Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Hegemony) and the End of Malaysia Baru

March 7,2019

Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Hegemony) and the End of Malaysia Baru

by Emeritus Amb. Dennis Ignatius

Nazri Aziz’s appalling comments in Semenyih are yet another stark reminder that we are a nation deeply divided by race and religion. And we grow further and further apart with each passing day thanks to the efforts of people like Nazri who are constantly stirring the pot of bigotry’s bitter brew.

Unfortunately for us, national unity suffers from a lack of credible champions – great leaders who truly believe in the motto etched on our coat of arms that unity is strength (Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu), that it is worth fighting for. Where are the Onn Jaafars willing to stand up for national unity and do battle for it? Has the Ketuanan Melayu ideology so infected the Malay ruling elite than none are willing to fight for national unity?

And where, too, is the counter-narrative to the Ketuanan Melayu ideology? How is it that despite all the angst about the lack of unity, despite all the great speeches about its importance, we have not been able to structure a compelling political, ideological and religious response to the extreme ethno-religious nationalism of UMNO and PAS?

Of course, we have a minister in charge of national unity but does anyone really believe that Waytha Moorthy is going to actually be able to do anything significant to bridge the racial and religious divide? Let’s face it, he is in Cabinet simply as a sop to the Indian community, nothing more; and nothing much is expected of him.

Given that national unity is one of our biggest national challenges, one which impinges on almost everything else, shouldn’t the national unity portfolio be taken by no less than the prime minister himself, or, at the very least, one of the more senior Pakatan Harapan (PH) ministers?

Image result for ketuanan melayu

Dr. Mahathir wants to be remembered as Father of Malay UMNO Unity.

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad once excited our imagination with his Bangsa Malaysia vision ( 1986) but since coming to office he has done little to advance it. Sadly, it just doesn’t seem to be a priority with him or anyone else for that matter. National unity is the orphan child that nobody wants to claim.

Mass indoctrination

Like it or not, this is not an issue that is going to get better on its own or autocorrect itself; it’s only going to get worse. Indeed, the continued mass indoctrination of students (at all levels of the education system), government servants, police and armed forces personnel with the Ketuanan Melayu ideology makes this inevitable.

Add to that the vast, self-perpetuating, well-funded and well-motivated religious bureaucracy intent on pushing the same ideology under the cloak of religion and it quickly becomes evident that we are already well on the way to becoming an ethno-religious welfare state, the ultimate Ketuanan Melayu dream.

It is, admittedly, difficult to determine how pervasive the Ketuanan Melayu culture is or what the silent majority (if there’s really one) actually thinks about it, but to the extent that they allow the racists and the bigots to usurp their voice without protest, it is perhaps a moot question.

Reinforcing the threat

Malaysia’s minorities have particular reason to be concerned. The Ketuanan Melayu ideology is premised upon the notion that the Malays as a community face an existential threat – from non-Malays – and must unite to defend “bangsa, agama dan negara” or lose it.

Image result for ketuanan melayu


In order to be effective, the threat narrative must be constantly reinforced with new and even bigger revelations of plots and schemes against the Malays and Islam. Suspicion and mistrust must continuously be fuelled at every turn. Every incident must be exploited to reinforce the threat perception. And the lies, half-truths and innuendos must be repeated often enough so that people will believe it. It’s what the Nazis did; it worked for them.

Expect, therefore, as the political contest between UMNO-PAS and PH heats up, yet more outlandish accusations, rumours and insinuations.

Reaching a tipping point?

After the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections, will PH’s Malay leadership work harder to develop a compelling alternative narrative to counter the racist arguments of UMNO-PAS or will they be tempted to take the easy way out and play the race card themselves? Will they go all out to convince the Malays that the reform agenda benefits them more than any other community or will they abandon it for the sake of political expediency?

Whatever it is, Malaysia is quickly reaching an important tipping point: if no credible Malay leader arises to champion national unity and unite our nation around a common national ideology to counter the Ketuanan Melayu narrative, we may well reach a point of no return, a point where the racial and religious divide becomes irrevocable and irreversible. It will be the end of the great experiment in democratic multiculturalism upon which our nation was premised.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

9 thoughts on “Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Hegemony) and the End of Malaysia Baru

  1. Mr. Ignatious is one step behind news and events and while pontification, does not see the fundamental scale of the problem.

    Hate and Fear is a very big and reliable franchise – ask Fox News. The UMNO-PAS franchise is may not be the majority of the franchise of voters out there BUT if the other side fragments, then it will be the biggest most reliable franchise and will win.

    In other words, for PH to lose, all they need to fragement enough. For UMNO-PAS to win, all they need is not lose any of their franchise.

    Make no mistake UMNO-PAS is on a religo-political war. There simply is no other way to put it. Its not a physical war but a religo political one ALWAYS ends up as a real one, no other outcome ever come out of it.

    PH simply must attack the franchise of UMNO-PAS, not just Ketuanan Melayu, its a religo one already..It starts with an alternative narrative of political Islam. Anwar and Mahathir are the two most responsible politician alive or dead that started all of it. If they do not tackle head on, before they leave the political stage, no one is up to the challenge.

    The promise of Ketuanan Melayu is a myth, always is and always will. Tajuddin Ramli defined it as even the rich Malays much be helped. NO GOVT EVEN OWE ANY OF ITS CITIZEN TO BE RICH much less entitled the rich of any helped. That some get rich while the govt does its job of a decent living standard for most of society is simply incidental. The power of govt to make EVERYONE a good living standards is MYTH – there are always some that will fall through any net created by the govt. Its simply reality and limits of govt and technology. Fact of the matter, beyond a certain point, its entirely up the people and group. Govt cannot be responsible for anthropology and historical accidents.

    Now they promise the same thing, even more perhaps with Religion. God help us all.

  2. Since PASUMNOb has become a reality, what is it to any of you – who never saw it coming? As i said KleptoMo1’s greatest error in GE-15 was his footsie-ing with the Ragheads instead of trying to have a loose pack with them.

    So this ‘marriage’ has to come to pass and it’s part of the ‘Freedom of Association’ and democratic process. If you guys don’t like it – go live in PRC or some nut-case of Autocratic Dictatorship. Why must Mother Democracy suit only you?

    It’s the duty of the Enlightened to persuade, cajole and educate whenever possible, the Unenlightened. Who ever has a better propaganda and perception wins. Unfortunately PH is hopeless -especially when they have blabbermouth War Lord Tokongs and Maudlin, Senile Forever Old Oppo-Heads. Their narrative is tried and tested Reactionary Politics. No New Malaysia, because ‘New’ is just ‘Old’.

    Never look down nor scorn the Spoiled Ensoiled Sons for their political savviness. After all, they are just looking after their own tribe and self-interests – no matter how inelegant, mean spirited, racist and apartheid it looks. Aren’t you doing the same for your perceived cohort – or are you so full of your bullshit Milk and Honey? Btw, what does an Emeritus Ambassador mean? Who entitled him?

    Don’t be like like those chattering decerebrate magpies and decorticate stammering red beans over in M’kini. Political jaundice is a sure way to expire.

    God helps those who help themselves.

  3. “Reaching a tipping point” – It seems to me then that, judging by the way the good ambassador described how things are unfolding (in his article), PH is very likely going to inflict upon itself very severe life-threatening wounds which will likely result in UMNO-PAS winning over it by default in future political contestation (and by default also, leading to a revival of the BN coalition’s political fortune). What would then need to happen, for things to unfold differently than the way they are unfolding now? Just a thought to ponder.

    • Things would be different if the Malays, as a people, could see the light of growing up is to take on the challenge of the world as it is, without needing to step on top of another. If Malays need to push down a minority to live, Malays would have zero chance of surviving against the Chinese, the Indians, the Americans, the Europeans, and the Japanese. In reality, the later could easily take advantage of Malays’ fear. Why fear any mere mortals.. especially the pendatang?

      That to me is what a statesman should say in Malaysia.

  4. ‘ And where, too, is the counter-narrative to the Ketuanan Melayu ideology? ‘

    The real Melayu can tell you that Melayu is different from Bugis, Javanese, Minangkabau, Batak dll..

    This ‘ entitlement ‘ mentality has made the conditions too difficult to run businesses to employ people eg. Venezuela’s economic collapse because corrupt leadership and their excessive welfare policies or look at a few failed states in the country.

    May be after ketuanan Melayu, you have ketuanan Bugis, ketuanan Javanese……when is this nonsense going to end???

    Get off your bum and work like other decent hardworking ordinary people to contribute to the economy.

  5. Is it the fault of the Ensoiled Sons to claim that this blessed land belongs to them? After all their political and religious leaders have labeled the Nons as Kafir, Pendatang, Penumpang etc and other derogatory terms, depending on their moods and angst. The sense of Ownership and Divine Destiny was always there, but exacerbated by the Octo-Anwar nexus in the 80-90’s.

    Are the Jews in Palestine any different? Is Israel valid? After all, there are perhaps only two modern (or extant) nationalities that that conflate race with religion in their Constitution.

    It’s not so much a ‘racial’ thing as such, but a feeling of Divine entitlement/ownership (in the case of the Bumis, Nusuntara-ship). Me First-ism is not so unusual, izzit?

    The difference between these ‘races’ and cultures is that the Jews has suffered tremendous depredations, holocaust after holocaust, genocide after genocide and bigotry in the name of their religion.

    The Ensoiled Sons, otoh, never did. Except, losing their sovereignty to the rapine from more advanced Colonialists who preyed on their lackadaisical attitudes and weaknesses. Whether it’s military or economic, it didn’t matter. National Shame is a cultural enigma. National Pride is not. Witness the inability to deny fame, celebrity and wealth among many ensoiled individuals? Humility, self effacement and hard work also depends on Culture and Social Norms, does it not?

    A Darwinian response would say that when it comes to the Jews – it’s a prime example of the fittest survive – regardless of whether they were Shephradic, Askhenazi or Mizrahi. But the actual nuances are far more complex – including what is found in the Torah, Talmud and their concept of a Personal God – i.e, Religion – whether formal (institutionalized) or not. That is a more potent brew than any concept of climbing over each others back, emotionalism or archaic feudalistic social structure.

    That’s why the masturbatory PASUMNOb ‘marriage’ can work to the detriment of the Sour Pusses and Apologists in PH.

    The question arises as to whether the ‘Bumis’ have it in their genetics, religion, social structure, tribal instincts and culture to change, as the Jews have to survive, is probably moot. The answer is rooted deep within their denial of Israel’s existence.

    Maybe, i should not try to over psychoanalyze the deeper motives that make Octo and his ilk who try to ‘shame’ the Sons and goad them, while at the same time cast aspirations against the mercenary acumen of the Nons..

    If this sounds idiotic and too complex to understand – i apologize. Just don’t read it.

  6. //PASUMNOb ‘marriage’ can work to the detriment of ..
    definitely yes.

    By OKMan’s own analysis, Harapan wins through the support with over 80% of nons vote and 30% vote of Children of Soil. He sees how Harapan would lose in Semenyih.
    //With 67.71 per cent Malay voters in Semenyih compared to 16.69 per cent Chinese and 13.73 per cent Indians there, Umno and PAS will no doubt be using a pro-Malay narrative to drive what it believes to be an increasing distrust towards PH parties (especially DAP) and win.

    He then continued his narrative of staying the course of working on some fancy term in the manifesto a few days later.

    In a sense, we are all looking at the same tree. The more Harapan appeals to the Sons of Soil, the more Harapan will cause the nons to shrug, and possibly turn off its’ Melayu base that wanted Malaysia to truly grow up and perkasa in a genuine manner. In a more mathematical terms, we may be looking at a scenario that spell out as the following: for Harapan to gain an extra percentage vote from PASUMNOb’s base, Harapan might be looking at losing a percentage or two vote from the nons, and possibly 0.5% vote from the PASUMNOb, in the form of shrugging.

    Even as per @OKman’s suggestion of staying the course may not be sufficient.
    I suspect it might have already caused him a little of his political capital by merely suggesting on staying a course on a yet-to-be defined course.
    Imho, Harapan should work on increasing the percentage of vote of both nons and Melayu by explaining why working together as a nation would be an Islamic ideal. I suspect quite a large percentage of PASUMNOb’s base has no strong ideological preference, as long as there is still food on the table.

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