Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Malays Demonstrating in Melaka Over Not Having Enough Privileges

"Solve the Malay problem, and you solve the country’s problem."

AB Sulaiman

Hatten Square
Hatten Square in the Malaccan town centre.

It seems to me that no news outlet have reported this event yet, so I'll just go right ahead and do it for them.

Earlier today, I drove to town for a spot of shopping when I cruised past a small demonstration which erupted outside of Hatten Square. A squad of police officers and mall security personnel were already standing by in case shit hits fan. The demonstrators consisted exclusively of ethnic Malay entrepreneurs of small-to-moderately-sized businesses and they are disgruntled over having to shift their shops elsewhere due to a sundry of developmental projects, including a road expansion project planned by the city council to ease the chronic traffic congestion problem which afflicts the area. They are pissed because they felt that the compensation promised to them were inadequate.

The banner reads:

The compensation paid to those affected range from RM500 to RM800 per month while the Melaka government work on creating new turfs for them. Basically, they can sit on their asses for moons and moons while getting free money. In the interim, they are also free to find employment elsewhere or continue their businesses in another location while waiting for the new government-allotted ethnic Malay-only premises to be ready to receive their Royal Heinie-nesses. Instead, they have decided to throw up a huge stink about it and took to the streets with signs, noisemakers and vuvuzelas. Vuvuzelas, for gourd's sake!

I remember when my favourite fried prawn wonton and claypot porridge place (which is managed by a Chinese family) were forced to move and make way for the Malacca riverside beautification project, they did not receive monetary compensation for every month of business lost. Instead, they sucked it up without complaints, and pragmatically moved their very popular restaurant to a different part of the city as quickly as they could to cut their losses. Then again, they being the wrong race, complaining isn't going to achieve very much anyway because they aren't entitled to any of the "special rights" that the Malays get.

I find it amusing that the protestors are accusing the Singaporean-owned Hatten Group of "robbing them of their rightful Malay properties". No, it not just any regular old properties - it's special "Malay" properties, mind you. Why must they turn everything into a racial issue? And why, why, why are they blaming the Hatten Group for decisions undertaken by the Malaccan government which, by the way, is run by a very large Malay majority?

Malay Backlot of Shops
This is the row of shop lots in question. You can see Hatten Square looming behind.

If you don't know, since the founding of this country more than half a century ago, the Malay people have enjoyed special privileges enshrined within our national constitution. If they wish to receive higher education, they have a significantly higher chance of getting government sponsorship (even over non-Malays who achieved far better grades) and some government agencies like MARA grant full scholarships exclusively to Malays and other Bumiputeras. If they want to buy real estate properties, they get up to 7% discounts while developers charge non-Bumis more to cover for it. Malay-owned companies are entitled for special tax breaks, as if Malays who have gotten to this level of corporate status require further financial help. There's many, many more examples which I won't bring up because I'm feeling a tad nauseous now. Of course, these rights and privileges do not discriminate between rich and poor Malays - even Malay billionaires get the same package deal. Must be nice to be born with the right skin colour, eh?

So, after more than 50 years of ruling the country and having the playing field brazenly biased in their favour, the 65% Malay majority still own less than 20% of the country's wealth. Shocking, I know. This also means that the majority of tax money is contributed by the 26% Chinese minority. The scholarships, real estate discounts, tax breaks - those expenses were not paid for by magic fairy dust sprinkles which came out of thin air, by the way. They came from the blood and sweat those whom the Malay people have discriminated against unapologetically in our country's racist economic policies all these years.

For all the horrid accusations that the Malays have unjustly hurled at the Chinese for "robbing" them of their wealth, it's really them who have been robbing the Chinese - and they have done this for decades without shame or gratitude. They have told us in self-righteous anger that if we don't like it, we should leave this country. I sometimes catch myself nodding in agreement to that suggestion.

Yes, because if the Chinese leave, Malay businesses will magically start to prosper! And the funding behind their special Malay privileges will continue to miraculously come from nowhere!

Accusations of Discrimination

Singapore seceded from the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 because of unbridgeable ideological differences regarding racial politics. It is an island smaller than Melaka, has zero natural resources, and is still dependent on mainland Malaysia to this day for their water. Somehow, it managed to out-compete Malaysia (you know, the one with all the land, forests, minerals and offshore petroleum) in development and economic growth. Why?

I'll use an analogy. The Malaysian economy is like a video game. The Malay people have only been playing on "Easy" mode while the Chinese were forced to play on the "Hard" setting with all the assorted handicaps for more than 50 years. Guess which group is better trained and practiced? When the two groups are forced to compete in a Player versus Player match, which group do you think is going to come out ahead?

My dear Malay compatriots, you're going to suck at this game forever unless you start playing fair.

It's the Jews Again

Reporting from Melaka,
k0k s3n w4i


Elaynne said...

Hey! I will be in town this weekend. Free on friday?

k0k s3n w4i said...

Elaynne: i'm free till the end of this month, so bring it on! oh hey, do you want to watch kung fu panda 2?

RS said...

Malays have become very spoilt! I know a LOT of older-generation Malays who believe this because they told me it was only after M'sia achieved independence that Malays started getting more 'special privileges' due to more and more immigrants coming over to M'sia.

Before that, EVERYONE had to work their butt off to get anywhere.

I'm a Malay myself but I KNOW for a fact that Malays have tons of special privileges. It's so stupid. These people need to work harder the only will they achieve success.

The Chinese are in control of the economy for a darn good reason. They work hard and don't complain.

Hope this comment wasn't rude, I didn't mean to be.

hazieba said...

yeahh. you're right. >< malays should stop acting like a spoil child and start to work their ass off like chinese ppl does. i'm a bumiputera, but i seriously don't get it why we got these special privileges. o.O

feyus said...

mmmm, perlu ada campurtangan dari pihak kerajaan secara adil. Peniaga melayu perlu diberi perhatian yang serius.
RON-95 akan naik 20 sen

yuhhui said...

Super super like this post!!
But there they go again....


Miecyber said...

Fight for our right !!!!
Please don't give up.

Pandangan rakyat Australia mengenai Lynas.( Dengan sarikata )

Pou Leen said...

I guess they are raised to believe that if things don't go their way, complaining's the next step.

Because honestly, even I wouldn't bother to struggle and work it out on my own if all I need to do is to simply complain, and BAM! the solution miraculously appears.

I have nothing against the race, but everything against the "body" that spoils them.

Like when a child behaves badly, I can only imagine what kind of parents he/she has!

Then again, why are we (other races) complaining about not getting equal rights? We're simply degrading ourselves to their level.

The truth is, if we're (other races) really THAT good, then it's regardless if the government is supporting us, because we'll do just as fine.

So it's pretty much a "pot calling the kettle black" case here.

What people do to us, it's their karma. What we do, is ours.

Rewarp said...

Good reporting. I will certainly retwit this.

Any chance of them showing up again? Or will they be hiring others to protest for them next?

jennifer said...

I like your post especially the video game part!:)

lydia said...

You are totally right! Malays always get to play in easy mode, and chinese are force to play in hard mode or even hardest mode. Malays has benn specially treated way too much now.

agree with you!

k0k s3n w4i said...

RS: thanks for your support :) for some reason, low-to-middle class malay citizens have a tendency to see the malaysian economy as a zero-sum game for some reason - that if someone gets ahead in life here, it's at the expense of the malay people. that's where the provincial "race x is robbing us" mentality came from. and it isn't true that the chinese community don't complain. they do but i daresay they have a very real reason to. but at the end of the day, in spite of the complaints, most tend to still work hard because... what other alternatives do they have anyway?

hazieba: all of my more highly educated malay friends think like you do - most suspect that this is indeed what we must do as a country to get ahead.

feyus: kenapa peniaga melayu sahaja yang patut diberi perhatian yang serius? peniaga-peniaga bangsa lain tidak layak mendapat perhatian yang setara ke?

yuhhui: i think perkasa is one of our best allies in our fight for equal rights. they are so racist that hardly any right-thinking malay would want to associate themselves with them or their fucked up ideologies.

Miecyber: not giving up just yet :)

Pou Leen: so, you believe that by championing non-racist economic policies, i am, as you've put it, a "pot calling the kettle black"? and it is your opinion that we are "degrading ourselves to their level"? i think you have a profound misunderstanding of my agenda, pou leen. in the current model of racial affirmative action, the special privileges afforded to the malay people does not discriminate between the rich and the poor - so the richer malay people in malaysia are entitled to the same benefits. being better educated they are more likely to have kids who will qualify for scholarships. they buy more expensive real estate properties and thus, get a bigger discount. and since they are the ones who own any sizeable businesses, they benefit most from the tax breaks. what about the chinese and indians who are impoverished? they don't get any help! i'm proposing that malaysia should only give financial aid to those who actually need it, regardless of skin colour. also, it's evident that the pampering they've been receiving have rendered malays less skillful economically, and since they are the majority, it had profound impacts on the growth of our nation's wealth (hence my singapore-malaysia comparison and the video game analogy). and since i'm from a middle class chinese family, i wouldn't benefit at all from the new model economic policy i am proposing. i am complaining because i believe in justice, equality and the betterment of our country. so no. i disagree with your reading of the current situation completely. besides, are you proposing that the chinese people stow away their legitimate grievances (unlike the imaginary grievances of the malay demonstrators in my post) and just continue allowing themselves to be taken advantage of economically by our own country's policies?

Rewarp: thanks mate. 'preciated. i'll write an update if i ever run into them again but chances are, the melaka government is just going to give them more money and they'll go home happy.

jennifer: it is a pretty pithy analogy isn't it? :P

lydia: to extend the video game analogy; the malay and the chinese are really on the same team. we should both be playing in "hard", get better at this game and beat other countries.

fadz said...

kok, saya suka poin terakhir dlm komen terkini awak, gabung tenaga, main "hardest level" dan kalahkan negara2 lain.. yang itu saya amat setuju..

Liz said...

I like your analogy. I think that too. They make it difficult for us non-Malays, but all that has done is made us work harder and do wayyyy better than ever. Yet, there are still "Orang Cina Balik China" sentiments, which is completely and utterly ridiculous and should not even be acknowledged, but, coming from the people of a land I do consider my home, it still hurts. :(

btw, in that 4th picture you posted, where the man is holding up a sign saying: "Peniaga Melayu dalam Bandar Di Tindas" would you agree with me there is an obvious space between the "Di" and the "Tindas"? I get soooooo irritated when people make mistakes like that. The "Di" here is a particle that needs to be joined to the verb "Tindas". It is NOT a preposition to be separated, like in "Di Sini". I get sooooooo annoyed when they put signs like " Dilarang meletak kenderaan disini" and "Kini Di Buka". Like, OMG, it's your own damn language and you can't even get it right? You make all of us study the language and you can't even be better at it than us???? How NOT to lose respect for them?? >.<

Pou Leen said...

Well, I must first say you've a very noble intention and I am not exactly against your way of seeing things, but simply pointing out the fact that there is another way to see this all.

I must agree that, perhaps, just perhaps, that our nation will benefit from this economic model of yours, but I just don't see that it is gonna happen anytime soon.

So, by just sitting around, waiting, complaining about how impoverished I am (or even if I am not complaining, to simply remain impoverished) I am doing myself wrong. I could see that there's unjust but like I said, "What people do to us, it's their karma. What we do, is ours." I am just more concerned with HELPING myself. What "I" can do for MYSELF. If everyone could just help themselves, and not pay so much attention at how they're not getting the help they deserve! Whining, complaining, competing on who's got a sadder story to tell!

So while your intentions are noble speaking up for the impoverished, I am just not as certain if it is at all necessary in the first place.

k0k s3n w4i said...

fadz: go team malaysia! :)

Liz: it is our home - no doubt about it. we were born here, and our parents were born here too. i agree that "ditindas" should be one word, but my written bahasa melayu isn't really much better. and i don't think the chinese is better than the malay at their language. the protestors are mostly uneducated and it's probably unfair hold that against them. however, i did find their misspelling of "melayu" on the banner in the 2nd picture priceless.

Pou Leen: you misread my intention if you think it noble. i am no altruist. what i am suggesting is pragmatism. the majority of the population is malay and they are also the fastest growing race. and if they remain complacent, our economic growth is going to suffer in relation to our neighbouring countries and to the world. if you plan to stay in malaysia, trust me - you will eventually suffer along with everyone else regardless of which race you belong to. if you foresee a future for yourself and your children in this country, you ARE helping yourself by supporting this social change - or are you as shortsighted as the some of the malay people who still want the racial-based economic policies to remain?