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Malaysia 101: Our Unique Bahasa Malaysia – What’s The Point?

Bangsa Malaysia Unity Bahasa Malaysia Negaraku Hand

At the end of the day, all are in the boat and proud to call ourselves Bangsa Malaysia speaking the same language, i.e. Bahasa Malaysia but politicians and lopsided national policies make one think that we are in a different country. Image source: Mob’s Crib

In my previous post titled “Bangsa Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia”, Sactyr commented on the following: –

Bro, whats the point of speaking it fluently? At the most, can we get a job in government now that we know how to speak Malay fluently? Oh no, wait a minute, I am not a Malay, so I am disqualified anyway.

Maybe I can consider a career as a dangdut singer? Or maybe get a career as RTM Malay host? Wait a minute, I am not a Malay, so I am disqualified straightaway.

I am not against learning Malay for the sake of it, in fact I schooled 12 years in Malay. But as soon as we are done with school, the only places we use Malay is the market and government departments.

Ok lets say, for arguments sake, all of us can converse in Malay rather fluently, do you think racism in this country will fly out of the window? Lets say that instead of English/Tamil/Chinese, everyone will be blogging and voicing out their opinions in Malay, do you think that will solve problems?

The whole picture is painted as if all communities are living in separate islands and each community DOES NOT understand any language beyond theirs. The fact is, and cold truth is, each and every community in Malaysia understands Malay. So no problem of communicating opinions. The problem is refusal to listen by the government, and NEP.

To promote unity, you need each and every race to respect others. In order to give and take this respect, you don’t need to know Malay, just a warm heart and a mind clear of propaganda will do. But sadly, that’s not case right now.

And here’s my humble opinion

Unfortunately, that is the sad situation in Malaysia these days but certainly, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. A drastic and major change will not be so easy to achieve. I should know better, I faced it daily at work. And sometimes we can’t expect change to happen overnight or tomorrow or even 2 weeks later. It took more than 200 years for America to have its first non-white President. The same goes for the concept of Bangsa Malaysia – it may take some time.

For it to happen now in this paradise known as Malaysia would just be a distant dream. With a daily barrage of racial-based policies and talks such as NEP, Ketuanan Melayu and more, a more refined and ideal concept as Bangsa Malaysia will not find the right breathing space and will just wither away.

But does it mean we have to give up and leave it to fate? Are we going to let some uneducated, racist politicians determine how we are going to interact with other Malaysians?

We did the almost impossible in the last general election – we denied the 2/3 majority to a group of racial-based political parties and sent MIC and its President into the wilderness. Just 10 years ago, would we have thought that this would have been possible?

We have to start chipping the hard rock bit by bit

Look at Indonesia. As much as we like to blame them for the rising crime rates to illegal immigrants and yearly haze, Indonesia is many steps ahead of us in terms of racial treatment. They enacted laws that made racial segregation unlawful.

Indonesian lawmakers said this when they passed the Bill on the Elimination of Race and Ethnic Discrimination recently: –

A man cannot choose to be born as part of a certain race or ethnic group, and therefore discrimination must cease to exist

But did the change happen overnight?

I had a friend from Indonesia who is of pure Chinese descent and when he was in Malaysia, he preferred to talk Bahasa Indonesia. It is his national identity. Another is his name – Indonesians have made it very difficult to judge the ethnicity of a person by looking at their names. We don’t have to go to such extreme but if Malaysia had followed in Indonesia’s footsteps, unfair treatment based on names of formal applications, letters and others would have been avoided.

Shame on us if we could see a better world under Bangsa Malaysia and yet, we have not taken that first step

Many have blamed racial disunity and the postponement of Bangsa Malaysia on the current Government. It was not surprising that the events leading to the general election were tainted with racial slurs and provocations.

If the Government is the only source of the problem, then a change of Government must be done in the next election. Leaders who try to gain political mileage by making racial and seditious statements must be shown the exit door and be barred forever from being involved in the management of government in this country. It is not impossible to do this.

But for now, let’s start with smaller steps, shall we?

3 thoughts on “Malaysia 101: Our Unique Bahasa Malaysia – What’s The Point?”

  1. Bro, I agree with the majority of the points raised in your post.

    But specifically on the language issue, a common language is only needed when the public does not understand each other’s language, much like the situation in India. In our case, Malay is spoken by 99% of the people, maybe bar the bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak.

    You see, I am looking at the issue from the point of substance, while you’re are looking at it from the point of form. Having common names and such can only help so far, for example lets say everyone in Malaysia has names in Malay instead, but NEP still rules and UMNO’s fascist propaganda still rules the day. Do you think that will solve our problems?

    A law similar to Indonesia’s will greatly help us, but it depends if UMNO inserts a clause on Ketuanan Melayu in it. If that’s the case, it is back to square one for us.

    I reiterate, change in government and abolishment of NEP is needed before we can even start talking about Bangsa Malaysia.

  2. Before i go into the question of language, i’d like to comment on the Obama phenomenon.

    In America, the society is politically structured ehnically into “white” and “black”.

    They have a problem to define who is white and black so the thought they could use skin colour as a determinate.

    But they actually went further than that, anyone with 1/16 african “blood” is considered black is does not matter you look whiter than the Obama fellow or even have almost blond hair and green eyes, if you have african ancestry and people know abut it you expected to be black. This is done so that they know who to exclude from white mainstream society. This is almost apartheid.

    Traditional malay power sructure have always been inclusive and not apartheidesque.. You are a “Malay” if you are muslim, have an ancestor from the any of the nusantara ethnic groups though not necessary required, speak bahasa Melayu and live like one. They be happy to include you in not keep you out your skin colour does not matter to them.

    Malaysia have had Obamas all the time. All our Prime Minsters are of mixed origin like Obama, no one question their Malay pedigree.

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