Wake Up Call for Malay Muslim Men and Ulamas

April 5, 2016

Wake Up Call for Malay Muslim Men and Ulamas

by Mariam Mokhtar


Why? The Malays who made Malaysia proud around the world are successful, intelligent and articulate women. The Malay men, whose faces have been splashed over foreign newspapers, have proven to be an embarrassment to the nation.

Malay women remember their fathers’ advice about gaining an education, to liberate themselves from the shackles of Malay parochial attitudes and bondage.

If Malay men are a disappointing failure, then it is time that Malay women took the initiative and metaphorically whipped their men into good behaviour. The nation is suffering because of the actions of a few Malay men, and the apathy of the rest of the Malay community.

Astrophysicist Dr. Mazlan Othman

The list of infamous Malay men is headed by someone who is unashamed about name dropping and receiving foreign ‘donations’. In New Zealand, a junior military man, on his first overseas posting, faces a charge for sexual assault and for defecating in public. In Australia, a convicted attention-seeking criminal revels in teasing the nation about the murderer of the Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaarriibuu.

The achievements of the Malay women are a joy to read. A PhD physicist at the University of Glasgow, 28-year-old Hafizah Noor Isa’s research, made significant contributions in physics. Her team may qualify for a Nobel Prize.

Gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, 21, won six medals, including two gold, at the South-East Asia Games at Singapore. Her withering remark that “empty tin cans make the most noise” to the religious bigots who attacked her for wearing a leotard, won her even more praise.

It must have infuriated the Perak mufti, Harussani Zakaria, who is remembered for his statement about wives refusing to have sex with their husbands when on the top of a camel.

Farah Ann is as nimble with her limbs as with her tongue.Pahang born, 18-year-old Hajar Nur Asyiqin Abdul Zubir, was awarded a Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) scholarship to read Chemistry at The University of Oxford. The nation heaped praises on her, but the religious bigots tried to undermine her confidence, and attacked her for not wearing a tudung.

If tudung-wearing is a sign of chastity, why is there a high percentage of tudung-wearers who are unwed, teenage mothers? Using emotional blackmail on Facebook, one man warned Hajar Nur that her father would have to bear her sins, because she did not wear a tudung.

Why have the bigots not told Najib Abdul Razak’s spouse that she should cover her hair?

In 2014, the Chevalier De La Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest award, was conferred upon Zainah Anwar, the co-founder of Sisters in Islam (SIS), in recognition of her services in defending the rights of women. The French Ambassador said, “By helping Muslim women, Zainah in turn has helped all women around the world.”

Despite the recognition, the conservative Muslims and PAS do not appreciate the good work done by SIS.

Malay men feel threatened by successful and vocal Malay women. G25’s Noor Farida Ariffin, a former lawyer and ambassador, received a rape threat for her remarks about the moral police and invasion of privacy. Aisyah Tajuddin, a journalist with independent radio station BFM, who mocked hudud law, received death and rape threats. The men’s best defence is violence and sexual assaults, instead of intelligent discourse.

Entitled to more rights than others?

There is an arrogance about many Malay men that will never endear them to the public. Did the Ketuanan Melayu agenda train him to be aggressive, by misleading him that he is entitled to more rights than others?

The Malay man will never admit any wrongdoing. He thinks that to say sorry is sign of weakness and an admission of defeat.

So, how does one explain his insecurity and low self-confidence? In the Malay community, some families ‘value’ their sons more than their daughters. Sons are spoilt. Sons do not have to help around the house.

When they grow older, their girlfriends and later, their wives, take over from their mother, and spoil them rotten. When the men venture into the big bad world, the New Economic Policy (NEP) is their metaphorical mother, giving them what they desire, without any effort.

When confronted with a ‘strong’ woman, Malay men are shocked. How dare she tell him what to do? How dare she have an opinion? How dare she not behave like a timid mouse and pay him the homage that is his due?

Perak’s Harussani Zakaria–The Fatwa Sultan

The Malay man’s thinking is steeped along traditional race, religious and cultural lines. This is his Achilles heel. Malay women have always had to work twice as hard to be recognised, both within and outside the home. Despite this, they still fail to get the respect they deserve.

A makcik once said about her household, “If you want something done, ask a woman to do it”.The Malays need a mental renaissance before the community and nation can embrace change.

17 thoughts on “Wake Up Call for Malay Muslim Men and Ulamas

  1. Mariam has left one woman out of her list. Herself. She is one strong, courageous and articulate woman. And easily puts to shame those UMNO ministers who talk and write absolute rubbish. She is a real warrior.

  2. Only a famous Malay lady can write what has been written. It will need a strong and principled Malay man to support the expressed views and comments.
    It is doubtful if any Non-Malay will want to go public with his support of the expressed views though in private many support and welcome her views.
    She is in a class of her own and there are only a few
    others who are in her class. There are many other women lady leaders who can and should be daring enough to make public their views to suppory but unfortunately most may not be brave enough to
    go against the men-led institutioms and chose to protct their high positions instead of getting involved without realising that their silence will not bring any improvement of conditions of their own gender.

  3. No, No… it is not a Malay men vs Malay women issue… It is about a tiny number of cavemen who have come out of their dwellings and allowed the centre stage…

    So the drift in the writer’s piece is wrong…

  4. My observation tells me that educated Malay men are generally courteous and respectful of women. The worse kind are some of the ulamas and their types – shell bound in literal theology of their own interpretation and unexposed to outside world and unaware of the rapid changes that are occurring all around. The nexus between some shameful boot-polishing ulamas and the corrupt power holders that they are associated with, is well known. What to do with them – the polisher and the one who gets polished – castrate both of them.

  5. Isa Mantegi is right. It is unfair to paint all Malaysian Malay men with one gigantic stroke of the brush. Insecure men and misogynistic tendencies are found in all races, irrespective of religious leanings.

    All those people who publicly denigrate Malay women’s achievements appear to be either religious bigots, half-educated buffoons or overpaid politicians all of whom have to make some noise and hopefully stay relevant or face obscurity.

    And surely some of these Malay female high achievers have confident, secure Malay Muslim husbands who must also be equally well educated to be compatible in marriage?

    I suppose Mariam’s perception could have come about due to the fact that Malay male achievements, of which there were many, are foregone and taken for granted and the Malay females’ achievements, being recent and perhaps unexpected by the conservative Malay community plus the over-publicized denigration only serve as reinforcements.

    In time, and as the number of these Malay female high achievers increase in numbers, as they surely will, it becomes a non-issue.

    And let’s not forget that New Zealand, (a country forever linked to a case of Malay voodoo public defecation), was the first self-governing country to grant all women the right to vote in 1893. Yes, a mere 123 years ago.

    Perhaps Mariam should use a smaller brush?

  6. “Malay men feel threatened by successful and vocal Malay women. G25’s Noor Farida Ariffin, a former lawyer and ambassador, received a rape threat for her remarks about the moral police and invasion of privacy. Aisyah Tajuddin, a journalist with independent radio station BFM, who mocked hudud law, received death and rape threats. The men’s best defence is violence and sexual assaults, instead of intelligent discourse, ” Mariam Mokhtar.

    Ms Mokhtar,
    Violent force cannot be ridiculed with words into extinction. History told us men uses muscles to shape most part of the historical world order; empowered women phenomenon in the modern world is a new development born only less than 200 year ago. Even now, had Malaysia as a nation been invaded, we still need men’s muscles to protect women. All freedom of speech as exercised by G25 will be brought into screeching halt when some men threaten rape and death and go execute the threats.

    The only way G25 and Aisyah Tajuddin can still exercise free speech and reasoning is for other men to serve as security outfit. G25 needs hired force, not mere words, to protect itself. There is no other viable way.

  7. Truth is fundamental to reform of Muslim country is the education and liberation of women. Its one of biggest fear of Islamic religo-bureaucracy (religocrats?). Other than freedom of religion, freedom of speech, its their next biggest fear.

  8. The cowgate story comes to mind. Behind every successful (umno-malay) man is a strong, wilful, rolling-up-the-sleeves type of conwoman who is willing to moo-ve any mountain and scratch any bottom to ensure her man gets ahead of the herd at the feedlot.

  9. I don’t think that Mariam is painting with a wide brush. She qualifies her statement right here – “The nation is suffering because of the actions of a few Malay men, and the apathy of the rest of the Malay community.”

    Folks should stop being politically correct and making excuses for a gender who profits on religious and racial superiority embedded in their holy book and our Constitution .

    I think the piece would be more precise if it included the elaboration of how Malay women enable their men and bring down their own gender. Perhaps a topic for another piece ?

  10. The fact that women continue to support and vote the men including those whose views may be detrimental to their own status and interest may give the perception that majority may not have the self confidence or courage to reject those people or that they may be mentally subservient to the men in general and the leaders in particular.
    Women should realize that with their 50%+ voting power they can take over control of the Government and its agencies but this will need for them to go against their menfolk which they may have been indoctrinated by the various men led leaderships as against the ‘natural scheme of things as ordained by their Almighty’ and anyone who goes against this scheme of things they may lose any opportunity to go to heaven later even though their current life may be nothing short of hell.

  11. Education is what is left in you. after you have forgotten what you haver learnt in your home, school, and university. My late mother told me to educate my daughters first and then the boys. But my neighbor did the former nad forgot to educate the boy. Now that boy has taken full control of an educated women and keeps her on a very short leash. So the moral of the story do not forget to also educate your boys

  12. This is a very interesting tale on holocaust survivor who found help in unlikely places. As Malaysia is fast becoming a Nazi state. Perhaps, it’s time to read as it may become reality in Malaysia.


    It’s absolutely strange that these so called Malaysian elites hated jews so much. So much so that I wouldn’t blink my eye over Palestinians issue.

    Notice in that tale, no matter how much that Nazi’s officer loved her and yet he couldn’t get over his prejudice towards anything Jews. Similar with some indoctrinated melayus…….

    Their final outcome………

    SEPARATION……..Just like Malaysia

  13. Conrad is right to ask for another topic to discuss if the role of the Malay women is partly to blame.

    Why are they not rebelling against wearing the tudung if our learned Muslim contributor Kassim Ahmad, has argued that the Malay male clergy have got it all wrong by coercing the females to wear them.

    Is it just apathy?

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