Making matters worse is the incessant cry for Malay rights and privileges to be protected, at all costs. But why?


August 31 will always remain sacred for Malaysians and for obvious reason – it was the birth of an independent nation, one which was to be governed by the people and for the people.

So when August 31 was once again celebrated and rejoiced by Putrajaya now led by the opposition-turned-federal government of Pakatan Harapan, it was a day when Malaysians hoped for the best for their beloved nation, agreeing wholeheartedly with this year’s independence day motto of ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’.

Three months post- the 14th general election and just days after the 61st Merdeka anniversary came to be, it is time for both Putrajaya and the rakyat to embrace the truth, that the bedrock of Malaysia has everything to do with its ‘unity in diversity’ status.

The trouble however is that not all politicians, irrespective of the which side of the divide they come from, have an interest in safeguarding the nation’s communal differences.

Making matters worse is the incessant cry for Malay rights and privileges to be protected, at all costs. But why?

That politicians still insist Malaysia is an Islamic nation is puzzling when no where does the country’s Federal Constitution recognise it as such. To conveniently deny the fact that Malaysia is a secular entity for the sake for religious pomposity is not going to make ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’ a lasting affair.

When Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently dropped the bombshell revelation that his successor, Anwar Ibrahim wants the former to focus on Malay rights, it once again opened the much dreaded can of worms.

Why the fixation with Malay rights?

When opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan ousted the Barisan Nasional government in the GE14 to form the new federal government on May 9, Dr Mahathir in his Wesak Day message on May 28 declared that the Pakatan Harapan administration would adhere to the country’s Constitution and guarantee the rights and freedom of all races.

“We have to practise not just high tolerance but also accept these differences.

“In Malaysia, (the rights of) all races – the majority and the minority – are all preserved and protected under the constitution and the country’s laws,” Dr Mahathir’s statement went.

Ironically, when jubilant Malaysians were all out on August 31 to profess ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’, PKR de-facto leader Anwar decided to play the race card saying he was concerned about the welfare and rights of the Malays.

Anwar in a meeting with Dr Mahathir felt Putrajaya was not paying enough attention to the welfare of the Malays.

“He (Anwar) feels that we are not giving attention to the welfare of the Malays,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying, adding that the issue of rights involving the Malays was also mentioned.

A chaffed Anwar however stopped short of criticising the government’s policy on the welfare and rights of Malays.

Dr Mahathir then said Anwar only “made some remarks about it”.

Whilst Dr Mahathir has assured Malaysians no one race would be sidelined at the expense of another, the same comfort is not visible through Anwar.

What more does Anwar expect for the Malays remains to be seen. To chide the Pakatan Harapan government of failing the Malays or not prioritising their needs will if anything fail at bridging the racial intolerance Malaysians had for six decades suffered at the hands of the then BN government.

Lest Anwar forgets, Malaysia is not all about Malays. Had it been so, ‘unity in diversity’ would have long been a foregone conclusion.

By the way, it would be a folly like no other if Anwar discretely believes the September 1 ‘Bangkit Melayu’ rally held by a decrepit Umno had any merits to it.