Aren’t we truly Anak-Anak Malaysia? No, not according to UMNO

August 16, 2016

Aren’t we truly Anak-Anak Malaysia? No, not according to UMNO

by Lyana Khairuddin

Malay zenophobia

BY NOW, I think almost everyone is familiar with the decision by Festival Filem Malaysia (FFM) to separate the categories for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay into Bahasa Malaysia and non-Bahasa Malaysia categories. The reason given by the organisers for this move was the need to uphold Bahasa Malaysia in films, thus a film needs to have 70% of its script in the national language for it to be considered an excellent Malaysian movie.

The debacle, protests, and resignations that followed this decision then necessitated our Communications and Multimedia Minister to intervene. As of time of writing, the FFM will have an inclusive Best Picture category, but there will also be a Best Film in the National Language category (where I assume someone would have the task of finely combing through the scripts to ensure it fulfills the 70% requirement).

Confused, yet?

The online discourse that followed the FFM’s decision has made for a bigger discussion on Malaysian identity. Ironically, this discourse occurs in the Merdeka month with the recurring theme of “Sehati Sejiwa” (One Heart, One Soul).

I have lived almost 33 years as a Malaysian. Yet, the only times I have confidently stated “I am a Malaysian” without needing any further elaboration, is when I am overseas.

I do not think that I am an anomaly. The moment we pass through the autogates that scan our red passports to legally allow us back home, Malaysians seem to prefer being boxed by ethnicity and more recently, by religiosity.

We cannot have Unity with Idiots in UMNO

This year, we will celebrate our 59th year of independence and 53rd year of the formation of Malaysia. Yet, we seem to be more divided than ever.

Ironically, OlaBola, one of the two movies affected by FFM’s initial decision, is a movie that celebrates patriotic unity through sports.The other is Jagat, a tragically beautiful movie about the reality of Malaysians who slip through the cracks of our policies as the country moves towards high-income nation status.

I happily paid money to watch both movies in the cinemas and was emotionally affected by both — my personal measure of good movies.

I even watched OlaBola twice, the sucker that I am for the audacity of hope in the Malaysia of my dreams. Jagat made me lament the fate of Apoi, whether Malaysia has done enough to tackle the inequality gap. It also made me lament my privilege as a bumiputra in this country. If these two movies do not represent Malaysia, I don’t know what does.

They are Malaysians, not Malays

As we celebrate our amazing women divers, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong, who brought us our first silver medal in the Rio Olympics, I see most of us cheering for Team Malaysia without the need to segregate our athletes into Malay and non-Malay categories. Shouldn’t this spirit be extended to all the other fields, be it films, fashion, art, science, social science, and most importantly, in our everyday lives?

Isn’t it past time we truly be proud of and claim ourselves as Malaysians? While we’re at it, we must not confuse unity with hegemony. Malaysia was built on the very foundation of inclusivity, and the diversity in our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society must be seen as our strength.

“Malaysia was built on the very foundation of inclusivity, and the diversity in our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society must be seen as our strength”, says Lyana Khairuddin. Najib Razak, on the other hand, does not agree. He is a racist when it suits him to remain in power.–Din Merican

Such a clichéd call for tolerance, harmony, and unity, however, should not only be restricted at a cosmetic level. Nor should it merely be a dramatised script that we present globally and yet does not represent the reality locally. As we approach our 60th year of independence, Malaysia must begin the hard conversations on what defines our sociopolitical identity.

We must revisit discriminatory laws and even articles in our Federal Constitution that give special privileges simply on the basis of race and critically analyse current data on whether race-based policies need to be revamped, improved or discontinued altogether.

We must take the brave steps towards change for the better. After all, “Indeed, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Quran 13:11]

These hard conversations cannot occur without freedom of speech and collective discourse. We must follow up on the recommendations by the (now silent?) National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and take on our responsibilities as Malaysian citizens to shape the Malaysia we want.

The lack of political will must be confronted with voters’ aspirations towards a Malaysia that is inclusive and progressive. If the rakyat do not segregate by race, what power do our aspiring and even experienced politicians have to divide us?

Now is no longer the time to romanticise the past. Now is the time to build the Malaysia that is the great nation as aspired to by our founding fathers and mothers.

We must ask ourselves whether we aspire to the same dreams, or have we become too contented with privileges and our own personal, selfish hegemony.

We must start by calling out injustice, reducing corruption, and being accountable for our actions and words. We must prove to dissenters that instead of being confused, we are empowered when we no longer box ourselves into Malays and non-Malays, but as Malaysians. We can start, by claiming that we all are indeed Anak-Anak Malaysia.

26 thoughts on “Aren’t we truly Anak-Anak Malaysia? No, not according to UMNO

  1. Yes it’s about time. No! It is actually long overdue. As a nation we cannot allow UMNO to perpetuate it’s racist policies just so that it can remain in power. UMNO does not represent the nation. Not even the Malays, only certain Malays who want to continue enjoying their unearned and undeserving privileges.

  2. Dreams, your mindsets, do come true! It can become real when you dream, play or admire your idols.

    If you dream, think, admire idols, accompany the successful people around you, you will achieve success like Schooling. Check link:

    If you think IS or follow the ordinary people, you will not achieve much, may become a Monster at its best, like playing the Pokemon Go: The tyranny of Pokemon Go, more addictive than other games, check link

  3. Rightways, you still haven’t learnt blogging ethics, you do not go to someone else blog and direct traffic to your blog. Go get your own followers. Tired of seeing links to your blog.

  4. Quote:- “We must revisit discriminatory laws and even articles in our Federal Constitution that give special privileges simply on the basis of race and critically analyse current data on whether race-based policies need to be revamped, improved or discontinued altogether”

    Brave words indeed.

    No need to go so far lah. To change the provisions of the Federal Constitution you need 2 thirds of the MPs to vote in favor. Just do a much simpler and quicker thing. Get all political parties to amend their constitutions to say any Malaysian regardless of race or religion can join and have equal status, rights and privileges.

    So if political parties themselves can be race and religion based, and these political parties mind you are the ones who actually set the tone and direction of the country’s national life, then what can brave words do?

    As for doing away with “…special privileges simply on the basis of race” is concerned, my view is that it is way too late. The frog is too well cooked.

    If the Malays were unable to compete effectively with the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese, in 1969, then they, the Malays, are even less able now. Perhaps when the Chinese population has dropped to say 3%, then there is no more a need for the NEP, (or any other such policy in disguise), because then there is no one to compete with.

    But by then, irony of ironies, it would be the real Chinese from China whom the Malays will have to compete with.

    Good Luck to both.

  5. Who wants to go to Rightways blog, he’s going the wrong ways…..always…..?

    He’s psyco-inclined in his putrid & grandiosed mind to make China the world number one, weird as it may turn to zero, with that 1.4 billion population …..

  6. Truth is, it’s not just UMNO, it’s also PAS and Versatile and even PKR is not so sure. This is the Ketuanan plan all along. They think it’s OK because they did not get to discriminate historically, economically unable to. Now they can, they like racist before them, do not think it’s all that wrong.

  7. // If the Malays were unable to compete effectively with the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese, in 1969, then they, the Malays, are even less able now.

    Wayne, I have a feeling the non-Malays in Malaysia are already not very competitive as compared to many other East Asian nations.

    // the real Chinese from China whom the Malays will have to compete with.

    Many Singaporeans and Hong Kong Chinese have been already been experiencing that for awhile now.

    We should be able to see more mainlanders together with 1PM’s 1MDB gadai effort in Malaysia very soon. In any case, our Johor resorts are meant to be build for mainlander Chinese. We are actually praying that they will come.

    No longer just mainlander prostitutes or mainlander tourists.

  8. Let Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech be the inspiration for us to be together as a nation again. We have moved far from the vision of our forefathers but still it is not too late to if we can mend our wayward ways.

  9. Bt w Wrongways, someone here rightly says ( Conrad I think ) , it is highly Unethical to ‘ steal ‘ clients from one blog to divert them to your blog….I agree , its silly …..shame on you !

    I have not met Rightways, but judge him by his actions and his views. Yes, he deserves to be called Mr. Wrongways. To each his own just like Najib. And to each the consequences. –Din Merican

  10. You are off – point Wrongways, we are saying you are being unethical to divert readers HERE to your blog, and if its constantly and continuously done, we get BORED of you…..please laaaaa…..

  11. Right ways, write an original piece and I’ll be glad to read, none of these cut and paste.
    I have no problem recognizing the achievement of China in all fields but surely there are limitations. The issue I have is blogging etiquette and surely you understand them being a serious ‘blogger’ yourself. But you seem more interested in self propogation and trying to divert traffic to your site. Your original writing and choice of words makes me cringe reading them.
    All the other commentators on this blog offer their own opinion and original writings except when they have to quote another source and that’s when they provide a link but in your case it’s always a link to your own site.
    Perhaps you should rename your site China is everything.

  12. I’m, rightway my friends, here;
    Rightway: is always going up, not going left or right, understand?

    Rightways to Success is here:
    going up to Pinnacle, not lthe mediocre side way.
    Mindset to success : Think and dream success do come true: eg: Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal, dreams do come true ! Malaysia Boleh!?

    This is the universal law of attraction, don’t attract evils friends!

  13. “The creatures outside looked from katasayang to rightways, and from rightways to katasayang, and from katasayng to rightways again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
    ― Adaptation from George Orwell, Animal Farm

    @Rightways: You remind me of an Imperial Japanese General, e.g. Harimau Yamashita telling us that the Empire of the Sun is the rightways, and me like Wang Jing Wei ( telling the world about a different world of kiasu/kiasi 😛

    We are all anak-anak Malaysia. A light note. But it is true. Both beautiful and sad 😛

  14. Katasayang, rightways was trying to imply that if Dani had been a Chinese, gone to Chinese school and followed the Chinese way he wouldn’t be declared a bankrupt.

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