Pascal’s Tribute to Hussain Najadi

July 31, 2013

Young Hussain with TunkuYoung Hussain Najadi with the Tunku

My friend, Hussain Najadi was laid to rest at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery yesterday. May he find eternal peace. Al-Fatihah. I received this e-mail from his son, Pascal who is in Moscow and could not come to his father’s funeral. He has asked me to post his tribute to his father and my friend, Hussain.

Well, Pascal, Hussain’s friends and associates and I are saddened by his untimely demise under tragic circumstances. He was in good health and, as usual, he was optimistic and hopeful for Malaysia when I last talked to him on July 18, 2013 at the well organised ALSI/CPSS ASEAN Leadership Forum. I look forward to see you, Pascal, when you are next in Kuala Lumpur. It is my honour to post your tribute to your dad on my blog. I am also sharing your e-mail to me with my readers, and friends and associates of the late Hussain. —Din Merican

Moscow, July 30, 2013

Dear Din,

This is Pascal Najadi, the only child of Hussain and my mother Heidi, writing to you from Moscow where I feel very safe now. I read your lines and have tears in my eyes. I wish to meet you soon. Please help me to bring those last words read out today on my behalf in Kuala Lumpur from me here in Moscow at the burial of my father and your good friend Hussain.

Please help me and my dad to make sure all those lines I chose for him today get read as widely and high possible, printed in the Malaysian Press. It’s all about peace and kindness.The Great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy spot on!

It’s such a shock. I do not know yet if all is upside down or lateral….too numb I am. I want Malaysian Agencies to track and bring them to Justice the whole world will watch this process now. We love Malaysia, a great nation and great people of peace;, those killers must be aliens.

Warm regards,


PS: It will be more than a honour to give you  father’s book which I may dedicate to you.

Pascal Najadi’s Tribute to His Father, Hussain Najadi

At the burial ceremony of Mr Hussain Najadi – the final words of his son Pascal Najadi …read on his behalf by Shahrum Shah :

Pascal NajadiOn this blackest day of my life I have the painful duty and honor to convey my greatest sorrow and horror that I – and all of his friends –  some of whom are present here today – are now all forced to accept that my father, Hussain Najadi is no longer with us anymore.

He has been unexpectedly taken away from all of us by cowardly killers in this country that he loved and held dear so much and which he called home.

He was a man with a great heart bigger than life itself. He was my best friend and he was a great friend to all those people who were lucky enough to have had their paths in life cross with his.  

Rest in peace my beloved father in the paradise  that you now find yourself in and let all our memories of you linger forever in our hearts. Hussain Najadi – you will forever be terribly missed.

With this I would like to express my father’s indescribable kindness to all the people that he encountered in his remarkable life. It is about peace and love and how Hussain looked upon life and his journey through it with the people that he met. In the words of Leo Tolstoy which best exemplifies Hussain’s philosophy in life :

“Every man comes into the world with a consciousness of his dependence on a mysterious, all-powerful Source which has given him life, and a consciousness of his equality with all men, the equality of all men with one another, a desire to love and be loved, and a consciousness of the need of striving to perfection”–Leo Tolstoy

Thank you all for your being here today and giving your blessing and support to my family and me in this most testing moment of our lives.

God bless you dearest father and friend, and thank you all again.

Pascal Najadi

Clash between Morality and Liberty in Malaysia

July 30, 2013

Clash between Morality and Liberty in Malaysia

by Aerie Rahman

libertyThe train of modernisation is accelerating at breakneck speed, without an end point. Concomitants to modernisation such as urbanisation, individualisation, liberalisation and secularisation transform the world as we know it. A consequence to these “-isations” is a rupture to much cherished traditional social arrangements.

Every society is touched by modernisation. Resistance is a natural reaction. But what makes a society genuinely progressive is not modernisation per se. It’s how they choose to deal with the side effects of modernisation is what makes the progress sustainable.

Of late, the clash between morality and liberty in Malaysia has intensified. Morality has always reigned supreme ever since the rapid Islamisation of Malaysia. However, the bastion of morality is facing a sustained assault by the forces of liberty.

Female Malay Muslims are forbidden to enter beauty pageants while their Muslim Bannedcounterparts in Indonesia are allowed to do so. The Shiite sect is proscribed. The tentacles of moral policing are far reaching.

Khalwat raids are pervasive, victimising Malay Muslims. Malay Muslims are forbidden to consume alcohol. Malay Muslims are punished if they gamble. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is compulsory for Malay Muslims.

The religious authorities mete out punitive measures – with state backing – to victimless crimes. Hardly any third party is directly harmed as a result of these so called “immoral activities” – yet they are punished for their different standards of morality. These punishments would surprise anyone from any liberal democracy, infused with enlightenment values.

The screws of repression are being tightened by the self-appointed custodians of morality.Why do these conflicts happen? Why do religious moralisers seek to impose their will upon another human being? Shouldn’t people deserve to do whatever they want as long as they don’t harm others?

The evolution of morality

The cultural and moral strains that Malay Muslims are facing do not happen without a cause. Structural forces determine how we behave. Our circumstances and social situations are major influences that condition our behaviour. We act and react in response to the surroundings and environment we are in. Cultures around the world are different because they encounter different social problems and solve them in numerous ways.

The rapid modernisation that Malaysia is facing is changing the moral and social landscape that we are in. As Karl Marx pointed out, the base (economy) determines the superstructure (laws, behaviour, religion etc). Economic development in Malaysia empowers the individual. Malay Muslims interact and are able to relate with ideas that celebrate liberty, egalitarianism, rationality, relativism, utilitarianism and the right to be left alone.

These ideas might originate from the West, but it doesn’t mean that they are exclusively applicable to the West.  An idea’s origins will have universal application if it passes the litmus test of rationality. After all, aren’t the origins of Islamic values, which are deemed universal, from the deserts of the Middle East?

Most Malay Muslims go through a partial transvaluation of values. For most, Islam is Ridhuan Teestill their religion. But they go through re-interpretations and process of rationalisations of Islam, accepting some beliefs but suspending beliefs in some. Call it cognitive dissonance, if you want.

We are all aware of that Malay Muslim friend who “drinks and parties but would never consume pork while prays 5 times a day.” Or the Malay Muslim who will commit all sins in the present but will repent after marriage or hajj, sometime in the future.

In short, the changing social milieu is changing the habits and behaviour of Malay Muslims – especially among the urban, Western educated, English speaking and bourgeois.

For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction

Malay Muslims who are embedded in traditional beliefs react differently to the changing social landscape. They feel that the traditional social arrangements are collapsing in front of them. Public morality is being upended by liberty. Thus they appoint themselves as sanctimonious moral guardians – in charge of preserving the sanctity of morality.

Pierre Bourdieu'sThe Outline of Theory of PracticeIn Pierre Bourdieu’s fascinating The Outline of Theory of Practice, he represents practice theory in a cycle of social reproduction. The structure (the world as it is) fosters habitus (durable dispositions, our unconscious embodied habits). Habitus determines practice (how we reproduce the structure). The practice recreates the existing structure we live in, the world as we know it. And the cycle continues.

By this logic, traditional social arrangements would exist in perpetuity. But external elements which intervene (in this case modernisation) restructure the structure.

Traditional Malay Muslims desire the ideal Malay Muslim society, a homogenous blob where everyone acts similarly. They dream of a Malaysia where every Malay Muslim conforms to the orthodoxy – denying the heterogeneity of individuals. Those who deviate from the right path are brandished “sesat”, “murtad”, “hina Islam”, “liberal tegar” and severely punished for their moral infractions.

Punishments are used to ensure Malay Muslims toe the line. The punishment acts as a mechanism to reproduce the structure – the world that these moralisers believe that we all should live in. The sanction of the law conferred to the moralisers act as a conduit not only in trying to reproduce the structure. It is also a seal of moral superiority – it is no secret that religious officers pour scorn and ridicule to moral offenders.

Oscillating and vacillating

The political class, be it the opposition or the government appears to be facing aNajib and Anwar moral dilemma. On one hand, they need to pander to the rural, more conservative segment of Islam. On the other hand they need to appear progressive and not too medieval in their thinking to urban Malay Muslims. A lot of vacillating is done but it’s not so much walking a tightrope as it seems.

The favourite ploy of the political elite is to brandish themselves as moderates. In the international community, Malaysia is self-portrayed as a moderate Muslim country. But nothing could be further from the truth.

An interesting event that I would like to highlight is the Kartika Dewi Shukarno saga, where a Muslim woman was caught in flagrante delicto consuming alcohol. She was sentenced to whipping, though some claimed that Sharia whipping is less harsh than conventional whipping. This was accepted with enthusiastic support from conservative Malay Muslims. However, conscientious members of society voiced their staunch opposition to this. Two forms of discourse clashed. The international community paid attention.

Reputation is everything in communal Malaysia. The muka (face) is of utmost importance. Kartika’s sentence was commuted to community service. Malaysia’s moderate reputation was saved. This case serves to show the strains between the two main discourses in Malaysia. But what if another fiasco erupts again?  A precedent is already set when Kartika’s sentence was pardoned. Would it be a policy of consistent pardons?

The political elite tend to favour the conservative segments of Malaysia. They are after all the majority. The international community would never be there to condemn Malaysia’s harsh treatment of moral offenders. They were never there during the numerous Ops Valentine and khalwat raids which destroyed the lives of many a “moral offender”.

No politician is willing to voice out their concerns against moral policing. The feeble attempts materialises in requesting for “proper procedures” and to treat offenders better. For reptilian politicians, what is popular is more important than doing what is right.

Quo vadis, Negaraku?

Resistance to modernisation is inherent in any society. Ask any Samurai (if any still exists). The Tokugawa Shogunate imposed the sakoku – a policy of isolating Japan from the rest of the world to resist modernisation. Public morality laws existed in the Western world, once upon a time. In fact, alternative sexual groups are still being stigmatised in certain parts of the West.

compassionUncertainty is the root of fear. It is easier to feel secure with the social arrangements that we know of. But resistance of the inevitable is futile. People will change, unless we revert to atavism (like Pol Pot’s Cambodia or North Korea). Modernisation will continue, untrammelled.

Have we considered the costs of persecuting moral offenders? The costs are insurmountable. How many lives are shattered because of jail sentences due to khalwat convictions? How many will continue to live in fear when committing acts which are laughed off in any liberal democracy but given the severest of punishment in Malaysia?

It’s high time we resolve these internal contradictions to pave a way for a compassionate, tolerant and progressive society. – July 30, 2013.


The Chinese know their place in Malaysia

July 30, 2013<

Ice Cream Seller responds to Dr.Mahathir: The Chinese know their place

MahathirThe Ultra Man

Tun Dr Mahathir’s latest tirade about the Chinese wanting political power assumes we are mostly naive and ill-educated to see otherwise. What a load of codswallop from someone who seems to be in a time warp of his own. There is an Afghan proverb that says that what you see in yourself is what you see in the world.

1) Chinese do not appreciate their gains upon independence?

What gains is he talking about? A white master was replaced by a brown one. In the process, we lost an excellent education system, a well-respected judiciary and our moral fibre, and then were given an economic system so convoluted that only the bacteria of corruption thrives. To say that DAP argued these issues on behalf of the Chinese gives the DAP unnecessary credit.

2) Under the British, the Chinese were not allowed to go beyond becoming petty traders and shopkeepers?

Let us not forget that we are talking about the 1950s and earlier. What shopping malls were there then? Then, many Chinese were still poor. Still, the people had reliable water supply, electricity that was cheap (even without petroleum income), there was no need to go to private schools and universities to get a better education than what the government provided, no need for private hospitals (we had excellent doctors, nurses and administrators) and the police force was multi-racial.

Being a shopkeeper gave one a dignified existence and they served all races – even giving credit to customers. They were in no position to take on the British firms then but have demonstrated that today, despite the handcuffs of the NEP, they can take the world stage.

3) Government procurement had to go through crown agents.

What’s the beef? The crown agents existed then and today it is no different except that we have our own crown (UMNOputra, Bumiputra or whatever putra) agents. In fact it is our own putra agents that have benefited by leaps & bounds to scales never imagined in the exercise of rent seeking.

If the British crown agents were indeed still around, our submarines would be able to function properly, there will be less Mongolians dead, our indelible inks would not be edible instead, our public transport would be better and there would be no PROTON.

4) British banks with government accounts, Chinese banks (OCBC, Ban Hin Lee) not doing much business with the government.

Just replace the British banks with Maybank, CIMB, Affin Bank, RHB Bank and a host of others. See the same picture (maybe in different colours now?). On top of it, Ban Hin Lee Bank does not exist today – no thanks to post-independence policies. And the British banks were PLCs, not GLCs where bailouts are an easy option.

5) Replacement of British firms by Chinese firms. This line of argument is part of the problem. Don’t you see it as Malaysian firms as opposed to (Malaysian) Chinese firms?  In any case, it’s not as if the Chinese got government loans or grants to buy over the British ones. Some took loans to buy over the businesses – others pooled their resources. In any case, I am sure the British firms would only exit if they knew that, among other considerations, the new owners would be able to sustain or grow the firms.

6) Independence has clearly benefited the Chinese much.

Looking at the Chinese in Indonesia who had their backs to the wall (until unfettered by the half-blind Gus Dur but with better than 2020 vision), the Chinese in Thailand where there was no independence from any colonial master to speak of, this argument holds as much water as a Malabari fishing net.

How does one explain the success of the Chinese diaspora in Canada, Australia, the US, the Philippines, Burma and even in Mauritius? Because of Malaysian independence?

Dr M, for one, was probably the greatest beneficiary of our independence by having 22 years to steer the ship. On either side of the 22 years, he was and is pulling the strings to some extent or other as an adroit puppeteer. But alas, on his watch, the ship was steered on a journey beyond our shores and Kerala only to benefit a select group.

7) Chinese success under the BN “kongsi” government.

Yes, the Chinese became billionaires and started getting involved in businesses globally. I would argue that it was despite the shackles and hurdles that were imposed on them. Look at the Singapore companies operating globally – is it because of an UMNO style “kongsi” in Singapore? I dare say that had it not been for the “mal-implementation” of the NEP, our Malaysian companies (Chinese owned or not) would be streets ahead of Singapore. Instead, our brains just walked and left to help make Singapore what it is.

8) Chinese not well represented in government administration because they do not like salaried jobs or have a distinct dislike for uniformed services.

Who then runs the government in China and Taiwan – Africans? As a boy, when I went to a government department, Chinese were well represented. In schools, they probably made up half the number of teachers (and they did not do tuition on a private basis big time either). The Army and Police had visibly a good number of them. So many nurses in the government hospitals were Chinese – and pretty good looking too!

Today, the Chinese are simply absent because of the lack of promotion prospects, the impression given that they are not trusted/welcome, and also the kind of work culture that permeates such establishments.

9) Chinese colleges and universities.

Restore the quality of education we had up to the 1960’s and you will see the demand for Chinese schools diminish. They send their children to Chinese schools simply because the ordinary schools have become sterile, ineffective, with poor quality teachers, fear of Islam forced upon their children in subtle and not so subtle ways and a host of other reasons you are actually familiar with. Besides, in Chinese schools, the canteens never close – so no need to eat in the shower rooms.

10) DAP/MCA.

It is not correct to say that the Chinese aspire for political power via DAP. The MCAIce Cream Man simply lost support because the Chinese were fed up of a corrupt government that the MCA helped keep in power. If the Chinese really were after political power, they would have have done so along the lines of your paternal ancestors – became Muslims and married locals and morphed into Malays. They would then control Umno -instead of the Indians. And Ridhuan Tee would not have the platform he now struts on.

My arguments above are not motivated because I am of Chinese ancestry. I am not.  My extended family and close friends include Chinese, Malay, and others. In fact, the biggest group of my extended family have roots as deep in the same district as your paternal ancestors. Fortunately, that is where the similarity ends.

Archbishop Marino stresses Need for Compassion

July 30, 2013

Archbishop Marino stresses Need for Compassion

by Terence Netto@

Papal nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino, in his first public remarks following the recent controversy ignited by comments he made on the ‘Allah’ issue, said the “very essence of our humanity is defined by the heart that cares and has compassion.”

Archbishop Joseph MarinoSpeaking to an overflow crowd at the annual Feast of St Anne celebrations at Bukit Mertajam, in Penang, last Saturday, Marino said that “so important is our common work for the good of others, which in itself is a true inter-religious dialogue of action,” that it becomes a means by which Christianity expresses its search for the divine.

The Vatican Ambassador had maintained a discreet silence since the ignition of controversy over remarks he made in an interview published earlier this month when he described as “logical” the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s arguments for the use of the word ‘Allah’ in faith education and in the rituals of prayer and worship.

His comments drew the ire of Muslim NGOs, Perkasa and Jati, which protested the remarks as interference in Malaysia’s domestic affairs and called for a retraction and an apology before venting more anathema by urging the nuncio’s expulsion and the embassy’s closure.

Marino responded by expressing regret that his remarks had caused offence but left things at that.

No mention of Allah row

He did not refer, not even obliquely, to the controversy during his homily at the annual week-long veneration of St Anne which culminated on Saturday with a service at which the nuncio presided with Penang Bishop Sebastian Francis in attendance.

Addressing members of other faiths also present in the congregation that packed the church and spilled over into its ample grounds, Marino said:

“The Catholic Church without hesitation rejects nothing that is true and holy in other expressions of faith, and even more she regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.”

The Passing of Hussain Najadi

July 30, 2013

MY COMMENT: It is with great sadness I learned of the passing of Hussain Najadi who I knew since the 1970s when he was the Founder-Managing Director of Arab-Malaysian Bank. After the sale of Arab-Malaysian Bank, Hussain returned to Bahrain, the country of his birth and spent 15 years in a gaol. He has written his memoirs entitled The Sea and The Hills: The Life of Hussain Najadi. It is an autobiography on Oil, Politics, and Justice. In it he reflected on his life and the events that led to his incarceration in a bahraini prison for 15 years.

Najadi and his memoirsThe late Barry Wain, who is the author of The Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir in Turbulent Times, wrote:

“…Hussain Najadi’s philosophy, which he called ‘ the golden triangle’, was to harness Western technology, management, know-how, and machinery with Asian natural resources and labour and Arab capital. Arab-Malaysian became the first to pump petrodollars into East Asia,channelling all its non-Malaysian currency funding through its branch in Bahrain. Most of the bank’s  foreign business was done in member countries of the fledging Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with Mr. Najadi declaring himself ‘ a great believer in regionalism’.

If anyone expected Hussain Najadi to be apologetic about Ara-Malaysian’s early success and defensive about the swirling gossip, some of it personal, they did  understand him and his style. Exuding the supreme confidence that irritated his critics, he announced his intention to become the leader of wholesale and corporate banking in Malaysia in five years, a target he reached in two years (of the bank’s founding). He then lifted his sights to be the biggest with five years, a goal he achieved this time with fours year to spare…”, Introduction to The Sea and The Hills

“This book”, Hussain wrote,” is an affirmation of belief in life’s purpose, of a spirit of adventure, and of unbridled optimism. The dramatic arc of my story rises in success, surely, but cannot be said to crash in tragedy; the setbacks I have faced have fed my further growth as wave feeds energy to wave…The holistic moral of any man’s life story–and I have no doubt each man has own lesson to learn–is best appreciated when seen from a distance, with benefit  of time and perspective. Only then is the landscape laid out in its full beauty: the hills and valleys, the glittering sea on the horizon..” Hussain Najadi’s spirit of adventure, vision and entrepreneurship, and faith in humanity deserve our admiration, most certainly mine.

I saw Hussain at the ASEAN Leadership Forum, organised by ASLI/CPSS at the Sunway Hotel and Resort on July 18, 2013. I told him that I had read his memoirs with great interest. I was particularly pleased that he was able to explain his imprisonment in Bahrain. He told me that we ought to meet for lunch after Puasa so that he could give me an autographed copy of The Sea and The Hills. As fate would have it, this lunch will not happen.

He is survived by a son, Pascal Najadi, who is a very successful banker himself. To Pascal and his family, my wife Dr. Kamsiah and I extend our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Hussain Najadi under very tragic circumstances.  Al-Fatihah.

I still wonder if our streets, our homes and our communities are safe. It is no longer a matter of perception as Najib and his former Home Affairs Minister Hishamuddin Hussein seem to have us believe. I also wonder what the newly minted IGP, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is doing about fighting crime. And Idris Jala must stop spinning on this issue.–Din Merican

Hussain Najadi, Founder of Arab-Malaysian Bank killed (07-29-13)

Arab-Malaysian Bank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi was gunned down in Kuala Lumpur today, Police said. Kuala Lumpur Deputy CID Chief Khairi Ahrasa told Bernama the couple was attacked from behind by two assailants.

The attack took place in a car park near the Kuan Yin Temple on Lorong Ceylon at 2pm. Hussain was with his wife at the time. Hussain, 75, was shot twice on the torso while his wife, 49, was shot on the arm and leg. He succumbed to his injuries while his seriously injured wife has been warded.

Khairi said preliminary investigations suggested that three men aged between 35 and 40 years were waiting for Hussain outside the temple.

The former banker and financier was said to have met a friend at the temple to discuss business matters. “The suspects escaped in a taxi. The motive is yet to be established but it is believed to be related to business,” Khairi said.

A witness told the national news agency that he heard more than five shots being fired.  Hussain is an Iranian with permanent residency status.

Son expressed shock

Pascal NajadiMeanwhile, his son Pascal Najadi has expressed shock over the murder of his father.”I was shocked upon hearing about the killing in Kuala Lumpur, which was carried out in broad daylight,” he told Bernama in a telephone interview from Europe.

Pascal, who holds dual Swiss and British citizenship, urged the Malaysian authorities to do their utmost to apprehend the culprits involved in the killing of his father and bring them to justice.

Pascal, 45, who is also a banker, said the irony was that his father was murdered in Malaysia, a country for which he had so much affection, having called it home for more than four decades. He said he came to know about the killing, a few hours after it took place and that he was also informed by the MalaysianPolice.

Hussain founded Arab Malaysian Banking Group in 1975 before it changed hands in 1982, to what is known as Arab Malaysian Bank or Ambank.

Shooting in Penang

In Nibong Tebal tonight, a man was shot on his right thigh by unknown assailants while driving in a car with his friend along Jalan Mengkuang, near Bukit Mertajam.

According to Bernama, Penang CID chief SAC Mazlan Kesah said  the victim, aged 30, was with his friend in a car during the 8.30pm incident.

“Initial investigations revealed that the victim was from Jalan Mengkuang and the two were heading to the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE). When he stopped at a traffic light, two men on a motorcycle came close to the car and one of them fired at the victim, hitting his right thigh,” Mazlan said at the Seberang Perai Selatan police headquarters tonight.

He said the victim, who had a number of criminal records, was rushed to the Kulim Hospital for treatment while his friend was not hurt. “We are investigating the motive for the shooting,” Mazlan said.

Blame the Malays for a Nation in a Mess

July 29, 2013

Blame the Malays for a Nation in a Mess

by Mariam Mokhtar@

If some of you think that this nation is in a mess, then blame the Malays because they are the problem. Malays know that Malaysia is not the land of gold and honey any longer. In these difficult times, they have become more aware of their surroundings; but one other person has noticed this sea-change in the Malays.

MahathirHe is former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He knows that a thinking and independent Malay is detrimental to his legacy and creation- UMNO-Baru – and to the well-being of his family’s fortunes. Today’s self-aware Malay is Mahathir’s downfall.

Malays are in positions of power in government and the civil service. They dictate policies and run the wheels of government; but Malays are also the nation’s worst hypocrites. They are greedy. They are happy with short-term solutions. They do not think of the consequences. They are happy to hide behind the cloak of race and religion if it will bring them some material benefit or status. The day they lose everything is probably the day they will regain their humility, values and self-respect.

With the downturn in the economy, Malays have noticed that jobs are hard to come by, that only the chosen Malays receive government tenders, and that the cost of living is increasing. Scholarships for the poor Malay child are snapped up by children of UMNO Baru politicians and cronies, leaving only a few places for the needy.

Crime is rife and foreigners are a common sight in every community, schools and hospitals. The Malay market-trader has to compete with a foreigner, who is willing to work harder for less money. Children in the rural areas are disillusioned and difficult to motivate. Many drift to the cities looking for jobs, then find that there are no jobs, so they add to the Mat Rempit menace.

The most privileged section of the community also has the highest proportion of drug users. Why are Malays more prone to drug addiction? Are they trying to escape reality? People who volunteer in charitable organisations allege that Malays have the highest incidence of problems, ranging from domestic violence to sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual problems such as rape, incest and illegitimate children.

Corruption is killing the country, but Malays are quite happy with the RM50 or PerKasa and Harussani RM500 offered by UMNO Baru. The Muftis  issue  ridiculous fatwas and Friday sermons are politicised, but few Malays voice their objections. If this were Indonesia, the Indonesians would have walked out of the mosques, in protest.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. If Indonesian women were subjected to acts of humiliation, many Indonesian women and men would have picketed to protest and demand that stern action be taken. Malay women would rather watch the latest TV soap.

Exacting vengeance

Malays are aware that government tenders above a certain value involve bribery but will they lodge complaints? Perhaps, they are aware that nothing will be done. The people who head these anti-graft bodies are Malays.

Malays know that cheating was rife in GE13 and in the by-election in Kuala Besut on July 24. It appears that Malays were more concerned about getting in the queue for their “travel allowance”, than stopping corruption.

Aziz and WanThe hundreds of millions of ringgit should instead have been pumped into schemes to benefit the community. The scoundrels are the Election Commission (EC) chairperson and his deputy, both Malays. Men who lack principle and dignity are championed by UMNO-Baru.

UMNO-Baru seems to be promoting the Malays, whereas Pakatan Rakyat appears to be inclusive of all Malaysians, but the irony is that the only way for Malays to prosper is to vote against UMNO-Baru and ensure that Pakatan forms the next government.

Mahathir knows which buttons to push. He is good at making you react, he excels at getting your attention and is pleased when you become all worked up – his expertise is that of a master manipulator. Mahathir would have made a better psychiatrist than a general practitioner.

Those who claim that Mahathir’s policies “help” the Malays, are wrong. What he does under the pretext of helping Malays is designed to have the opposite effect. He is exacting his own vengeance on the Malays. Sadly, the Malays are too blind or stupid to notice.

When Mahathir was a child, which traumatic episode in particular made him turn against the Malays? He appears to be torn between pleasing the Malays, so that he is accepted by them, but at the same time is driven by feelings of guilt, to redeem himself for being cast as an outsider.

Was he teased in the school playground and called derogatory names pertaining to his background? Was he ashamed of being registered as an Indian at medical school in Singapore? Despite having a Malay mother, did elite Malays, royalty and the community treat Mahathir as an outsider? Did an incident deprive Mahathir of a deep emotional connection with the Malay community, which fostered a deep seated envy of the Malays?

This week, Mahathir has again tried to pit Malays against Chinese, and vice-versa; he queried whether the Chinese wanted to share, or to seize power, in Malaysia.

The non-Malay colleagues or beneficiaries of Mahathir’s largesse are silent. If they are angry with Mahathir, none would dare voice their objections publicly. Mahathir knows that patronage has its advantages, and its limits.

Poor-quality leaders

Today, we are a nation divided along racial and religious lines and all of us are to blame. From the beginning, Mahathir had a racist agenda. The Malays were mesmerised by Mahathir’s spin but then, the non-Malays are not entirely innocent.

In the WikiLeaks cables released in April 2013, it was revealed that the US Embassy the-man-behind-perkasa1expressed surprise that Mahathir had been appointed Deputy PM in 1976, but they were probably more amazed by the lack of opposition from the non-Malays despite Mahathir’s “Malay chauvinism”.

Francis T Underhill Jr, the Ambassador at the time noted that “… the small, predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) has expressed some concern over Mahathir’s past record but has not openly opposed his selection. Other Chinese parties or politicians have either not commented or have welcomed Mahathir’s appointment in a pro forma manner”.

Malaysia does not have a Malay or a Chinese dilemma. Our only dilemma is Mahathir. His latest outburst about the Chinese seizing power is merely a side-show. He wants to deflect attention from the greatest show in Malaysia, the UMNO Baru general assembly.

Behind the scenes, the Malays in UMNO-Baru are positioning themselves, like pieces on a chess board. The rakyat’s problem is that we have poor quality Malay UMNO Baru leaders, who only want to maintain their vested interests.

Malays are the problem of this country but they could also be the solution. Right now, any aspiring Malay who wants to be leader must listen to the needs of the lower-income groups and families with aspiration. He must address concerns of the rakyat like illegal immigration, corruption, education and rising cost of living and  crime.

Nothing gives Mahathir a greater sense of schadenfreude than seeing the Malays suffer, despite the Ketuanan Melayu and UMNO Baru.