We are Malaysians, not Pendatangs, says my Friend, John Toh

January 24, 2013

We are Malaysians, not Pendatangs, says my Friend, John Toh

Din MericanLast week, and again today I met John Toh, my dear friend (both of us are septuagenarians waiting in the airport lounge, like our notorious octogenarian, for our turn to catch the next flight to eternity) at the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

John and I who are former corporate executives talked about what it was like growing up in the days when Tunku Abdul Rahman was our Prime Minister and how things got to this stage of degeneration in the affairs of state after 55 years of Independence. He and I attribute this collapse of our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and our societal malaise to one man’s rise to power in 1981 and his 22 year+ administration. Others may disagree with us. It is their right to differ as much as it is our duty to speak up.

Tun Dr.Mahathir who started his administration with the slogan BERSIH, CEKAP danPerkasa's Patron AMANAH must take full responsibility for  our nation in crisis. We admired him very much because he fired our passion for Malaysia, but over the years, John and I have come to realise that he is  a man obsessed with power, who does not know when to let go.

Tun Dr. Mahathir has successfully brought down the Badawi administration in 2009, and is now working towards to the political demise of our present Prime Minister. I get the impression from his words and actions that he thinks he is still indispensable.

You and I know no one is indispensable. Each generation will have its own leaders and it is the duty of our generation–and certainly mine and John’s–to ensure that the present leaders both in the government and the Opposition administer our country properly and not badger them at every opportunity. We must guide, cajole, encourage, and praise them if they do the right things and do them right. Critique them, if we must, but do that constructively.

Recently, Tun Dr. Mahathir went over the top when he tried to divert our attention from his granting of Identity cards to both Filipinos and Indonesian illegals to enable the vote in the 1994 Sabah state elections by blaming Tunku Abdul Rahman. He said that the Tunku gave citizenships to Chinese, Indians and others. The Tun forgets that it was part of our Independence deal with the British colonial government. It is nasty for Tun Dr. Mahathir to accuse a man who is no longer around to defend himself. Lawyer Tommy Thomas has done us a service when he wrote an article on the subject, which I put on this blog.

Let me now post John’s e-mail to me. I promised him that I will share his concerns with all of you. Thank you, John. You and I cannot give up. As I said to you today, we both are heavily invested in Malaysia. Our children are luckier than us because we have given them good education to enable them to compete anywhere in the world. We cannot now abandon our dream of a united Malaysia. Why? We know we can change things around. So,we must speak against the likes of Ibrahim Ali and others like him. Being indifferent is no longer an option. Elegant silence?, well, leave that to Tun Musa Hitam.–Din Merican


Kuala Lumpur, January 24, 2013

Dear Dato’ Din,

It was most gratifying to meet up with you after a lapse of over 40 years. A lot has happened to our respective lives  in the intervening period but I am glad to note that the fire in your belly is still burning bright. Although I was unable to meet you until now, I have been following your blog faithfully and have kept up with the issues you saw fit to discuss in the public domain especially for those who lack media support and in the process denied the laws of natural justice.For this I must salute you in your fearless crusade to help those who are oppressed.

Co-incidentally, a very important and current issue which I find disturbing is the remark by Tun Dr. M regarding Tunku’s act of granting Citizenship to over 1 million pendatangs soon after Merdeka. While I myself am a 3rd generation Malaysian born and a humble subject of HRH Sultan of Selangor which I became in 1954 by Operation of Law I still feel alienated by such references to Pendatangs and I reflect on Tunku’s action and ask what is the rationale and the end result of the “gift of Citizenship” by our beloved Tunku.

I must firstly confess that I am not a Member of any political Party or NGO but just one of those who happen to love our Nation and any action that cause dissension among the people naturally saddens me. I am also not an economist or political scientist.

After clearing the air, permit me to give you my layman’s view on what prompted Tunku to do what he did and what are the consequences. By the time we gained Independence, Malaysia had the good fortune to experience a number of “booms”. First was the rubber boom in late 1940’s but development of synthetic rubber caused the rubber industry to lose its bounce in less that 2 decades. Then we had the tin boom followed by the timber boom and in early or mid 1970’s we also experienced the oil and gas boom. With the huge deforestation of timber land, entrepreneurs began to plant oil palm over the logged over land and palm oil became the next boom factor what lasts to this day.

My point is this. Except for the oil and gas sector, all the other booms that occurred required substantial local labor and business resources and also the support of good transport and communication infrastructure,which brings to mind the venerable institutions we had. At that time, Malayan Railways ran efficiently and profitably but not anymore. Telecoms, Central Electricity Board, PWD, Postal Services, Waterworks Department. were managed by many Pendatangs and all were able to render reliable services to the people but not anymore.

These days we can’t even drink water straight from the taps like we used to. So our beloved Tunku, in his wisdom saw that in order to develop the country, we need to have capable and dedicated workers regardless of where they came from and if anybody were to ask me how Malaysia came to be what it is today, I will tell them it is due to Tunku’s foresight.

In comparison, let us look at Sabah. At the point of joining the Federation in 1963, Sabah was one of the richest if not the richest State in Malaysia. Besides oil and gas, Sabah had  huge timber resources plus minerals and its rich volcanic soil will let anything you put into the ground grow. Sadly, today, Sabah is one of the poorest State and most of its resources have been depleted.

I am not competent enough to allude this situation to the influx of illegal immigrants into the State but from a layman’s perspective, I cannot totally dispel this notion but I will leave it to the qualified experts to draw their own conclusion.

Hope you won’t find the above overbearing. Lets meet soon for a meal together. Best wishes to you and Family and May God Bless you in your endeavors.


12 thoughts on “We are Malaysians, not Pendatangs, says my Friend, John Toh

  1. Yada Yada Yada Pendatang built the country and UMNO farked it up. So wat’s new.
    What’s new is that you should now speak up.We have leaders like Tun Musa Hitam, Tun Abdullah Badawi, Tengku Razaleigh and others who dare not criticise Mahathir.They all maintain elegant silence (to quote Musa Hitam).–Din Merican

  2. Tunku was an aristocrat as well as a politician fortunate enough to have had the overwhelming support and undivided dedication rendered by the non-malays be it , in the education field(think! Were there anyone Malay dude who could’ve done the honours of tutoring the english language or perhaps maths at the time?) , Added by a highly efficient civil service with a huge portion of ‘pendatangs’ that not only went about professing but wholeheartedly believed in serving ‘king and country’ and other predominant non-bumi spearheaded sectors of importance of the time His days at the helm and his successes immensely if not totaly were the attributes of these raw truths… I agree , ol’ man Dir blew it all…..

  3. Din

    The fact is we are all pendatangs, even Melayu people, except some Melayu refused to acknowledge this.

    I was born to a pendatang but has since left that god-forsaken place called Malaysia to be a pendatang elsewhere where people do not see me as a pendatang but a valuable member of the society.

    I can see where Brian is coming from and he is right! Malaysia is a hopeless country, destined to be doomed. It will descend pretty soon into a stone-aged country. In the not too distant future, Malaysian men, led by Khairy Jamaluddin and Hishamuddin Hussein will flock to Indonesia to be construction and plantation workers. They may even enter Indonesia illegally. Malaysian women will go to Singapore and Philippines to work as domestic helpers. The retarded ones like Ibrahim Ali and Mahathir Mohamad will walk around town bare-chested, in loin cloth wearing a crown of vines, challenging any shadow to a fist-fight.

    Leave while you still can. Malaysia is hopeless.

  4. Malaysia has degenerated as a result of corrupt leaders like Tun Dr. Mahathir.

    May I list a few examples as follows?

    1.Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn were clear on the Secularity of the Malaysian Constitution but their successors today seem UNCLEAR since Dr. Mahathir declared Malaysia is an Islamic country …..

    2. Malaysia was richer than South Korea and Taiwan, among Asian tigers, but now we are lagging behind them.

    3. Dr. Mahathir’s Look East policy at Japan was a poor vision 2020 for Malaysia. Why Japan? Japan is an abnormal country as it is still under US’s military occupation to day!

    4 If Dr. Mahathir’s East East were at Chinese, Malaysia should be better off in this Asian Century led by China’s peaceful rise ……

  5. I grew up in Seremban near Rasah area and I know of a place full of Indians and I have lots of schoolmates from there, and we play football everyday together etc and I was always having free lunches on aluminium trays (not banana leaf) after school at their homes. There were only three professions here. My buddies’ fathers were either one of these three: NEB (which is now TNB), hospital assistants or HAs or work at the Malayan Railways… so what was wrong with being Pendatang? They contributed to nation building as well….

  6. My family knew Tunku, and the matter is really simple from his own words – INDEPENDENCE WAS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THE OTHER RACES. AND he pointed out later – 1m of 5 million foreigners in a developing country just starting out back then – it would have been impossible to govern..

    The whole thing is a MYTH..Just as the issue of “special rights”, “social contract” and whether the nation is secular or not..Read the Malay Delimma – real academic still calls it a piece of fiction. Its what the ultra-Malays (in reality ultra-pseudo-Malays) do – they lie, they cheat, they break the law.

    Mahathir and his kind are a menace – like Marcos, Suharto. Mubarak, Mugabe, etc. All of them achieved some success, Mahathir is just luckier because WE ARE LUCKIER.. You keep following these people, you end up worst than where you start..
    bigjoe99, in stead of moving towards an open and inclusive society, we have become a closed one with extractive institutions, making us a society of economic rent collectors and bigots. Venice, for example, went from an economic power to a museum because of failed institutions. I recommend to you Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Power. Read it if you have the time.–Din Merican

  7. Can I ask some Malay friends in this blog… what do you guys feel if several GLCs are helmed by non-Bumiputras… we have one now ie Securities Commission under a Sikh… can u guys accept these non-Bumis if they are appointed on merits?

  8. Didn’t know SC is a GLC. Answer, why not if that person is well qualified and will enhance the performance of the GLC. There are many other bodies helmed by non Malays. e.g. MATRADE is headed by a Chinese lady and doing very well in trade promotion. She is more Malay than many of her Malay officers.
    Becky Fatima Sta Maria heads MITI and she is very effective. Open up the Civil Service so that more can serve the country.–Din Merican

  9. Open up the service? Can.. But the Chinapek still want the top posts lah. No point slogging against the grain/current – Impatient capitalist roaders. Furthermore, they’re damn scared to attend the PTD-BTN courses. Brain-dead after a coupla psychological whackings.
    Oh btw, Datuk Dr Becky is a Bumiputra Christian by definition and MITI is kept fairly straight and narrow by women power. Kak Pidah’s acolytes protecting Tok Pa’s vulnerabilities..
    The queer is in the Tourism Board, trying to protect Ms Y.Y.Ng from herself. So far, unsuccessful. Haha..

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