The NEP:”A Magical Touch” or Systemic State-Sponsored Discrimination?


February 9, 2017

COMMENT: The objectives of the Tun Abdul Razak’s  New Economic Policy (1970)  were (1) to eradicate poverty regardless of race and (2) to create a Malay Commercial and Industrial Community to eliminate the identification of race with economic function. It was intended to deal the root causes of  the May 13 1969 riots that shook Malaysia and promote national unity.

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It was Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak’s Deputy, who likened it to a golf handicap system to enable the Malays to compete against the more economically successful Malaysian other. It was  to  “serve as a temporary affirmative action policy with a 20 year lifespan but which now appears to have been extended ad infinitum.”(Lim Teck Ghee).

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad used it to create a UMNO crony capitalism and make the Malays beholden to the UMNO state for handouts. In the name of “democratization of education” our fourth Prime Minister also lowered university entrance requirements to enable Malays to attend our public universities, the consequences of which are quite well-known to all of us.

If the Malays are to compete in a globalized world, they must learn to be self-reliant and resilient in the face of adversity. Like my friend Teck Ghee, I feel that empowerment of the Malays, not dependence on UMNO handouts, is the way forward  in the pursuit of national unity.–Din Merican

The  NEP –“A Magical Touch” or  Systemic State-Sponsored Discrimination against The Malaysian Other?

by Lim Teck Ghee

Surely our well informed Royalty must also be aware of the collateral damage that pro-Malay bumiputra policies have had on governance, economy, social cohesion and race and religious relations. Surely Sultan Nazrin, with degrees from Oxford and Harvard, must be aware of the vast literature available, in English and the national language, of the downside of maintaining the NEP past its original shelf-life of 1990.–Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

Recently the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Dr.Nazrin Shah, officiating at a religious discourse described the NEP (New Economic Policy) as a “magical touch”. The word “magic” is associated with the the power of influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces. It is a word whose synonyms include “sorcery, witchcraft, wizardry, necromancy, enchantment,the supernatural, occultism, the occult, black magic,the black arts, shamanism” and the like.

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Malaysia’s Oxford and Harvard Educated Sultan

The “magical touch” of the NEP which gave more opportunities for the Malays to participate in mainstream development and encouraged the growth of youths especially from the rural areas to have a strong foundation of race and religion. of course, did not come from the waving of any supernatural or magical wand, although some of the superstitious in the audience may believe it.

It was a human and politically-crafted public policy in the aftermath of the racial violence in May 1969 and it was intended to serve as a temporary affirmative action policy with a 20 year lifespan but which now appears to have been extended ad infinitum.

The assertion that the the NEP benefited Malay individuals and families and also injected a new confidence and pride into the Malays is also well-known and is incontestable. No one can deny that the younger generation Malays, especially women, “filled Malay secondary classes in bigger numbers, held high positions in their careers, especially in the public sector, enjoyed influence and underwent a cultural transformation, including in the workplace and home” as a direct outcome of the NEP.

But there were other ripple effects from the application of the “magic” touch which the Sultan did not bring to the attention of his audience. These effects – principally relating to the non-Malay community but also now impacting on the Malays – are also important and necessary to bring to the attention of those who continue to advocate it as the panacea for the ills and shortcomings of the Malay community.

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Such a critical, empirically-grounded ]and non-romantic analysis is especially necessary to emphasise in religious and Malay-centric fora that are held ostensibly to instill “Islamic values” of justice, moderation, equality, and the other ethics deemed as central to the practice of the religion; or during events intended to uplift Malay pride and self-esteem.

Who Lost Out With The NEP

That magic wand waved to secure the employment of Malays in the public sector and their accelerated promotion and advancement in it, as well as in other sectors, has required the suppression and holding back of other citizens in their employment, career and even life prospects, however deserving or qualified they may have been, simply on account of their minority ethnic identity. Enough has been written about this for so long that even the most out-of-touch or uneducated in the country is fully aware of it.

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UMNO-BN Election Gimmick?

The loss has not only been to the many hundreds of thousands of non-Malays who have had to make personal sacrifice or have been denied fair treatment as a result of a policy pushed down their throats to ensure ‘national unity’ and so that Malay politicians (and Royalty) can have what these dominant groups consider to be a fair share of the nation’s wealth.

The loss is also that of the nation as a whole.

Surely our well informed Royalty must also be aware of the collateral damage that pro-Malay bumiputra policies have had on governance, economy, social cohesion and race and religious relations. Surely Dr, Sultan Nazrin, with degrees from Oxford and Harvard, must be aware of the vast literature available, in English and the national language, of the downside of maintaining the NEP past its original shelf-life of 1990.

Sultan Dr.Nazrin who is also the Financial Ambassador of the Malaysian International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) also said that Malaysia is always described as a modern Islamic nation which is developed, progressive, peaceful and moderate. According to him, “Islamic leadership in Malaysia is highly respected. The wisdom of the Malay leaders in implementing programmes for the development of the people and the country has been acknowledged throughout the world.”

OECD’s Damning Analysis

As Financial Ambassador, he would do well to read the recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Review of Innovation Policy report which categorially states that the NEP is among the causes of Putrajaya’s limited success in upgrading the economy through science, technology and innovation policies since the mid-1980s. The recently released Malaysia report noted that “[s]ocial equity rules associated with the New Economic Policy, affecting a wide range of domains including education and businesses, did not allow sufficient mobility of resources which, in the end, hindered innovation activities”.

The report also noted that the domination of government-linked companies (GLCs) and major family-owned conglomerates – all factors the Sultan should be very familiar with – have tended to block competition, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Finally the reported noted that “[e]ven the best initiatives have suffered from a lack of sustainable efforts, political interference or, in some cases, clientelism and corruption”.

The NEP and its successor policies need an open, rigorous and transparent stocktaking to ensure that the Malay community and other Malaysians do not continue to be led astray or become victims of an anachronistic, increasingly elite-favouring, corrupt and indefensible policy.

The magic has been long gone and will never return. Perhaps the Sultan’s next speech may see him provide some ideas on the replacement policy to the NEP.  Empowerment of the Malays, not dependence of UMNO handouts is the way forward  in the pursuit of national unity.

Tunku Abdul Rahman–What a Great Malaysian and Compassionate Leader Among Men


I, as a Foreign Service Officer, too remember Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman–What a Great Malaysian and Compassionate Leader Among Men

by Bernama

Image result for tunku abdul rahmanTwo Giants of ASEAN

February 8 ― Several well-known veteran figures recalled nostalgic moments with the country’s “Father of Independence” and its first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, and his endearing traits in conjunction with Tunku’s 114th birthday today.

Penang Malay Association (Pemenang) President, Tan Sri Yussof Latiff, who knew Tunku since the latter took over the UMNO leadership from Datuk Onn Jaafar in 1951, said Tunku’s integrity was his most distinct personal trait.

“Tunku’s integrity had no compromise, could not be doubted or questioned.

Tunku was honest and sincere. When he took over the UMNO leadership, the party had no money, so Tunku sold his house in Penang to fund the running of UMNO, he told Bernama.

Besides that, Yussof who is now 86, said Tunku was like a father from whom people could seek “shelter” under his leadership, and this regard for Tunku was not just among the Malays but the non-Malays as well.

He said Tunku’s family and the staff at his residence were multiracial and multireligious.

“That was typically Tunku. His cook was a Malay, his driver an Indian and his domestic helper who washed the clothes and dishes was a Chinese.

“Tunku also adopted children, especially of Chinese descent, into the family. He raised five of them from small until they became adults and got married,” added Yussof.

He also regarded Tunku, who died in 1990 at age 87, as a gift from God to this country to lead the Malays and UMNO, then obtained independence for the country and was a leader for all the races.

In remembrance of Tunku’s birthday, Yussof said he had organised a gathering of the Penang state muhbibah consultative council comprising 16 ethnic bodies since 2003, while Feb 8 was made Unity Day for Penang.

“In discussions, Tunku was very open and could accept everything that was voiced out. Tunku Abdul Rahman was irreplaceable,” he said.

Former Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar said he first got close to Tunku when he was a member of Tunku’s security detail for the protracted Maphilindo (Malaysia/Philippines/Indonesia) talks in Manila in June 1963.

“He was extremely simple, kind and warm and remained so throughout his life which was guided every day by the Quranic verses that he opened to at random every morning after Subuh prayer,” he said.

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Hanif said Tunku used to allow him the use of his beachfront home in Penang. “May Allah abundantly bless his soul and that of his late wife Tun Sharifah Rodziah,” he said.

Former director of Internal Security and Public Order, Royal Malaysian Police, Tan Sri Zaman Khan said he had fond memories of Tunku when he was the OCPD of Butterworth before the 1969 general election.

The former Prime Minister would come to Butterworth and stay at his small wooden bungalow at Telok Ayer Tawar where he used to hold meetings with Umno and the then Alliance.

Zaman Khan said when he was Penang chief police officer, his quarters was just a house away from Tunku’s.

He said he was advised by Tun Abdul Razak, who succeeded Tunku as prime minister, to keep Tunku company which he did usually after Isyak prayer. And almost every Thursday, Tunku would host local Umno heads for “chit chat sessions with lots of old stories”.

Former banker Dato’ Dr Rais Saniman said he had the honour of serving Tunku in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when Tunku was Secretary-General of the then Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) soon after he stepped down as Prime Minister in 1970.

“Tunku had an idea with King Faisal to set up the Islamic Development Bank and I was directed by Tun Razak to go and join the international team of experts to set up and get the bank going,” he said.

And Dato’ Dr. Rais had this to say of Tunku: “I started with unease with Tunku but I ended up kissing his feet. He was warm and kind. “Open the first page of the Encyclopaedia of Democracy. He is on the first page. The greatest Malaysian.” ― Bernama

 

Politics is in the Blood of the Young


January 26, 2017

Politics is in the Blood of the Young

“Give me 1,000 men and I will move a mountain. Give me 10 young men and I will shake the world.” (Sukarno)

Where political involvement is concerned, young people are generally perceived to be outliers – either too radical in their views or completely indifferent. Yet they make up a potent political force especially in developing nations where they dominate in demography. Once tapped, they are capable of delivering change.

With the median age in Malaysia being 27.1 years and with 72% of the population being under 40 years of age, the relevance of young people in our country is far from insignificant. Faced with the need to engage this important demographic group yet not quite knowing what their needs and desires really are, political parties and governments often end up baiting them with concerts, football tournaments and “tweet famous” celebrities.

While the general view that young people are politically apathetic is not entirely without basis, it is a patronising generalisation that belies the fact that young people, both historically and in the present day, play a very important role in political processes, both formal and informal.

History of Youth in Politics

It is interesting to note that many Southeast Asian nationalist movements at the height of the colonial resistance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were spearheaded by young people.

In the Philippines, for example, José Rizal wrote his influential anti-imperialist novel Noli Me Tangere in 1887 when he was only 25 years old, while pioneering revolutionaries Andrés Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto were in their 20s when they founded the Katipunan movement to oppose Spanish rule. A female colleague of theirs, Gregoria de Jesus, was only 21 when she joined them in 1896. In 1898, when the flag of the Republic of the Philippines was hoisted for the first time, the man chosen to be the newly independent nation’s first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, was only 29 years old.

In Burma, nationalist fervour began when a youth organisation called the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA) organised protests against the British colonial regime’s introduction of laws that suppressed student freedoms. Following on from their success, various splinter groups from the YMBA went on to form political parties that would eventually lead the charge for independence.

One important personality from that era was Aung San, the Burmese nationalist icon who, having been a student leader, left university in 1938 to enter formal politics at the age of 23. Eight years and a world war later, he became president of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League in 1946 and deputy chairman of the executive council, which effectively made him the titular head of the Burmese civil government. In this role, he led independence negotiations with Britain, culminating in an agreement jointly signed with British prime minister Clement Attlee in January 1947. Unfortunately, he was not to see the fruits of his efforts as he was assassinated later in the year at the age of 32.

Pioneering revolutionary Andrés Bonifacio, who was in his 20s when he co-founded the Katipunan movement to oppose Spanish rule.

Over in Indonesia, it is impossible to discuss the nationalist revolution without touching on the decisive influence of the Second Youth Congress in 1928. Not only was the national anthem Indonesia Raya played for the very first time, the conference also saw the recital of the “Youth Pledge” – a declaration that forms the basis for the Indonesian national ideal until this very day, namely the idea of “one motherland, one nation and one language”. So influential was the role of young people in the independence movement that Benedict Anderson even termed it a “youth revolution”.

Young people played no less significant a role in the lead-up to Malaysian independence. For example, one of the earliest nationalist movements in the country was formed in Kedah during the Second World War. Known by its acronym Saberkas, it was officially set up as a welfare cooperative called Syarikat Bekerjasama Am Saiburi. Yet its founders meant for the society to be a cover for their true intent – an underground nationalist movement. Accordingly, the acronym Saberkas also had a hidden meaning, which was “Sayang akan bangsa, ertinya redha korban apa segala” (to sacrifice everything for the love of one’s nation).

It is unfortunate that while young people in Europe are increasingly recognised for their abilities and entrusted with responsibilities as political leaders, our youth are suppressed and prevented from playing too active a role in politics, at the threat of university expulsion and jail.

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Senu Abdul Rahman and Syed Kechik Al-Bukhary

Sabekas was founded by a group of young men in their early 20s, including Khir Johari, Senu Abdul Rahman, Abdul Aziz Zain and a few others, under the patronage of a Kedah Prince, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra. Besides providing shelter for refugees fleeing the Burmese death railway, the group also organised bangsawan stage plays that carried nationalist undertones. These plays were written and performed by members of the group and became quite popular, drawing large crowds in Kedah and Perlis.

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Tan Sri Mohamed Khir Johari

Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, there was a two-week void before the British could re-establish order in Malaya. During this time, the young men of Sabekas played an important role in keeping the peace, physically helping to defend villages and police stations from communist guerrillas who attempted to seize control. Following the creation of the short-lived Malayan Union in 1946, Sabekas was one of the many organisations that gathered at the Third Malay Congress to form UMNO. Eventually, many of Saberkas’s founders became leading figures in the government, the civil service and the judiciary.

Young people were pivotal to the Malay nationalist movement on the national stage as well. For example, the very first national political movement in the country, the Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM), was founded in 1938 by Ibrahim Yaacob and Ishak Haji Muhammad, then aged 27 and 29 respectively. The movement’s membership was made up predominantly of young journalists and students from the Sultan Idris Teaching College, College of Agriculture Malaya and the Technical School of Kuala Lumpur. Although eventually suppressed by the British due to its leftist tendencies, KMM’s contribution to the overall nationalist consciousness should not be downplayed.

The Depoliticisation of Youth

Although young people were at the forefront of the political struggle against imperialism, it was inevitable that postcolonial national development would necessitate the production of workers for the industrial economy rather than political activists. Thus in Malaysia, young people began to be discouraged from active political involvement and laws such as the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) were introduced to curtail their activities.

As the economy grew, so too did the spoils, and political party hierarchies became a much steeper climb for younger cadres who found it difficult to unseat entrenched elites. This caused the mainstream relevance of young people to decline, as even the various party youth wings were beginning to be led by people who could no longer be reasonably described as youth, despite how young they may consider themselves to be. Even the average age of the federal cabinet, which was around 43 years of age at the point of independence, gradually increased to nearly 60, as is the case today.

This is of course an unfortunate trend that runs counter to developments around the world, particularly in Europe where youth involvement in mainstream politics is in vogue. In the UK, the 2010 general election saw the election of three men in their early 40s to the positions of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. In Malaysia, their counterparts would merely be youth wing chiefs and junior ministers at best.

If there is a perception that young people in Malaysia are not interested in politics, it is because they have been shaped over decades by a system that muzzles and subdues them in the name of protecting the status quo.

In recent times, Sweden appointed ministers in their 20s[1] to important portfolios while the current Austrian foreign minister is only 30, having been appointed at age 27 in 2013. I have personally met the former Serbian minister of finance who was below the age of 30 when appointed, while a parliamentary colleague of mine in the UK who is younger than me is now a second term MP and a junior minister in the department of international development.

It is unfortunate that while young people in Europe are increasingly recognised for their abilities and entrusted with responsibilities as political leaders, our youth are suppressed and prevented from playing too active a role in politics, at the threat of university expulsion and jail.

Therefore, if there is a perception that young people in Malaysia are not interested in politics, it is because they have been shaped over decades by a system that muzzles and subdues them in the name of protecting the status quo.

A Youth Revival

That said, changes have begun to take place, especially since the 2008 “political tsunami” which served as a baptism of fire for a whole new generation of young leaders, mostly from the opposition. With greater youth representation at the political front lines, the reform agenda gained greater momentum and even the UUCA was amended to allow students to join political parties.

In this youth revival, it is clear that opposition parties have been the main beneficiary due to their flatter hierarchy and willingness to empower younger leaders. As a result, the federal opposition can now boast of having the youngest representatives in the country at every level of legislature – the senate, parliament, state assembly and local government. On the other hand, the ruling regime would be hard-pressed to name anywhere near as many young politicians holding similar responsibilities.

As mentioned earlier, there is no disputing the fact that young people form an increasingly dominant demography in our country, thus making them more and more relevant from an economic, social and political standpoint. Correspondingly, just as the youth of earlier generations played a crucial role in the formation of Malaysia; so too will the youth of today in charting the future of our nation.

Aung San, the Burmese nationalist icon who, having been a student leader, left university in 1938 to enter formal politics at the age of 23.
[1]In 2014 Gabriel Wikström was appointed as Health Minister at age 29, while Aida Hadzialic was appointed as Minister of Higher Education at age 27. In August 2016 Hadzialic resigned.

National Ideology (Rukunegara)–The Unity Glue


October 3, 2016

Malaysia: National Ideology (Rukunegara)–The Unity Glue

by Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

http://www.themalaymailonline.com

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 A nation without an ideology is like a teenager without a direction. A direction of some sort, even a broad and general one, for example, to appreciate life and its gifts is essential to determine the quality of life.

It also acts as a fence that reminds the teenager to be wary of influences that may make him unappreciative of life’s gifts, such as indulgence in drug abuse.

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Likewise, a nation will just float along aimlessly and in conflicting directions if the people lack a national ideal they can use as a yardstick. I have written many times before, asking what is our national dream and philosophy, keeping in mind we are a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan nation.

We require a common national philosophy and a set of national values that can unite us as Malaysians and guide our Malaysian spirit to evolve and grow. Like nurturing a child, a nation requires constant nurturing, too.

Today, we perceive our nation to be in a state of ethnic, religious, social and economic tatters. Madness in behaviour and speeches, and mediocrity in work and productivity appear to have become a national norm.

Our leaders have to be proactive to reverse this trend and correct the perception. If the leaders are able to remove the political cataract blinding their eyes, they will see the nation is crying out for a direction and a national philosophy all Malaysians can identify with.

As a nation that achieved independence, we were learning how to co-exist as Malaysians due to our diverse backgrounds.

We had our first racial clash, albeit politically originated, in May 1969. That was our first and I am sure our last bitter experience of a civil clash.

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As a result of this bitter experience, our past leaders were wise to recognise the need for a national ideology which can be a guiding force to unite and provide a national direction for the people.

The National Consultative Council, headed by the late Tun Abdul Razak, had the unity and “soul” of the nation in mind when the principles of the Rukunegara were formulated.

What is so special about the Rukunegara? Firstly, everyone seems to have forgotten it was formalised as a national ideology through a declaration by none other than DYMM Yang diPertuan Agong on  August 31, 1970.

I learned the Rukunegara in school and I recall reciting it at school assemblies. It represented our national values. It has five main principles namely, Belief in God, Loyalty to the King and the country, upholding the Constitution, Rule of Law, and good behaviour and morality.

The purpose of instilling these five principles is explained by the preamble to the Rukunegara. The preamble provides Malaysia aspires to achieve a greater unity for all her people by:

  • Maintaining a democratic way of life;
  • Creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably shared;
  • Ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions, and;
  • Building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;

The Rukunegara contains not only universal values so relevant to a diverse society like ours, but it also sets a clear direction which we all can share to make this nation great. We really need to be united by common values before we are pulled apart by mischief makers in our society who are bent on dividing us.

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Image result for The Racist Red Shirts in Malaysia

What is urgently required now is the rebirth of Razak’s political will to give life to the principles of Rukunegara. I support the increasing call that the Rukunegara is made as a preamble to the Constitution of Malaysia.

This will allow the courts to interpret the Federal Constitution within the context of the national philosophy particularly with regards to the protection of the fundamental liberties of the citizens as enshrined in the Constitution.

It will also enable the protection of the constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary democratic political structure of our country.

If our current leadership has Razak’s wisdom, foresight and courage, I foresee discussions, conversations and the political will to promote the Rukunegara to the position it was meant to be.

However, as JUST International President Dr Chandra Muzzafar recently pointed out, since the 1980s, the Rukunegara seemed to have been systematically shunted aside. Is it any surprise then there is a feeling today that our nation seems to have lost its soul while we may have generally achieved major material progress?

I appeal to our current leadership to put back the soul in our nation.

* Jahaberdeen is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement which encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at rapera.jay@gmail.com.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses Joint Session of Congress


June 21, 2016

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses Joint Session of US Congress–Time for Malaysians to reflect

I am pleased to feature Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. In doing so, I hope our narrow-minded and insecure leaders, politicians, ultras and religious bigots can learn a thing or two about common decency, mutual respect, managing diversity, and defending freedom from Mr. Modi’s Address to the Joint Session of Congress recently.

Let them realise that they cannot continue their present perilous course of religious extremism,  racial discrimination and economic mismanagement without putting at risk all that our founding fathers have worked hard to build since Independence in 1957. We are all Malaysians, said Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. –Din Merican

 

 

Proclamation of Malaysian Independence

Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, 31 August 1957

I am indeed proud that on this, the greatest day in Malaya’s history it falls to my lot to proclaim the formal independence of this country. Today as new page is turned, and Malaya steps forward to take her rightful place as a free and independent partner in the great community of Nations-a new nation is born and though we fully realise that difficulties and problems lie ahead, we are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today’s events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide. It is therefore with a feeling of particular solemnity that we have listened to the eloquent words of His Royal Highnessl and in particular to the moving message he has conveyed from Her Majesty the Queen2. We are indeed honoored that Her Majesty should have deputed her own uncle, His Royal Highness to be with us on this occasion particularly when we remember that he is no stranger to this land: we recall too with pleasure his previous visit to Malaya and happy recollections of his stay have remained with us.

His Royal Highness has spoken in moving words of the past associations of our two countries. We in Malaya have a long history, but we do not lightly forget old relationships. For many years past our fortunes have been linked with those of Great Britain and we recall in particular the comradeship of two world wars. We remember too the products of our association; justice before the law, the legacy of an efficient public service and the highest standard of living in Asia. We shall therefore always Remember with gratitude the assistance which we have received from Great Britain down our long path to nationhood; an assistance which culminated today with the proclamation of Malaya’s Independence. But the long standing friendship between our countries does not cease with independence: rather it takes on a new form. As you have heard in the gracious message from Her Majesty the Queen, Malaya will henceforward take her place in the great Commonwealth of Independent Nations whose members are found in all parts of the world, and as an equal partner in that great association. We in this country will do all in our power to promote its well-being in the interests of mankind in general and in the particular service of world peace.

Thus today a new chapter opens in our relationship with Britain; our colonial status has given place to full equality but we are confident that, fortified by old associations, and linked by old memories, our ties with Britain will grow ever stronger and more durable. British will ever find in us her best friend, and it is a soure of much gratification to my Government that British Civil Servants will continues to serve in this country to assist us in the solution of the many problems which independence will present.

But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future; from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility: Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour-the creation of a new and sovereign State. At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty-a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.

High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed.

PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL. PRAISE BE TO GOD, THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE AND MAY THE BLESSINGS AND PEACE OF GOD UPON HIS MESSENGERS

WHEREAS the time has now arrived when the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu will assume the status of a free independent and sovereign nation among the nations of the World.

AND WHEREAS by an agreement styled the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, between Her Majesty the Queen and Their Highness the Rulers of the Malay States it was agreed that the Malay States of lohore, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu and Perak and the former Settlements of Malacca and Penang should as from the 31st day of August, 1957, be formed into a new Federation of States by the name of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.

AND WHEREAS it was further agreed between the parties to the said agreement that the Settlements of Malacca and Penang aforesaid should as from the said date cease to form part of Her Majesty’s dominions and that Her Majesty should cease to exercise any sovereignty over them.

AND WHEREAS it was further agreed by the parties aforesaid that the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, and all other agreements subsisting between Her Majesty the Queen and Their Highness the Rulers or anyone of them immediately before the said date should be revoked as from that date and that all powers and jurisdiction of Her Majesty or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in or in respects of the Settlements aforesaid or the Malay States or the Federation as a whole should come to an end.

AND WHEREAS effect has been given in the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, by Her Majesty the Queen, Their Highnesses the Rulers, the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Legislatures of the Federation and of the Malay States.

AND WHEREAS a constitution for the Government of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu has been established as the supreme law thereof.

AND WHEREAS by the Federal Constitution aforesaid provision is made to safeguard the rights and prerogatives of Their Highness the Rulers and the fundamental rights and liberties of the people and to provide for the peaceful and orderly advancement of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu as a constitutional monarchy based on Parliamentary democracy.

AND WHEREAS the Federal Constitution aforesaid having been approved by an Ordinance of the Federal Legislatures, by the Enactments of the Malay States and by resolutions of the Legislatures of Malacca and Penang has come into force on the 31 st day of August, 1957, aforesaid.

Now in the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, I, TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PUTRA IBNI AL-MARHUM SULTAN ABDUL HAMID HALIMSHAH, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU, with the concurrence and approval of Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States do hereby proclaim and declare on behalf of the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu that as from the thirty first day of August, nineteen hundred and fifty seven, the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu comprising the States of Johore, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Malacca and Penang is and with God’s blessing shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations.

 

 

Tunku Abdul Rahman–Father of Malaysian Freedom


February 19, 2016

Tunku Abdul Rahman–Father of Malaysian Freedom

by Wan Saiful Wan Jan

http://www.thestar.com.my

EVERY February since 2010 we at Ideas hold an event to commemorate the birthday of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj. He was born on February 8, 1903 and he would have been 113 this year.

We will be holding a special dinner to mark his birthday on February 20. This will also be a celebration of the sixth anniversary of  IDEAS.

This year our celebration is a bit different. We are lucky to have been chosen as the host for this year’s Asia Liberty Forum (ALF), an annual gathering of the freedom movement from across Asia to discuss challenges facing the region and to learn from one another how to most effectively advance free-market reforms.

The ALF will take place at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur on Feb 19-20 and we will have the special dinner to celebrate Tunku’s birthday as the final session at this international conference. Tun Musa Hitam will be delivering the main speech.

I am proud that this year we are able to take the celebration of Tunku’s life and vision to this international platform. It is about time that those from outside Malaysia who share the desire to see more liberty and justice in this world get to hear about Tunku and his ideals for the country.

The Tunku’s championing of freedom is not restricted to our national borders. He had a vision for the region too, and that led him to push for the creation of the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), which then morphed into ASEAN.

Writing in this newspaper on August 22 2007, the late Datuk Abdullah Ali, one of the pioneers of the Malaysian Foreign Service, said that the entire concept of ASA, as the precursor of ASEAN, “was founded, then developed to maturity, almost solely as a result of an idea that originated in the mind of Tunku.”

When ASA was mooted, this region was suffering from the communist insurgency. In Malaysia, the Tunku made it quite clear that his belief in liberty could not exist side by side with communism.

The world knew him as a consistent anti-communist leader, and this was recognised in the New York Times’ obituary for him published on December 7, 1990.

Today, perhaps not enough people appreciate why UMNO’s Second President was so strongly against communist authoritarianism. Malaysians of my generation did not get the chance to see what the communists did.

And those who visit Beijing or Shanghai today may very well come back thinking there’s nothing wrong with the leftist ideology.

Last weekend I visited Phnom Penh. Less than two hours away by flight from Kuala Lumpur, this is a city that felt the blunt force of an attempt to establish communist rule by the Khmer Rouge and their leader, Pol Pot.

I visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Under the Khmer Rouge it was called the S-21, and functioned as the main prison and torture centre. This was a place that was once replete with suffering and deaths.

S-21 was a high school until the arrival of the Khmer Rouge. The communists changed the classrooms into torture chambers. The pictures displayed there now are very graphic.

People were detained and tortured to extract confessions, and many ended up giving false confessions in the hope that the torture would stop.

Pol Pot was a paranoid Prime Minister. He believed that it was better to act against an innocent person by mistake than to spare an enemy by mistake.

He took action against anyone who showed signs of wanting to challenge him. At Tuol Sleng, Pol Pot instructed the killing of his own Deputy Prime Minister Von Veth and Kuy Thuon, chief of a northern state.

At Choeung Ek Killing Fields-pictures taken by Dr. Kamsiah Haider-February 7, 2016

The suffering caused by Pol Pot and his communist comrades was even more apparent at another memorial site, the Choeung Ek Killing Field. It took about half an hour to get there from Phnom Penh. I will never forget what I saw.

The Cambodian government has built a stupa to commemorate the site, filled with more than 5,000 human skulls found within the compound. It is estimated that close to 20,000 people were bludgeoned to death there because bullets were expensive.

The bodies were piled in rows of mass graves. There was even a tree where communist soldiers smashed the heads of babies, before throwing their bodies into a hole.

All this was done because the communist Khmer Rouge did not believe in dissent. To them, human lives were expendable.

They used to say that “to remove you is no loss, to keep you is no gain.” Such was the belief that led to massive suffering under an authoritarian regime.

When the Tunku was Prime Minister, the communists were not yet ruling Cambodia. But he knew the dangers authoritarianism can bring to us and he pre-empted it by engraving the values of freedom, liberty and justice in our Proclamation of Independence.

As we celebrate the Tunku’s birthday this month, let us remember him as the freedom champion that he was.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (www.Ideas.org.my). The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.