Every Malaysians Should Share This Heartbreaking Open Story To Tun Mahathir - Initiate A Better Malaysia For All & Eradicate Institutionalised Racism - The Coverage
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Every Malaysians Should Share This Heartbreaking Open Story To Tun Mahathir – Initiate A Better Malaysia For All & Eradicate Institutionalised Racism

She had just fallen asleep on her Appa’s hand for 20 minutes as she hadn’t slept properly the last 48 hours, arriving as early as 5am at the hospital to begin her “shift” to look after him. She had also grown extremely weary as she had experienced the most unspeakable pain the day before, witnessing her father suffer a stroke.

Her mom wasn’t there when he breathed his last as she was settling last minute shareholding issues with her dad’s business partner, made urgent in the wake of the doctor’s advice to prepare for the worst. That girl holding on to her daddy was me. But I digress, Tun. This business matter that prevented my mother from saying goodbye to my father is a story that began 19 years ago for me, and 47 years ago for Malaysia.

It’s an incident that has contributed to shaping the lives of every single Malaysian, and in shaping Malaysian politics – and not in a good way.

I’ve always been deeply uncomfortable writing openly about this for fear of persecution, honestly. Because that’s what Malaysians have come to experience – fear of imprisonment for protecting their basic civil rights.

Is Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) winning going to change that? We moan about it, unable to take action, but when the matter hit too close to home, I knew it would be cowardice not to speak. And because everyone should contribute to upholding peace and justice. And because I had to do this for my Appa, my father. And as I write this, tears roll down my face…

What I’m about to write next is a story of many Malaysians in one form or another, not just my own.

I grew up revering you as our Prime Minister, Tun. I loved everything about you. For a primary school girl who knew nothing about politics, I could only look up to your fatherly demeanour and kind face that I admired. I believed in all the greatness you did for our country. You even talked and had the body language of my daddy!

And then school finished, and my daddy had a talk with me. Amongst many other things, he told me about the institutionalised racism in our country, the bumiputera status and the New Economic Policy (NEP), succeeded by the National Development Policy.

My young heart broke – I felt sick in the tummy. I felt betrayed by my country for the first time, and many more incidents would follow.

Today I wonder, how many more tender Malaysian hearts broke when they found out about this, that as citizens, they weren’t equal. So I disassociated myself from being Malaysian. The government was divided racially, and it did so unto its people.

Most importantly I thought, “My Tun is condoning this?” You’ve done nothing about this till today. Why?

My dad was just one year too late to see a better Malaysia with the winning of PH. My heart ached that the man who taught me the importance of voting, didn’t live to see the day he had long hoped for. But will I see a truly equalitarian Malaysia?

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I realised how possible this concept was after living in Britain. Racism exists everywhere in differing degrees, and there may be scepticism about immigration and the European Union in the UK.

But when you ask a British born of any colour, “What are you?”, the answer is almost always,”British”. But how many of us Malaysians answer in “race”?

How could it be otherwise when until recently, we were ruled by a coalition that is made up of predominantly race-based parties?

One becomes more aware of how racist we as a nation have become, when you live in countries that do not have institutionalised racism.

The next blow came when my brother wanted to study medicine in a local university. He scored high enough marks in his STPM, but we learnt that the bumi quota system meant that Indians had the smallest percentage of seat allocations in local universities.

They offered him a place in nutrition instead. So now Malaysia chooses which occupation each race should be in? Socio-economic restructuring at its worst.

My brother eventually qualified as a doctor, with financial struggle on our side, and he has since left the country to practise overseas, and thus the introduction of the Brain Drain Era – who wants to invest in a country that didn’t look after them?

How can any of us say all races live in harmony when you live through this? It’s a comfortable lie we’ve all gotten used to.

The questionable intentions of the NEP extended to other areas – bumiputera quotas in the ownership of public company stocks; houses sold exclusively to bumiputeras, just to name a few, and then it visited our doorstep yet again.

Appa wanted to set up a security services company, but he could only do so with the majority shareholding owned by a bumiputera. And so in 1999 he involved his Malay friend who promised, “in name only”, to hold these majority shares.

His Malay friend did not contribute a penny, or any of his time, or a single asset into the company, but continued to demand a monthly director’s salary of up to RM2000, medical benefits, Raya pocket money, and even stooped so low as to ask for an annual Raya hamper.

He would harass dad out of the blue every now and then asking for large amounts of money to pay for something or other. It’s no surprise what happened to that “friendship”.

If my dad didn’t hand him free money, he would make administrative matters difficult, not sign licence renewals, make the company’s relationship with the Ministry of Home Affairs difficult, just to name a few.

My father slid into ill health every time this happened. This is the point when I really lost all hope and respect for those in power. I saw how this inequality in Malaysia had caused many to abuse their positions, fostering a sense of false entitlement amongst many.

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Inane phrases like “balik negara sendiri” and “ketuanan Melayu” were thrown about. Which country was I to go back to exactly, I wondered, and still wonder. I didn’t come from anywhere else. I was born here.

As a result, when I travelled the world, I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I was a vagabond citizen, happy to live where I could make the most of my life. I became a citizen of the World. Certainly not of Malaysia.

Today Tun, my story applies to half of the Malaysian population, who don’t truly feel that they belong. Is this the legacy that you want to leave behind?

I’m writing to you because today you are in a position to effect this change.

These socio-economic policies are causing severe racial polarisation. Will you help make that change? There are many reasons I admire you, but this is the one reason why I couldn’t sign the Nobel Peace Prize petition nominating you that was circulated on social media recently. Racial inequality is not synonymous with peace.

After you left Umno in 2016, you led the setting up of The Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM). Why indigenous? Why does the party’s ideology say nothing for Malaysians as a whole? Is this just another Umno?

I see history repeating. Why do political parties need to be race based? Why can’t the interests of Malaysians be looked after as a whole and resources channelled where they’re needed most?

PPBM’s ideology states amongst others, “maintaining the special position of Malays & natives of Sabah & Sarawak…”

Why aren’t all those who are born here “special” though? Another PPBM party objective states: “upholding the dignity and sovereignty of the institution of the Malay Rulers”.

And we wonder why a certain bunch feel entitled enough to oppose the current appointment of a new AG that abided by the due constitutional process of Article 145? Because this false entitlement has been openly and blatantly engendered for more than 40 years.

As a nation we may have seen how the previous government extended handouts when they wanted to increase their popularity, but the NEP has meant an institutionalised system of handouts for the largest ethnic community in Malaysia, it seems indefinitely.

Bringing you back to my story, after I woke up from laying my head on my dad’s hands, we realised my dad was dying. I called mom, desperately crying out for her to return from the meeting with the Malay partner immediately, as dad was leaving us.

The Malay partner had been forcing my dad to sell our company and give him his share for the last 10 years at least, oblivious to the fact that this was our “rice bowl”.

The alternative he gave us was to buy him out for a six-figure amount he quoted. Barely concluding the deal due to my call, my mother desperately rushed to the hospital in a cab.

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But she was too late – dad had left us. She sprawled herself on him, wailing, “I did it Athan, I managed to buy him out! Why didn’t you wait for me to tell you this?”

My dad, an ex-superintendent of police, who served his country dutifully and honourably, did not live to peacefully enjoy the fruits of his hard-earned labour, or hear the news that his selfish friend had been paid off and that he would now leave us alone.

Days after dad passed away, Mom emptied out all her life savings and EPF savings to pay off the Malay partner. Just like that. Free money into his pocket for no contribution to the company whatsoever, not so much as a pen.

He manipulated his racial advantage to take huge amounts of money from our family. His friendship and his word to my dad took a side step. My dad passed away last year a cynical man, broken by mistrust from people around him who took advantage of the generosity he was so well known for.

This is how the NEP has been misused Tun, and it has twisted the moral compass of many. That’s perhaps why our Father of Independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman, opposed the target of 30% of all equity in bumiputera hands.

The NEP’s goal of having 30% of the national wealth held by Bumiputeras was not indicative of a median 60% of Bumiputeras holding 28% of the national wealth, but could theoretically translate into one Bumiputera holding 29% of the national wealth, with the remaining Bumiputeras sharing 1%.

Does this somehow explain the true story of billions of dollars and Hermes Handbags in the hands of one or two people?

And this is how my story ends, Tun. The word Bumiputera translates to Prince of the Land. We are all princes of the land we are born into, aren’t we?

Racist policies and politics are seeping into our lives and robbing our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of a peaceful and fair existence every single day.

Social relationships are partly based on reciprocal altruism, or helping others in a mutually beneficial manner.

Please Tun, initiate a better Malaysia for all. I’m just one daughter speaking up for her deceased father. I’m sure there are a million more stories out there.

Help us eradicate institutionalised racism. Help us create a Malaysia for ALL Malaysians.

Lakshmi Appadorai Baker is an FMT Reader.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Tmr soon

    June 22, 2018 at 20:32

    Dear LAB, you have my heart and tears with you and thank you for speaking the truth although truth always hurt. To Tun, if he believes in God then he must know now why is it that God has blessed him to be healthy and able at 93 so that he has a mission to accomplish.

  2. Sam Tan

    June 22, 2018 at 20:34

    Well said and so true.To be very honest,the non malays despict the malays for their greed and laziness.Living at the expense of others miseries.The malays called themselves muslims but how many of them actually practise the teachings.1% maybe.I am sorry if I have offended the malays but this is the reality in Malaysia.

  3. Zaitun Zainuddin

    June 24, 2018 at 06:59

    Excuse me. Correction. After the word, ‘every,each,should,would,can,couldn’should be followed by a base word. E.g Every Malaysian …….(no s).

    • Poobun

      June 25, 2018 at 09:00

      Good observation.

    • SimonoSaint

      June 27, 2018 at 18:19

      Thank you for the English Grammar lesson!
      🙂

  4. See Yuet Mai

    June 25, 2018 at 14:07

    This results in some smart malays taking advantage of their ‘rights’ and opportunities to become rich while the ordinary n rural malays are stuck in poverty. They dont have the money to invest in those schemes provided as money begets money.Then instead of giving back to society they become greedy for more.
    U cant generalise the chinese as well off either because of their ‘situation’ they know they have to study n work hard as edn only can get them out of poverty. There are so many malays, chinese n indians who are struggling financially too ( if u care to look around).
    The govt should help those in real need regardless of their race so as to be seen as fair. Otherwise life would continue as usual with a subdued heart of ‘what to do attitude’ as second class citizens .

  5. Azra

    June 26, 2018 at 14:15

    Kalau betul kita nak seperti yg penulis nak, apa kata kita guna bahasa malaysia dengan sepenuhnya berbanding bahasa Inggeris. Kita nak satu bangsa Malaysia tetapi ada yg langsung tak boleh berbahasa Malaysia dengan baik walaupun lahir di negara ini. Saya x nak sebut bahasa Melayu sebab nanti kata saya lebih kepada bangsa Melayu. Rasanya kalau semua boleh berbahasa Malaysia dengan baik, satu bangsa Malaysia akan terbina sendiri tanpa ragu2.

    • SimonoSaint

      June 28, 2018 at 13:19

      Jika anda menunggu semua orang bercakap dengan baik dalam Bahasa Malaysia, ia akan mengambil masa yang lama kerana kami sudah menunggu 60 tahun di bawah kerajaan BN.

      Jadi, bolehkah anda meramalkan tarikh sasaran bahawa Malaysia boleh menjadi negara yang benar-benar demokratik dan meritokratis? Saya kira itu mungkin 100 tahun atau lebih! Oleh itu, warganegara bukan Bumiputera harus mengalami rawatan yang tidak adil seperti yang ditulis oleh penulis dalam artikel ini di atas, selama 100 tahun atau lebih?

      Kerajaan baru harus menyelesaikan masalah ini dengan secepat mungkin dengan menghapuskan polisi-polisi perkauman yang tidak adil yang dilembagakan seperti NEP; dan membuat Polisi Tindakan Afirmatif, bukan berasaskan kaum tetapi berdasarkan keperluan semua rakyat miskin Malaysia tanpa mengira bangsa.

      In English:

      If you wait for everyone to speak well in Bahasa Malaysia, it will take a long time because we’ve already waited 60 years under the BN government.

      So, can you predict the target date that Malaysia can be a truly democratic and meritocratic country? I guess it maybe 100 years or later! Therefore, non-Bumiputera citizen should suffer from such unfair treatments, as written by the author in this article above, for another 100 years or more?

      The new government should solve this problem as soon as possible by abolishing the racist policies of inequality that are institutionalized such as the NEP; and make an Affirmative Action Policy, not based on race but based on needs of all poor Malaysians regardless of race.

  6. Vennila

    June 27, 2018 at 11:12

    I don’t see what has this got to do with the Bumiputera policy. It is naive to assume so. As a partner, anyone or any other ‘race’ could have done as above. Racism exists everywhere sometimes without us realizing. Some western countries don’t even allow one to climb up the ladder due to the color if their skin and some countries you are expected to stay in a neighborhood where people are the same skin color as you. The last thing we should do is run away from it.. running away is not a solution but taking it as a challenge and managing it is.

    • Towkay

      July 11, 2018 at 15:38

      We are talking about institutionalized racism as the government policies dictated into law. Sure,there are racism everywhere but are they institutionalized into government policies? Don’t use excuses that racism existed elsewhere to accept it here. It would be like accepting crime as it is everywhere. Or sins because everyone sinned.

  7. Muhammad

    June 27, 2018 at 14:18

    Is it fair to generalised all Malays with that attitude by the selfish act of 1 Malay? Not fair. Btw NEP is not only for Malays but applied to all bumiputeras including Sabahans, Sarawakians & orang aslis.

    • Jozzeh

      June 29, 2018 at 10:00

      Read this part:

      “The NEP’s goal of having 30% of the national wealth held by Bumiputeras was not indicative of a median 60% of Bumiputeras holding 28% of the national wealth, but could theoretically translate into one Bumiputera holding 29% of the national wealth, with the remaining Bumiputeras sharing 1%.”

      • James

        July 3, 2018 at 09:52

        you’re not addressing the point of the issue.

    • Towkay

      July 11, 2018 at 15:53

      That one example is just the tip of the iceberg especially when it is an institutionalized government policy. If there are 1,000 such security firms there would be up to 1,000 similar cases of a typical Alibaba arrangement. It is a very familisr story we hear in Malaysia only that many Malays who benefit do not know or pretended not to know. They are so scared of losing the crutches and privileges. Meanwhile non-Malays are forced to live with it for decades and endure in silence.

    • shams baharudin abdullah

      September 9, 2018 at 21:17

      Yes. Agreed. This is a pundek racist story. Shd not appear in this esteemed publication! 🙄😤

    • shamsu baharudin che abdullah

      September 9, 2018 at 21:18

      Yes

  8. TS

    June 27, 2018 at 15:08

    Muhammad you stated and I quote, “Is it fair to generalised all Malays with that attitude by the selfish act of 1 Malay?”Have to correct you as the selfishness has been exhibited by many m Malays.When a non-Malay wants to start a business he has to have a Malay as a partner and there have been numerous cases of Malays demanding their 30% share without paying a single sen into the venture.This has been going on since the inception of the NEP in 1972.Open your eyes to the fact

  9. Tansg

    June 30, 2018 at 14:14

    Control of licence to do business is monopoly. It only condones corruption.
    It also stop growth and creativity. It makes those who give licence look great.
    It’s just basically silly for the growth of a nation.

  10. Marath Tamilan

    July 9, 2018 at 10:24

    A New Malaysia for ALL foreign CRIMINALS & TERRORISTS seeking asylum here!!!
    Selamat Datang!

  11. shams baharudin abdullah

    September 9, 2018 at 21:14

    Pundek story…😤🤮 This kind of story shd not be given space to go round in a multi-racial soceity like ours in Malaysia. What the…🤧🙄

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