronounced. He had poured scorn on the argument that corrupt Malay leaders can be excused as they would eventually repent, at least before Judgement Day, unlike their non-Muslim counterparts who presumably are not able to do so.

As expected, the excoriation sparked an angry response, particularly from Umno politicians in Parliament – as well as other Malay nationalists online – who took it as an attempt to tar the entire Malay community with the same brush. Or perhaps to smear an ethnic group whose stature is supposedly “supreme” over other races.

Their indignation notwithstanding, Mat Sabu, as the Amanah leader is better known, did make a vital distinction so that the misdeeds of the unabashed Malay leaders are solely theirs. He implied that the community should not come to the defence of corrupt leaders and, worse, hail them as role models and heroes. Indeed, to do so would be tantamount to the community inflicting insult upon itself. No pride can be derived by a community that stands smugly while it is led by leaders whose morality is easily influenced by greed.

This is the crux of Mat Sabu’s contention: instead of promoting the controversial concept of Malay supremacy, it is much more vital and morally rewarding to put a premium on Malays who are “authoritative, pious and with integrity”. In other words, the Malay community ought to pay deference to the values of diligence, trustworthiness, integrity, piety, excellence, justice and compassion. And, if there’s any reason to be united, the community should do it around such universal values, with which they can hold their heads up high.

Mat Sabu also rightly pointed out that ethnic supremacy is “assabiyah” or racist and, hence, has serious implications for ethnic relations and social cohesion. This is amply demonstrated by the tragic death of George Floyd that triggered the #BlackLivesMatter movement worldwide.

To be sure, Mat Sabu and the rest of the Amanah leadership did not suggest that the special position of the Malays and other bumiputera, which is enshrined in the federal constitution, be tampered with. All they are saying is that fellow Malaysians of various backgrounds be treated with care and dignity. After all, we are all God’s creations.

The diversity that we have in our multi-ethnic and multicultural society should be harnessed for the collective benefit and progress of the formed entity called Malaysia. We would be all the poorer when certain stakeholders are deprived of the opportunity to make significant contributions to nation-building.

Amanah communications director Khalid Samad cautioned that ethnic supremacy necessitates a social condition where one ethnic group lords it over others.

If a community wants to be “supreme” or respected, it will be far better for it to be appreciated for its noble values, good deeds and humanity and the way it treats the vulnerable and minorities in their midst, to be “cultured” and generous in spirit.

Conversely, no one will respect those who are arrogant and hold themselves to be over others.

Source: The Malaysian Insight

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 Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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21 Nov 2020 12.55am

Bravo Sabu. Us malays new gen wont disappoint you

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