Ethnic Chinese in Malaysia are citizens, foremost

As much as the ethnic Chinese citizens of Malaysia have a right to preserve their past, all of us today have a reciprocal duty to preserve and celebrate our honest history

A new village in the 1950s

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By Zarazilah Mohd Ali

It is with vexed feelings that Patriot takes cognisance of sentiments raging over the declaration of Chinese villages as world heritage sites in the country.

Why are we in this state of unjustified prejudices and seen to be peddling discriminating fears when it comes to Malaysian citizens of Chinese ancestry having their long-standing villages or “Chinese new villages” preserved for posterity?

Patriot knows too well our victorious national history that is punctuated with gallant stories of how we fought off the advances and infiltration of communists.

If today we are enjoying and benefiting from the peace, harmony and multi-racial coexistence in the country, it is because our Malayan soldiers (and police) of Chinese ancestry stood shoulder to shoulder with other Malayans to defend a young, struggling nation once upon a time – not too long ago, that is – and successfully fight off the communists.

More important, the Chinese villagers could have bandied together and betrayed our rulers and government then. But no, they instead demonstrated their resolute loyalty to their ‘new’ nation, Malaya, and helped our defence and security forces to fight off the communists.

No one of sound mind and a decent heart can deny how the Chinese Malaysians have worked together, fought together and stayed together to build this nation.

In all of these gallant endeavours, one significant truth emerges: our Chinese villages have and do continue to play a symbiotic role in nationhood.

Instead of celebrating world heritage recognition for our distinctly deserving Chinese new villages, we seem to be drumming fears and sowing more racial feelings.

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Instead of working towards gaining more world recognition for how our unique country preserves and thrives on nurtured traditions, cultures and customs, we are seizing the opportunity to raise suspicion while belittling our ‘Malayan’ and even ‘Malaysian’ achievements.

Not only is all this divisiveness ruining the country’s economic potential for the future, it is also causing irreversible damage to the power of coexistence and our thriving on diversity.

Patriot warns decision-makers, public opinion shapers and dubious politicians who are bent on attempting to make desolate ideas and initiatives meant to enrich our future.

As much as the ethnic Chinese citizens of Malaysia have a right to preserve their past, all of us today have a reciprocal duty to preserve and celebrate our honest history.

Lt Col Dato’ Zarazilah Mohd Ali is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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Benedict Lopez
21 Feb 2024 1.58pm

The same thing can be said for ethnic Indians too. Many Indian Malaysians, including yours truly, are proud of their Malaysian roots. When I was based in Stockholm, I defended the country in the face of negative comments.

My standard response would be, “Malaysia is not a perfect country and its has its fair share of challenges. But then again, which country is perfect. If you compare Malaysia to many countries in the region and globally, we are doing reasonably well.”