Sunday, December 16, 2007

Malaysia's people once were Hindus, and of Bauddham; injustice cannot define a nation

The other shoe drops: Malaysia
Seth J. Frantzman

November 27th, 2007

Malaysia does not evoke images of Islam or Islamism in our minds. We are accustomed to think of Malaysia as one of the 'little tigers' of Asia, a promising Asian democracy, like Singapore, full of splendor and wealth and a robust free market. This image, one constructed from the stock exchange at Kaula Lumpur and the famous Petronas towers, obscures the illness and racial-religious evils lurking beneath the surface of this country.

Malaysia's history is not unique. Its people were once Buddhists and Hindus with a great deal of influence from India and China. But its population was made up primarily of Malays, an ethnic group that differs greatly from its neighbors. When Islam came to Asia the Malays embraced the religion as a way to gain independence and primacy over their neighbors. Thus the country became split, like so many others, along ethnic and religious lines. The Malays became Muslims and the Chinese remained Buddhist. With colonialism this ethnic-religious divide only became more pronounced. The Chinese, balking at their colonial masters, the British, became ardent Communists, like their brothers to the north in mainland China. The Malays, who had been viewed as a 'martial race' by the British were only to happy to be recruited into the British trained local militia to hunt down their non-Muslim, non-Malay Communist enemies. Beginning in 1945 a full Communist scale insurgency rocked the country and the British unleashed the Malays against the Chinese minority leading to large scale ethnic cleansing. By 1957, with the Communists destroyed and many hundreds of thousands of Chinese peasants murdered or resettled, the country was granted independence. In 1963 it was joined in a federation by Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Following further Malaysian riots in 1965 against ethnic Chinese the city-state of Singapore decided to quit the federation, based on the fact that Singapore was primarily a Chinese city and its leader Lee Kuan Hew did not appreciate the fact that the Malaysian government ignored the wide scale anti-Chinese riots, and the fact that the Malay majority armed forces refused to protect the Chinese. The same year, 1965 witnessed the murder of 500,000 ethnic Chinese in Indonesia by the Muslim regime of Suharto and the massacre of 200,000 Catholic East-Timorese. Although completely ignored by the outside world the years 1965-1967 in Asia were one long series of bloodbaths committed by Muslim regimes against non-Muslims in the name of ridding their country's of 'Communism.' Until today most scholarship on this fact has been blurred by the racial components of the ethnic-cleansing.

Between 1965 and the present the overriding concern of every Malaysian leader has been the preservation of the Malay grip on power and the suppression of all the minorities in the country, despite the fact that the Malays are only 50% of the population of the country. In fact the mass killings of Chinese have been directed to insure that the Malays make up greater than 50% of the country. According to recent statistics the Chinese make up only 23% while Indians make up 8% and 'indigenous' people make up another 7% and 'others' make up 7%. Religiously the country today is reported to be 60% Muslim, 20% Buddhist, 9% Christian and 6% Hindu.

Mahathir Bin Mohammed who ran the country as Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003 was credited with liberalizing the economy. For this he gained kudos in the west. But many people did not notice that his free market reforms did notog hand in hand with liberalizing civil society in general. Mahathir was no liberal. At the tenth Islamic Summit conference in Putrajaya (whose name betrays the non-Islamic history of the country), Malaysia on October 16th, 2003 the Prime Minister noted that:

" The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. It cannot be that there is no other way. 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power. "

This was not the first such utterance by the esteemed Prime Minister of a modern state. In regards to Christians:

" Europeans, nominally at least are Christians and as Christians their old enmity towards Islam in particular still color their thinking (BBC Monitoring, June 4, 2003.)"

In regards to Sept. 11:

"If the Arabs who before were not terrorists are today willing to commit suicide in order to fight against the Israelis or Americans, there must be a reason for it. And the reason is that they feel that Americans and the Jews and the Europeans have been unjust to them." (BBC Monitoring, December 13, 2002.)"

Following the collapse of the stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur he noted that " We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews, but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally [George] Soros is a Jew. It is also a coincidence that Malaysians are mostly Moslem. Indeed, the Jews are not happy to see Moslems progress."

Like so many Muslim leaders he noted in September of 1986 that Jews in Israel had been "apt pupils of the late Dr. Goebbels." But in 1994 with the release of Shindlers List Malaysia banned the movie on the grounds that "it seems the illustration is propaganda with the purpose of asking for sympathy, as well as to tarnish the other [German] race." Like others he was unable to see the contradiction between insulting a country by comparing it to Nazi Germany and then at the same time denying the actions of the Nazis.

Hatred of Jews is usually a harbinger of worse things to come. But Mahathir's comments in 2003 were ignored. A picture captioned 'Malaysia is a multi-ethnic society with a range of faiths' was used to illustrate the 2002 BBC story entitled 'Malaysian state passes Islamic law.' The Islamic Party of Malaysia has gained further inroads in states such as Kelantan and Terengganu in the northeast of the country. Since 1993 there has been increasing Islamization across the country, including state laws enforcing dress codes and forcing women and men to stand in separate isles in supermarkets and enforcing death by stoning for adultery. Needless to say, as in all Islamic states, the only people ever convicted of adultery are women.

A recent case in which a Malay woman wanted to convert to Christianity in order to marry a Chinese man was struck down by the supreme court. According to the ruling a Malay could not convert from Islam to any other religion, a law modeled on Islamic law in most countries which makes apostasy illegal.

But religious discrimination, anti-semitism and Islamism is only one aspect of Malaysia. The other is the institutionalize racism that has been in place since independence in 1957. Under the guise of 'empowering' the Malaysian majority the government instituted a 'Malays first' affirmative action policy. Unlike in the West where affirmative action refers to the process of giving minorities greater access to jobs and education by discriminating against the majority, the Malaysian system gives the majority special opportunities and ensures that when they are up against a minority for a job they will receive the job. In most countries racism by the majority may ensure that the minority remains on the fringes of society, but in Malaysia the racism of the majority is enshrined in the legal system of the country.

On November 25th protests by ethnic Tamils broke out demanding equality and better treatment. These Tamils make up the majority of the Indians in Malaysia, who are 8% of the population. They also happen to be Hindu and therefore suffer the double discrimination of not being Malay and not being Muslim. Malaysia dealt with the protests by arresting the leaders, using water cannons to disperse them and threatening to embark on martial law, in a reply of the prelude to the ethnic cleansing of Chinese that took place in the 1950s.

It is no surprise that there will not be any condemnations of Malaysia in the west. The U.N will not condemn the treatment of these protestors. Neighboring Burma was singled out by the west and the U.N for condemnation, but Burma is a Buddhist country. Malaysia, like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and almost all Muslim countries, is coddled by the West despite rampant human rights abuses, racism and religious discrimination. This is the modus operendi of the world. There are tourist boycotts of Burma, but not of Iran or Malaysia or the UAE. Malaysia is, after all, in the West's twisted was of seeing things, 'exotic'. Dictatorship, racism, and religious fanaticism are today's positive romantic and exotic images of the world. Any nation that does not include them, any nation that does not discriminate against women, is not on the tourist destination of the western elites or western college students. So it should be no surprise that Malaysia's fascist policies, and its disgusting regime, are not mentioned in the press and that its policies are never critiqued by the world. In fact the western press makes sure to frame the argument so that the Malaysian government comes out in a positive light.

Those who protest are described as "right-wing Hindu nationalist" by the Boston Globe(Monday, Nov. 26th, 2007, 'Malaysia's racial lines'). The protestors are mocked for being 'racist' because there is a 'racial dimension' to their protesting. The former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is quoted as saying "They should be more inclusive…We must champion the cause of the poor of all races not just Indians." Westerners eat this up with glee and they come away thinking that it is the 'right wing' who is racist and is protesting against the positive affirmative action policies of an inclusive government. It’s a brilliant way to frame something. Its like the way protests are described in the UAE. Protests by foreign workers who make up 80% of the UAE are also described as negative by the western press because the 'minority' Arab elites who control the country and brought all the foreign workers are now being threatened. Only a western newspaper like the Boston Globe could turn things around. But perhaps the Boston Globe writers should ask themselves if it is logical that the majority in America, whites, should receive affirmative action and if the minority, blacks, were to protest such discrimination, if they should be described as 'racist' merely for protesting. Who is the racist when the majority who are only 51% of a country forces its religious beliefs upon an entire country, when the government pays for religious pilgrimages for the 51% but not the other 49%, when the 51% receive special government sponsored jobs and benefits and scholarships and schooling, while the 49% do not, when the 51% get to have states where their religious law is the law, and the 49% get nothing, when the 51% ensure that supermarkets are divided between men and women and women are arrested for 'immoral behavior' and yet the 49% does not desire such laws. Only a left wing newspaper such as the Boston Globe could frame such a debate in a way where the minority, the 49% came off as the 'right wing' and the 'racist' and the majority which is discriminating comes off as the victim. One just hopes that the next time blacks march somewhere in America for some cause that the Boston Globe will describe the Black minority as 'racist' and 'right wing' for demanding equal rights. But like the BBC, the very comment that Malaysia is a 'multi-ethnic' society is supposed to make us think 'oh, its diverse, it’s a utopian model, how wonderful, its multi-cultural.' But once again we have seen how the mere existence of 'diversity' leads the commentator to assume that this society is positive. But Malaysia's diversity is like all diversity in Islamic countries, it exists at the bottom of society, marginalized, raped and abused, and should it protest it is imprisoned and murdered. It would be nice to see the likes of the BBC just once describe the American South in 1840 as 'diverse' and 'multi-cultural' because the American South had other races, such as blacks. Just because a country has lots of little minorities doesn’t mean that country is a just country. Malaysia is the prime example of a country where diversity and injustice go hand in hand.

1 comment:

K P VARAN said...

Very aptly put. Neither the West or anyone else is sincerely going to be interested to do anything on what is going on in this country. Dafor, Burma, Rwanda etc are all typical examples of the malady that rules the world. In these times even neighbours do not know neighbours or wish their neighbours. This was not the case a few decades ago.

Today we are told surreptitiously not to visit or sit and eat in our neighbours' homes or partake in any of their activities lest our purity be soiled and we be denied a place in the Happy Hereafter.

That is how it is going to be. Unless we Malaysians put our heads together and resolve things with compassion and love - there is going to be no solution to the increasingly worsening situation which will only dry up our efforts to bring forth a Nation in which our coming generations can live in harmony and peace without fear or favour and meaning no ill will to anyone.